The Edwin Morgan archive at the Scottish Poetry Library was well and truly launched this afternoon. I walked up the stairs in the Library and you could have knocked me down with a feather, because there was Eddie! Fantastic to see him, and he clearly enjoyed the occasion. Scotland’s Culture Minister, Mike Russell, MSP, threw away his prepared speech, and spoke from the heart, ending with one of favourite Edwin Morgan poems. Hamish Whyte, who has been assembling the archive over many years, spoke about working with Eddie as his friend, bibliographer and publisher, and Liz Lochhead gave a warm and personal birthday greeting, for it was (is) Eddie’s 89th birthday. It was one of those wonderful occasions when everyone comes together to honour one poet. As we toasted him in champagne and sang Happy Birthday there could be no doubt about the affection with which we all regard him. There are other poets we respect and admire, but Eddie is one we quite simply love.
My own addition to the archive is the photo above, which I took back in 1997 on the occasion of the laying of the foundation stone for the new library. Holding the model of the then virtual library are Eddie (in the red hat), with Iain Crichton Smith on the left, and George Bruce in the centre. I showed it to Eddie, and we discussed the day – a very happy one – and our two absent friends, for Eddie is the last left. An unforgettable day, as was today.