George Bruce

'no more are you the bastion that you were
resisting and denying access to the sea's force'
('Cliff Face Erosion')

On reaching the age of 90, George Bruce remarked impishly that he was just getting into his stride. He was born in Fraserburgh, where his family had a fish-curing firm, and recalls a loving and stimulating childhood there in a home filled with music, paintings and books, and vivid with discourse. The sights and sounds of this north-east fishing community reverberate in his first collection of poems, 'Sea Talk' (1944). He has written many poems in Scots, but his poems in English are as distinctly Scottish. His poetic language is condensed, honed down, carrying the cadences of speech. A commission to respond in poetic form to a photograph by Orlando Gualtieri of an eroding cliff face near Fraserburgh prompted 'Cliff Face Erosion'. George Bruce considered this to be his finest poem. During 30 influential years as a producer with BBC radio he was responsible for pushing Scottish culture up the broadcasting agenda. 'Pursuit: Poems 1986-1998', his fifth collection of poems, won the 1999 Saltire Book of the Year Award.

George Bruce

George Bruce, Edinburgh, 1999.

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