William Neill

William Neill (1922 - 2010)
Photograph of William Neill by Gordon Wright
William Neill © Gordon Wright (image used under strict permission)



William Neill's diverse poetry, in Scots, Gaelic and English, was first published when he was in his fifties; he saw it as 'a standing up for the small tongues against the big mouths'.

Full Biography

William Neill was born in Prestwick, Ayrshire in 1922. He joined the RAF on leaving school, and having seen many parts of the world, left the forces in the 1960s, and studied Celtic literatures as a mature student at the University of Edinburgh. He then taught English in Galloway, before retiring to the village of Crossmichael.

His first collection of poems was published when he was in his fifties; Selected Poems 1969-1992 was issued by Canongate in 1994, and Caledonian Cramboclink by Luath Press in 2002. William Neill's impressive body of work includes translations from various European languages, often exploring other 'minority' European languages and attitudes to them. He saw his poetry - in Scots, Gaelic and English - as 'a standing up for the small tongues against the big mouths'.

Poems by William Neill

Further Reading

Selected Bibliography

Scotland's Castle (Reprographia, 1969)
Poems (Akros Publications, 1970)
Despatches Home (Reprographia, 1972)
Galloway Landscapes: poems (URR Publications, 1981)
Cnù à Mogaill (Roinn nan Cànan Ceilteach, 1983) 
Wild Places: poems in three leids (Luath Press,1985)
The Jolly Trimmers, or, Love of Slavery: a satirical cantata (William Neill, 1985)
Making Tracks, and other poems (Gordon Wright Publishing, 1988)
Tales frae the Odyssey o Homer, owreset intil Scots (The Saltire Society, 1992) 
Straight Lines (Blackstaff Press, 1992)
Caledonian Canto and other poems (Spectrum Poetry, 1993)
Selected Poems, 1969-1992 (Canongate Press, 1994)
A Hantle o Romanesco Sonnets bi Giuseppe Gioachino Belli (Burnside Press, 1995)
Just Sonnets (Burnside Press, 1996)
Caledonian Cramboclink: verse, broadsheets and in conversation (Luath Press, 2001)