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Alastair Reid


1926 -

Poet, essayist and translator. Born at Whithorn (Galloway), the son of a clergyman, Reid saw service in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. On his return to Scotland he studied at the University of St Andrews. After graduation he taught at Sarah Lawrence College in the USA (1951-55), starting his career as a poet by writing for the New Yorker in 1951. He joining its staff in 1959 and contributed poems, reviews, stories, translations and reports on a wide variety of subjects, as well as becoming their South American Editor. He has occasionally taken visiting professorships in the UK and US teaching Latin American literature.

Acclaimed for his light and engaging style, Reid's published poetry includes To Lighten My House: poems (1953), Passwords (1963), Weathering: Poems and Translations (1978), Whereabouts (1987), Oases (1997), and he has published collections of prose as well as books for children. Latterly he has translated the writings and poetry of important Latin American writers such as Jorge Luis Borges and Pablo Neruda, most recently Neruda's acclaimed, On the Blue Shore of Silence: Poems of the Sea (2004).

Although domiciled abroad, having lived in Spain, France, Switzerland, Greece, Morocco, Central and Latin America, Reid returns to Scotland most summers and has taken an active part in the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Book Festival.


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