Into a Room: Selected Poems of William Soutar Paperback – 13 Nov 2000
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The introduction is rich in biographical material. -- Scots Magainze, April 2001
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The best thing about this collection is that it brings a range of Soutar's writing back into print. There are a few contendors for the worst thing about it. One is the arrangement; there is no indication of how the poems interrelate, by style, period or anything else. Another is the introduction, which is clearly addressed to those who are already familiar not only with Soutar's work but with the scholarship around it; it is clearly intended as a corrective to Hugh McDiarmid's introduction to the Collected Poems. Also there are numerous incomprehensible omissions.
But to the poems. Soutar was a master of his Lowland Scots dialect, brilliantly evoking love, sorrow, natural beauty - the usual - and, less predictably, comedy. His verse in standard English is not on the same level. Some of his songs have been set to music and others are crying out to be. Try his children's pieces (bairnsangs and whigmaleeries) as well.