Iain Bamforth

Iain Bamforth (b. 1959)
Iain Bamforth
Iain Bamforth



Iain Bamforth’s international career in medicine has been paralleled by his wide-ranging investigations of the world in prose and poetry.

Full Biography

Iain Bamforth grew up in Glasgow and graduated from its medical school. He has pursued a peripatetic career as a hospital doctor, general practitioner, translator, lecturer in comparative literature, and latterly public health consultant in several developing countries, principally in south-east Asia. His prose includes The Body in the Library (Verso, 2003), an account of modern medicine as told through literature; The Good European (Carcanet, 2006), a collection of writings on ideas and literature in European history; and A Doctor's Dictionary (Carcanet, 2015),essays on body, mind, and the conflict of values in medicine. His wide-ranging essays and reviews can be read on his website. 

Reviewing Bamforth’s fourth collection, A Place in the World, David Morley commented that the poet 

writes from a Scots tradition: the bracing, embracing version of it. This is a vagrant Scottish tradition that extends Scots culture outside its borders, where Robert Louis Stevenson walked it. He is quite the synthesist, drawing poem after poem into a looping arc of argument, the bottom line of which is to probe how Anglophone writing might expand imaginatively towards the cultural and linguistic variety of the European continent in a way that is neither appropriative or colonial.

(The Guardian, 4 June 2005).

His fifth poetry collection, The Crossing Fee, is published by Carcanet Press.

Further Reading

Selected Bibliography

The Modern Copernicus (Edinburgh: The Salamander Press, 1984) 
Sons and Pioneers (Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1992) 
Open Workings (Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1996)
A Place in the World (Manchester: Carcanet Press, 2005)
The Crossing Fee (Manchester: Carcanet Press, 2013)