Rob Donn Mackay

Rob Donn Mackay (1714 - 1778)


Full Biography

Born Robert Mackay in 1714, Rob Donn might arguably be as important to poetry in the Gaelic language as Robert Burns is to poetry in Scots. Unable to read or write, and dictating his poetry from memory only towards the end of his life, his work represents an important document of a world both expanding and contracting as the British state made its presence felt in the day-to-day life in the far north-west of the Scottish Highlands. Speaking in a dialect that was often the subject of erroneous 'correction' in early printed editions of his poetry, it has been in the latter part of the 20th century that his contributions to the Gaelic poetic tradition have come to be truly appreciated. Echoes of his 'lean and athletic language' and keen intellect can be found in the works of Ian Crichton Smith and Donald MacAulay, and a comprehensive overview of his life and work is available in the form of Ian Grimble's The World of Rob Donn (Saltire Society, 1999). 

Poems by Rob Donn Mackay

There are no poems by this poet on the Scottish Poetry Library website, but we do have items in our library collection.