‘Half of My Seeing’: the English Poetry of Iain Crichton Smith

  • Colin Milton


Born in Glasgow in 1928 but brought up on the largely Gaelic-speaking island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Iain Crichton Smith belongs to an ancient and distinctive indigenous culture which has attracted surprisingly little attention from the custodians of the mainstream, purportedly ‘British’ cultural tradition. He himself has commented wryly on how selective even the current enthusiasm for ‘minorities’ and ‘multi-cultural perspectives’ is:

In an age where women are seen as a race different from men, when children too are enfranchised, the inhabitants of parts of this island are not seen at all, as if they did not exist…1


Natural World Religious Tradition Contemporary Society Traditional Community Island Community 
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  1. 1.
    Iain Crichton Smith, ‘Towards the Human’, in Towards the Human: Selected Essays (Loanhead, 1986), pp. 13–70 (p. 66), hereafter referred to as TH with page references.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    J.H. Alexander, ‘Ian Crichton Smith’s English Poetry’, in D.S. Hewitt and M.R.G. Spiller (eds), Literature of the North (Aberdeen, 1983), pp. 189–203 (p. 199).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    John Blackburn, ‘Iain Crichton Smith’, in John Blackburn (ed.), Hardy to Heaney (Edinburgh, 1986), pp. 171–88 (p. 175).Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Edwin Morgan, ‘The Raging and the Grace’, Essays (Cheadle, 1974), pp. 222–31 (p. 223).Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    Hugh MacDiarmid, ‘The Watergaw’, in M. Grieve and W. R. Aitken (eds), Hugh MacDiarmid: Complete Poems 1920–1976 (London, 1978), p. 17.Google Scholar

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© The Editorial Board, Lumiere (Co-operative) Press Ltd 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Colin Milton

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