Robert Crawford

Robert Crawford’s seventh full-length collection of poems is Testament (Cape, 2014), and his most recent biography is Young Eliot (Vintage, 2016). Co-editor of The Penguin Book of Scottish Verse, he has worked on several collaborative projects with the Edinburgh-based photographer Norman McBeath, including Chinese Makars (Easel Press, 2016). He has also collaborated with the Hamburg-based artist Caroline Saltzwedel, with whom he is due to launch Fire (Hirundo Press) in 2017. His awards include the Saltire Society’s Scottish Book of the Year Award. He is Professor of Modern Scottish Literature and Bishop Wardlaw Professor of Poetry at the University of St Andrews.

Photo: Aisha Farr


Poetry Centre Stage »

A double bill of poetry for Thursday evening
20:00 reading – Robert Crawford
21:00 reading – Alice Oswald

Thu 2 March | 20:00 - 22:00 | £9.50/£7.50 | The Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Auditorium


The Scottish Constitution

It must contain silver sands. It must hold water
In the shape of lochans, hydro dams, and firths.

It must be just, in the sense both of perjink
And even-handed, shaking hands with all.

It must be old, with the wisdom of the rookie,
It needs to know its onions, has to laugh

And dance at weddings, all recriminations,
Selkie stories, fiscal memoranda.

It must be shy, tongue-tied, then eloquent,
Catching your eye and holding it forever,

However far you go, to whatever shores,
Atolls or cities, it must hold you fast.


Robert Crawford

From Testament by Robert Crawford, published by Jonathan Cape. Reprinted by permission of The Random House Group Ltd