Christopher Murray Grieve, Hugh MacDiarmid (1892-1978), pre-eminent Scottish Modernist, author of the epic poem, “A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle”, died 34 years ago today, September 9th, 1978.
The Allen Ginsberg Project salutes him with (as always) a recommendation to check out the rare recordings of him speaking and reading available on PennSound – here (and a brief snippet at the Poetry Archive – here).
Margaret Tate‘s sympathetic 1964 film portrait captures the essence of MacDiarmid. Seen in a domestic setting (and in evocative black-and-white), he reads three short poems, “You Know Who I Am”, “Somersault”, and “Krang”, along with some lines from “The Kind of Poetry I Want”. (the music in the film is Francis George Scott‘s setting of MacDiarmid’s “The Eemis Stane”, sung by Duncan Robertson with piano accompaniment by Olive Ogsten).