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The Paisley Poets (1993)

The Paisley Poets: A Critical Appraisal of Their Work and Reputation.

Proceedings of a Seminar Held in Paisley College on 10th September 1988, Edited by Stuart James and Gordon McCrae. Foreword by Joseph D H Hendry

University of Paisley Library / Renfrew District Arts and Libraries, 1993. [viii]+90pp. Illus. ISBN 0 904391 05 1, £2.99

Out of print

Paisley poet and journalist William Motherwell once described Paisley as "a nest of singing birds", and it is often recounted that, at a public dinner attended by a hundred gentlemen in the town, the toast "Poets of Paisley" was proposed and ninety-nine stood up in response. Robert Brown's two-volume anthology The Paisley Poets (1890), contained the work of 238 poets with Paisley connection and confirmed for Victorian readers the opinion that "Paisley" and "poetry" were virtually synonymous.

At a seminar on The Paisley Poets held on the 10th September 1988 as part of the "Paisley 500" celebrations, this long-accepted opinion was challenged in a series of papers presented by several authoritative scholars, whose purpose was to reappraise the work and reputation of Robert Tannahill, Alexander Wilson, William Sharp/Fiona MacLeod, John Wilson/Christopher North, and other local poets, in the context of modern literary, sociological and folklore studies.

These papers, collected in the present volume, along with a note on sources for the poets and a summary of the discussion which followed the presentations, reveal a fresh, imaginative and well-informed understanding of the Paisley Poets and a long overdue reappraisal of their work and reputation.


Burns as a West Country Poet. Donald A. Low
Robert Tannahill as a Local Poet Mary Ellen Brown
The Poetry and Reputation of Alexander Wilson  Clark Hunter
Literary Dualism in Paisley: William Sharp/Fiona MacLeod and John Wilson/Christopher North Konrad Hopkins
A Nest of Singing Birds? Sandy Hobbs