Duncan Glen: poet, literary historian and critic, editor and designer (obituary)

Duncan Glen, who died on 20 September 2008 was a poet, literary historian and critic, editor and designer but I knew him as my typography tutor. Duncan headed the Graphic Design department whilst I was a student at Preston Polytechnic between 1974-78. The department had evolved out of the Harris School of Printing and it was not only an inspiring place to be but an interesting time to be there. Duncan used the traditional letterpress facilities in the basement of our department to publish his own imprint Akros – and as students we were invited to practice our typographic layout skills on individual editions (which included critical essays on Hugh MacDiarmid as well as poems by Duncan and Hugh – amongst others).

I wish I could say that I fully appreciated the opportunities Duncan offered his students. Though I loved the shapes and nuances of letterforms and valued his input, the truth was that my 19 year old self was more excited by images than by poems written in Scottish dialect. But he was an excellent teacher, exacting with a wry humour that became more evident on social occasions. He initiated and supervised the production of many publications within the department, including Graphic Lines – a text and image based ‘zine’ to which we (students and lecturers) enthusiastically contributed.

I lost touch with Duncan when I finished my degree, but kept up to date with his successes through a mutual friend. It is ironic that I discovered his obituary in the Independent today whilst searching for a link I could put on this site for a person who had been such an inspiration to me.

Duncan Glen, poet, literary historian and critic, editor and designer. Born Cambuslang, Lanarkshire 11 January 1933, died Kirkcaldy, Fife 20 September 2008. Link >

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