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This report is taken from PN Review 258, Volume 47 Number 4, March - April 2021.

On Bringing Out Hamish Whyte’s Memoir of Edwin Morgan Helena Nelson
When Hamish Whyte asked whether I’d be interested in publishing a memoir about his thirty-year friendship with Edwin Morgan, of course I said yes. My enthusiasm was offset by one concern. Should a key contribution to Morgan lore be brought out by such a small press as HappenStance? For me, Morgan is one of the giants.

But there’s a sense in which I was the right publisher for Morgan & Me. An enduring relationship sits at the core of this book, and many professional endeavours rely on such connections. When I started publishing in 2005, Hamish Whyte (Mariscat Press owner/editor), was particularly generous with his time, wisdom and practical suggestions. I learned much from him. He told me stories about poets he had worked with, stories that aren’t publicly told. I came to know his own poems too, and relished their precision, lucidity and playfulness. It was a privilege to publish Hannah, Are You Listening? in 2013, and Now the Robin five years later. Hamish is a naturally reticent person. I knew he wouldn’t take on a prose memoir easily or lightly.

So I was encouraging about the memoir, which complements Jim McGonigal’s 2012 biography, Beyond The Last Dragon: A Life of Edwin Morgan. But Whyte’s account adds affecting human detail. It’s an openly personal story, revealing much about both writer and subject. For me, it was richly educative. It took me back to Morgan’s work (the Carcanet Centenary Selected being a marvellous source) and to Whyte’s own development as a poet and publisher in the Glasgow poetry scene of the 70s and 80s. It ...


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