EnglishWilliam 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’.
Rugadh William Neill am Preastabhaig, Siorrachd Àir, an 1922. Chaidh e do dh’Fheachd Rìoghail an Adhair nuair a dh’fhàg e an sgoil, agus, às dèidh dha iomadh àite is ceàrnaidh fhaicinn, dh’fhàg e an t-arm anns na 1960an, agus rinn e litreachais na Ceiltis aig Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann. Bha e a’ teagasg Beurla an Gall-Ghàidhealaibh mus do leig e dheth a dhreuchd, agus dh’fhuirich e an uair sin an Crois Mhìcheil.
Chaidh a’ chiad chruinneachadh aige fhoillseachadh is e còrr is lethcheud bliadhna a dh’aois; Selected Poems 1969-1992 (Canongate, 1994) agus Caledonian Cramboclink (Luath Press, 2002). Am measg obair dhrùidhteach tha eadar-theangachaidhean bho chànain Eòrpach, is iad tric a’ rannsachadh mion-chànain na h-Eòrpa agus beachdan mun deidhinn. Chunnaic e a chuid bàrdachd – an Albais, Gàidhlig agus Beurla, mar ‘a standing up for the small tongues against the big mouths.’