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Iain Crichton Smith

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Name  Iain Smith
Role  Poet
Education  University of Aberdeen

Iain Crichton Smith httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenthumbc
Died  October 15, 1998, Taynuilt, United Kingdom
Books  Consider the Lilies, Collected Poems, Murdo, The Red Door: The Complete, The black halo
Similar People  Hugh MacDiarmid, Stewart Conn, Kevin MacNeil, John Burnside, Pier Paolo Pasolini

The short stories of iain crichton smith

Iain Crichton Smith, (Gaelic: Iain Mac a' Ghobhainn; 1 January 1928 – 15 October 1998) was a Scottish poet and novelist, who wrote in both English and Gaelic.


He was born in Glasgow, but moved to the isle of Lewis at the age of two, where he and his two brothers were brought up by their widowed mother in the small crofting town of Bayble, which also produced Derick Thomson. Educated at the University of Aberdeen, Crichton Smith took a degree in English, and after serving in the National Service Army Education Corps, went on to become a teacher. He taught in Clydebank, Dumbarton and Oban from 1952, retiring to become a full-time writer in 1977, although he already had many novels and poems published.

Extract from napoleon and me by iain crichton smith

Overview of work

Crichton Smith was brought up in a Gaelic-speaking community, learning English as a second language once he attended school. Friend and poet Edwin Morgan notes that unlike his contemporaries (such as Sorley Maclean and Derick Thomson), Crichton Smith was more prolific in English than in Gaelic, perhaps viewing his writing in what, from Crichton Smith's view, was an imposed non-native language as a challenge to English and American poets. However, Crichton Smith also produced much Gaelic poetry and prose, and also translated some of the work of Sorley Maclean from Gaelic to English, as well as some of his own poems originally composed in Gaelic. It should also be noted that much of his English language work is actually directly related to, or translated from, Gaelic equivalents.

Crichton Smith's work also reflects his dislike of dogma and authority, influenced by his upbringing in a close-knit, island presbyterian community, as well as his political and emotional thoughts and views of Scotland and the Highlands. Despite his upbringing, Crichton Smith was an atheist. A number of his poems explore the subject of the Highland Clearances, and his best-known novel Consider the Lilies (1968) is an account of the eviction of an elderly woman during such times.

Elderly women and alienated individuals are common themes in his work.


Crichton Smith's poetry quite often had a character perhaps based on his mother. He also typically used natural images to convey emotion.

His poetry includes:

  • Culloden and After (1961) - an attack on that period in British history, especially "Bonnie Charlie".
  • Old Woman (1965)
  • The Iolaire (date)
  • The Man who Cried Wolf (1964)
  • You Lived in Glasgow (date)
  • You'll Take a Bath (date)
  • John Brown (KHS)(1966)
  • Awards and honours

    He was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1980.


    Iain Crichton Smith Wikipedia