Edwin Morgan was born in Glasgow in 1920 and brought up in Rutherglen on the outskirts of the city. An unhappy only child of conservative middle-class parents Morgan felt that he had no-one he could talk to about his artistic enthusiasms, although his father gave him a sense of Glasgow's industrial history. In 1937 Morgan began his studies at Glasgow university but the war intervened. At first he registered as a Conscientious Objector but then requested a posting to the Royal Army Medical Corps and served with them from 1940 to 1946 in Egypt, Palestine and Lebanon. Returning to Glasgow he gained a first-class degree in English in 1947 and became a lecturer at the university, remaining there until his retirement, as a professor, in 1980.
Morgan's first book of poetry was published in 1952 and he has been very prolific in a great variety of forms, including concrete poetry, since then. He has translated poetry from Russian, Hungarian, French, Italian, Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and other languages. Although widely travelled Morgan has always returned to his home town. In 1999 he was made Poet Laureate of Glasgow and in 2004 was appointed Poet Laureate, or Makar, of Scotland.
From the guide to the Papers of Edwin Morgan, 1950-1974, (Reading University: Special Collections Services)