A mere forty miles apart, these cities have enjoyed a scratchy rivalry since wistful Edinburgh lost parliamentary sovereignty and defiant Glasgow came into its industrial promise. Crawford brings them to life between the covers of one book, in a tale that mixes novelty and familiarity, as Scotland’s cultural capital and largest commercial city do.
A groundbreaking new biography of one of the twentieth century's most important poets On the fiftieth anniversary of the death of T. S. Eliot, the award-winning biographer Robert Crawford presents us with the first volume of a comprehensive account of this poetic genius. Young Eliot traces the life of the twentieth century's most important poet from his childhood in St. Louis to the publication of his revolutionary poem The Waste Land. Crawford provides readers with a new understanding of the foundations of some of the most widely read poems in the English language through his depiction of Eliot's childhood—laced with tragedy and shaped by an idealistic, bookish family in which knowledge o...
We all know what religion is - or do we? Confronted with religious pluralism and cultural diversity, it manifests itself in many forms. What is Religion? serves not only as an introduction to the different belief systems flourishing throughout the modern world, but asks us to consider how the very boundaries of faith might be drawn now and in the future. How might religion interact with political ends, or permeate culture, society and everyday life? Is the post-secular world in thrall to 'religions' of its own kind - materialism, humanism, medicine, science? And what logic separates 'common-sense' or academic knowledge from the immutable but unstable boudaries of faith? Which is the more certain? What does it mean to believe? Combining clear accounts of contemporary global religious practice with an incisive philosophical interrogation of the dynamics and aims of belief, What is Religion? offers a fresh and wide-ranging introduction to the perennial human questions of ritual, faith, ethics and salvation.
Drawing on number of new sources--from rediscovered poetry by Burns to manuscript journals, correspondence, and oratory by his contemporaries--a new biography presents the life and work of the eighteenth-century poet.
Robert Crawford's new collection is an exhilarating celebration of the world he lives in: his family, his fellow Scots, his country and his country's languages. Beginning with a group of moving, renewing love poems to his wife, the book builds into a polyphonic hymn to life in all its aspects. There is a powerful sense of communion and connection in The Tip of My Tongue: while singing the Scottish part of the planet, Crawford also embraces the rhythms of the whole circumference - from Perth, Scotland, to Perth, Australia - catching 'how Kincardineshire's sky's/Transvaalish, Budapesty, Santa Barbaran,/Zurich on a perfect day'. These are poems that are convincingly earthed in the land and the language yet unafraid of spiritual, even religious notes; richly lyrical and passionate yet shot through with a humour and a vitality that is utterly engaging. As Liam McIlvanney wrote in the Sunday Herald, 'for intellectual range, emotional depth, and lexical shimmer, Crawford is unsurpassed among recent Scottish poets'.
SPIRIT MACHINES, Robert Crawford's fourth collection, attends imaginatively to the fusion of spiritual experience and the insistently material world. In several of the poems, emotional and religious insights merge lyrically with modern technologies of information. The title sequence deals with bereavement and memorializes the poet's father, who died in1997, while the serio-comical catechism of 'A Life-Exam' arises from the experience of hospitalisation. The imaginative, 360-line tour de force 'Impossibility' presents a swirling underwater world imaging the heroic struggle of the nineteenth-century writer and mother, Margaret Oliphant. While some of the poems communicate a sense of hurt and loss, others are insuperably comic, giving the collection an ambitious range and vitality. Throughout the book, Robert Crawford's alert sense of Scotland provides a source and sounding-board for poems -lyrics, ballads, verse narratives and prose poems - that are finely nuanced, moving, and excitingly resourceful.
Taken from his first six books, these poems confirm Robert Crawford as a poet of exhilarating energy wedded to a constantly refreshing delight in nuanced language. Richly nourished by his background, Crawford's work is both lyrical and wry. Its intelligent humour and attunement to our technological present are impressively fused with a deepening note of spirituality. Unpredictable yet recognisable, these are poems of beguiling vitality. While readers have praised Crawford's lovingly lyrical engagement with politics and science in such collections as A Scottish Assembly (1990) and Spirit Machines (1999), with gender in Masculinity (1996), or with environment and spirituality in The Tip of My Tongue (2003), what emerges in this Selected Poems is a clearly growing commitment to the protean delight of poetry itself: a belief in its uniqueness as a medium which can subtly sound out complex relationships with heartfelt intelligence. In Crawford's language there is a confidently contemporary Scottish music that celebrates a kinship between the cherished, minute detail, local or personal, and the magnificently universal, 'As a candle-flame believes in the speed of light'.
In MASCULINITY, Robert Crawford elegantly explores many aspects of that troubling concept, from imperial militarism to his own experiences as father, husband, and son. By turn affectionate and amusing, painful and self-excoriating, Crawford wryly examines, sometimes in intimate detail, what it is to be male - from awkward, unsporty and even more awkward adolescent, to husband, father of a child and, apparently, New Man. Clever, accessible, very funny and chillingly accurate, MASCULINITY is a sparklingly original collection. Star Trek Epigrams Mr Sulu, set the controls To Economy Wash. We're about to venture Where no man has gone before. Kirk to enterprise: 'I'm going back to my cabin With a box of Kleenex. I want to experience the lonliness of Command. '
To make a testament is to attempt to pass on what matters most. In his seventh full-length collection of poems Robert Crawford writes of love, loss, belief, and commitment. Whether in intimate erotic lyrics or in a sustained engagement with the politics of Scottish independence he writes with passion, wit, and assurance about struggles to pass on values and treasures. The book opens with a sequence of love poems, and closes with ‘Testament’, a startlingly fresh gathering of deftly rhymed paraphrases based on the New Testament. Whether making versions of Cavafy or elegising fellow poet Mick Imlah, or writing how a father hands on a piece of marble to his son, Robert Crawford shows in Testament how poetry can communicate from generation to generation aspects of what makes us most vulnerably and engagingly human.
Bannockburns: Scottish Independence and the Literary Imagination, 1314-2014
Poet and critic Robert Crawford explores in eloquent detail the literary-cultural background to Scottish nationalism in the lead-up to the referendum on independence for Scotland from the United Kingdom in September 2014. He begins with the totemic Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, in which the Scots routed the English and preserved their independence until the two nations' parliaments united in 1707. Paying particular attention to Robert Burns and continuing up to the present day, he examines how writers have set out in poetry, fiction, plays and on film the ideal of Scottish independence. Publication coincides with the 700-year anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn.