Robert Garioch

(Robert Garioch Sutherland)

1909 - 1981

Satirical poet and translator. Born Robert Garioch Sutherland in Edinburgh and educated at the Royal High School and the University in this city. He entered the teaching profession but also began writing poetry. His first published work was a collaboration with Sorley MacLean (1911-96) and entitled Seventeen Poems for Sixpence (1940). This was followed by Chuckies on a Cairn (1949). Inspired by Hugh MacDiarmid (1892 - 1978), Garioch wrote mostly in Scots and is particularly noted for his humorous and satirical verse including Edinburgh Sonnets, Embro to the Ploy and The Canny Hen, which revealed his shrewd observation of life in Edinburgh. Garioch gratefully acknowledged the influence which Robert Fergusson (1750-74) had on his poetry.

Garioch also translated the works of others from various languages into Scots, for example, Jeptha and the Baptist which was written in Latin by George Buchanan (1506-82). His other works included Two Men and a Blanket (1975), an account of his four years in prisoner-of-war camps in Italy and Germany during the Second World War. His Complete Poetical Works was published in 1983.

Having retired from teaching, Garioch became Writer-in-Residence at the University of Edinburgh (1971-3) and latterly worked as a lexicographer and transcriber at the School of Scottish Studies there.

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