Author details

Roderick Watson


I was born, raised and educated in Aberdeen, and did a PhD in Cambridge on the poetry of Hugh MacDiarmid. About that time I also received an Arts Council bursary for my own poetry and was an early member of the Heretics poetry reading circuit in Edinburgh in the 1970s. I came to the University of Stirling in 1971 where I taught Scottish literature, modernism, critical theory and creative writing. Now retired, as professor emeritus, I still have academic connections to Stirling.

About writer's work

I seem to write poetry in bursts between long silences. As an academic I have produced many papers, essays and chapters for books on modern Scottish literature, Scottish identity, Scottish writing and writers. My own poetry first appeared in Trio; and Roderick Watson (Parklands Poets series), then two main collections True History on the Walls; Into the Blue Wavelengths and (to date) over 20 different anthologies. True History... contains poems about personal and global history, about graffiti and the marks of time and damage left on ourselves and the things around us. Into the Blue Wavelengths contains love poems and elegies, and poems haunted by the notion of sound waves, light waves, radio waves.

Websites featuring the author

Current events and projects

I will read and talk informally about my own poetry and / or the processes of the imagination. I can also run workshops on creative writing, modern poetry, Scottish literature, modern art and literature, the creative imagination.

Other work

Trio, (with Val Simmons and Paul Mills), New Rivers Press, New York, 1971, 0- Trio, (with Val Simmons and Paul Mills), New Rivers Press, New York, 1971, 0-912284-13-7. Poems.

MacDiarmid, Open University Press, 1976. 0-335-15090. A critical guide to MacDiarmid’s poetry.

True History on the Walls, Macdonald, Edinburgh, 1977. Poetry collection.

The Penguin Book of the Bicycle (with Martin Gray) Penguin, 1978; reprinted, 1984. 0-7139-1099-2. Technical and cultural reflection on bicycles past and present. Translated as El Libro de la Bicicleta H. Blume Ediciones, Madrid 1980.

The Literature of Scotland, Palgrave Macmillan 1984; second edition revised and expanded in 2 vols, 2007. 0-333-66664X; 0-230-00037-1. Substantial literary history of literature in Gaelic, Scots and English. Volume 1 is from the middle ages to the 19th century, volume 2 covers the 20th century.

The Poetry of Norman MacCaig, ASLS Scotnotes, 1989. 0-948877-07-3. Student critical introduction to MacCaig’s poetry.

The Poetry of Scotland (anthology) Edinburgh University Press, 1995. 0-7486-0607-6. Substantial anthology of Scottish poetry in Gaelic, Scots and English from the 14th to the 20th century.

Seventeen Poems of Edwin Morgan: A Commentary¬–volume 1 (with readings by Edwin Morgan), ASLS audio CD, 1986.

Twenty-three Poems of Edwin Morgan: A Commentary–volume 2 (with readings by Edwin Morgan), ASLS audio CD, 2005. Two CDs for use in the classroom, providing commentaries on a selection of Morgan’s poems read by the poet himself.


Local authority where they are based


Local authorities where they can work

Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles), Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Moray, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Orkney, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, Shetland, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian, Other

Age groups

Teens, Adults

LL funded


BRAW network


Author type

Poet, Writer