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'My Hobby is Anglophobia...'

Hugh MacDiarmid was a self-confessed 'Anglophobe'. This short clip is evidence. The debate from which it is excerpted follows.

Sunday, October 8, 2023

It is difficult now to grasp how important Hugh MacDiarmid was.

Born Christopher Murray Grieve, he was a Scottish poet, journalist, essayist, and political figure. He is considered one of the principal forces behind the Scottish Renaissance and has had a lasting impact on Scottish culture and politics.

The attached links show him as one of the guests in a studio-based discussion and the quote we have used to headline this page is just one of many controversial remarks made during his relatively short contribution. Was he just being mischievous? In calling for complete disjunction from England, what was he really advocating?

To a 2023 audience, with 'woke' ideology now firmly embraced by most public and commercial institutions, how would MacDiarmid's attitudes be received? Dare we imagine that he - and his work - might be 'cancelled'?

Whether or not his views could be classed as 'radical' or perhaps even 'militant', are they valid? With tensions increasing over the shocking housing situation in the Highlands (particularly the islands), is it possible that the complicated but powerful emotions evident in MacDiarmid's work are now being suppressed? And if so, how can the problems be fully addressed? 'Being nice' is not conducive to honesty and vigorous, constructive debate.

There is a huge amount of material on MacDiarmid available online and we will add more to this page in due course but for now we would like to use this footage as the catalyst for initial debate. We would love to hear what readers make of this extraordinary character, especially if they haven't encountered him before. And there must be people still alive who met the man and have their own stories to tell.

(235) Hugh MacDiarmid - YouTube

(235) Scottish Devolution | Hugh MacDiarmid | Margo MacDonald | People and Politics | 1977 - YouTube

Bibliography (This was supplied by AI and we haven't yet checked it. If anyone has amendments or inclusions to suggest, please do so in Comments.)

  • Sangschaw (1925)
  • Penny Wheep (1926)
  • A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle (1926)
  • The Lucky Bag (1927)
  • To Circumjack Cencrastus (1930)
  • First Hymn to Lenin and Other Poems (1931)
  • Second Hymn to Lenin (1932)
  • Scots Unbound and Other Poems (1932)
  • Stony Limits and Other Poems (1934)
  • The Birlinn of Clanranald (1935)
  • Second Hymn to Lenin and Other Poems (1935)
  • Speaking for Scotland: Selected Poems of Hugh MacDiarmid (1946)
  • Poems of the East-West Synthesis (1946)
  • A Kist of Whistles (1947)
  • In Memoriam James Joyce (1955)
  • Three Hymns to Lenin (1957)
  • The Battle Continues (1958)
  • The Kind of Poetry I Want (1961)
  • Collected Poems (1962)
  • The Complete Poems of Hugh MacDiarmid (1985)
  • The Last Ditch (1986)


  • Annals of the Five Senses (1923)
  • The Smeddum (1926)
  • Scottish Chapbook (1927-1931)
  • The Company I've Kept (1934)
  • Lucky Poet (1943)
  • The Present State of Poetry (1951)
  • A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle: A Commentary (1957)
  • The Letters of Hugh MacDiarmid (1984)


  • Northern Numbers (1922-1923)
  • Scottish Chapbook (1927-1931)
  • The Golden Treasury of Scottish Poetry (1940)


  • The Thistle Rises (1970)
  • A Vision of World Language (1976)

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