When did you start writing? 

I’ve written poetry for almost as long as I can remember. By the age of about 14 I was making a little book, though it took until the age of 31 for me to publish my first collection.

What writers have inspired you? 

I have appallingly catholic taste, but among my favourite poets are Robert Burns, T. S. Eliot, Hugh MacDiarmid, Kathleen Jamie, and Les Murray.

What do you look for in a piece of writing? 

An arresting justness.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given by another writer? 

It’s a long game.

School of English Staff Page

Professor Robert Crawford

Born in Lanarkshire, Robert Crawford studied and taught at Glasgow and Oxford, moving to St Andrews in 1989. He has published six collections of poetry and over two dozen other books. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the British Academy, he has given readings and lectures at Berkeley, Oxford and Yale as well as in schools and village halls (smallest audience: four adults and a baby). An experienced broadcaster, he has been a judge of the National Poetry Competition, the T S Eliot Prize, and the David Cohen Prize. Robert Crawford’s most recent collection of poems is Testament (Jonathan Cape, 2014), shortly after his prose book Bannockburns: Scottish Independence and Literary Imagination, 1314-2014 (Edinburgh University Press, 2014).  2015 sees the publication by Jonathan Cape and Farrar, Straus & Giroux of Young Eliot, the first volume of his two-volume biography of T. S. Eliot. Ongoing research interests include T. S. Eliot, Scottish poetry, creative writing, poetry and libraries, and poetry and science. Robert leads the Royal Society of Edinburgh-supported Arts and Humanities Research Network Loch Computer

Selected Awards

1988 Eric Gregory Award
1993 Scottish Arts Council Book Award, for Identifying Poets
1999 Scottish Arts Council Book Award, for Spirit Machines
2007 Saltire Society Scottish Research Book of the Year, for Scotland’s Books
Royal Society of Edinburgh Fellow
British Academy Fellow

Poetry Collections

A Scottish Assembly (Chatto & Windus, 1990)
Talkies (Chatto & Windus, 1992)
Masculinity (Jonathan Cape, 1996)
Spirit Machines (Jonathan Cape, 1999)
The Tip of My Tongue (Jonathan Cape, 2003)
Full Volume (Jonathan Cape, 2008)  


Sharawaggi: Poems in Scots, with W. N. Herbert(Polygon, 1990) 

Edited Collection

Contemporary Poetry and Contemporary Science (Oxford University Press, 2006)


New Chatto Poets: Number Two, with Susanne Ehrhardt, Paul May, Lucy Anne Watt, Sarah Maguire, and Mark Ford (Chatto & Windus, 1989)

Recent books