Duncan Glen

Duncan Glen

Professor Duncan Munro Glen (11 January 1933 – 20 September 2008) was a Scottish poet, literary editor and Emeritus Professor of Visual Communication at Nottingham Trent University. He became known to the literary world through his first full-length book, "Hugh MacDiarmid and the Scottish Renaissance". He published many collections of poetry, from "Kythings and other poems" (1969), "In Appearances" (1971) and "Realities Poems" (1980) to "Selected Poems 1965-1990" (1991), "Selected New Poems 1987-1996" (1998) and "Collected Poems 1965-2005" (2006). His "Autobiography of a Poet" was published by Ramsay Head Press in 1986. He edited Akros magazine through 51 numbers from August 1965 and did much to promote Scottish poets and artists. He was a friend and early champion of Hugh MacDiarmid and Ian Hamilton Finlay among others, and produced several volumes of poetry, some of which was translated into Italian.

Glen was born in Westburn, Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, the son of a white collar worker in The Steel Company of Scotland, Hallside, near Newton Station. He was educated at West Coats Primary School in Cambuslang, then at Rutherglen Academy, though he left there when he was fifteen. He became an office boy then an apprentice printer in Glasgow and Kirkcaldy. He then studied at Edinburgh College of Art. Following national service in the RAF, where he was a photographic interpreter, he became a typographic designer with HMSO and did freelance typographic designing for publishers in London.

He then started on a career in graphic design education, first at Watford College of Technology and, following a brief spell as an editor in Glasgow with Robert Gibson & Sons Ltd, educational publishers, at what was to become Preston Polytechinc (and subsequently the University of Central Lancashire), later progressing to the Professorship of Visual Communication at what was to become Nottingham Trent University. Glen served on the Council of National Academic Awards.

Glen founded Akros Publications in 1965 with the aim of publishing Scottish poetry and literary criticism; from 1965-2006 over 250 publications appeared under the Akros imprint. They included not only poetry, critical and historical studies, Akros magazine and Zed 2 0 (19 numbers to date), but also fiction by Robert McLellan and John Herdman, amongst others.

As well as his own poetry, he produced a number of studies of Scottish literature, anthologies, and an impressive range of publications in other areas, including an influential history of typography. He found time to produce the definitive history of Cambuslang, a place for which he retained an obvious affection, and also a lengthy illustrated history of Kirkcaldy where he latterly lived.

He was elected Fellow of the Chartered Society of Designers in 1977. In 1974 and 1998 he received awards from the Scottish Arts Council "for services to Scottish literature" and "in recognition of his many years as a publisher and editor and entrepreneurial activities for Scottish literature". In 1991 he received The Howard Sergeant Memorial Award "in recognition of long and devoted services to poetry". In 2000 he was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters by Paisley University.

Read more about Duncan Glen:  Bibliography

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