Helen Cruickshank (1886–1975)

Helen Cruickshank (1886–1975)

Helen Cruickshank was born in Angus in 1886 and is renowned for her role as a poet of the Scottish literary renaissance. Her home in Corstorphine, Edinburgh, was a hub for many of Scotland’s progressive 20th century writers including Lewis Grassic Gibbon.

Aware of the plight of the working woman, she became a member of the Women’s Social and Political Union, before moving to Edinburgh where she began writing poetry more frequently. Her work was subsequently published in the Glasgow Herald and Northern Numbers alongside other renowned poets of her generation. Her first collection Up The Noran Waters was published in 1934, Sea Buckthorn in 1954, and The Ponnage Pool in 1968.

Her involvement in Scottish literary life was recognised by many, including the BBC who commissioned a programme in 1966 to celebrate her 80th birthday. She was also awarded an Honorary Degree of MA by the University of Edinburgh in 1971 and is commemorated in Makars’ Court with the words ‘the spirit endures for ever’ from her poem ‘Spring in the Mearns’.

You can learn more about Helen Cruikshank over at the Scottish Poetry Library.