Home > Events > Edwin Morgan and humanism: free online talk for World Humanist Day

Edwin Morgan and humanism: free online talk for World Humanist Day

Date: Monday 24th June   /   Time: 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Arts journalist and Humanist Society Scotland communications manager Greg Thomas is offering a free, open-to-all online talk exploring themes of atheism, socialism, sexuality, and artificial intelligence in the work of Scottish poet Edwin Morgan (1920-2010), with a view to presenting Morgan as one of the most significant public humanists in modern Scottish history.

Edwin Morgan was the preeminent Scottish poet of the later twentieth century, and his work is very relevant to the political and ethical aims of humanism. His early lyric poetry shows him interrogating ideas of good and evil rooted in Christian dogma, in ways that reflect both the strictures of his protestant upbringing and his nascent awareness of his homosexuality. Moving forward to the 1960s, Morgan considers the emergence of robotic and artificial intelligence in a way that interrogates the idea of human consciousness as unique or God-given. In his love poems of the 1960s-70s, Morgan used a genderless mode of address that allowed him to express queer desires incompatible with the Christian moral order of his country. After he came out as gay in 1990, Morgan spoke more openly about his sexuality and was a major supporter of LGBT+ inclusive projects and movements in Scotland.

This event is supported by a World Humanist Day Small Grant to raise funds for Greg’s forthcoming co-edited book (with poet Julie Johnstone) A Home in Space: Selected Concrete, Visual, and Sound Poetry by Edwin Morgan, to be published by Reaktion Books in 2025/26.

Register Now!