Obituary: J. K. Annand

James King Annand, teacher, poet and editor: born 1908; Principal Teacher of History, Firrhill Secondary School Edinburgh 1962-71; Editor, Lallans 1973-83; publications include Selected Poems 1925-1990 1992; married; died Edinburgh 8 June 1993.

THOUGH never a major poet or an exceptionally colourful character, James King Annand was a worthy literary Scot of the old school, the old school being Broughton Secondary in his native Edinburgh.

Broughton has no old school tie in the English sense but Jim Annand was emotionally tied to it. In 1925, as schoolboy editor of the Broughton Magazine, he was exhilarated by the appearance that year of a slim volume of Scots lyrics by a former pupil and former editor of the magazine. This was Sangschaw, the first book by 'Hugh MacDiarmid', who had attended Broughton under his given name Christopher Murray Grieve and been booted out in 1911 for pinching books belonging to the Principal Teacher of English, George Ogilvie.

Reviewing Sangschaw in the school magazine, editor Annand declared perceptively: 'MacDiarmid's work, although an experiment in a new type of Scots poetry, is a complete success at the first venture. He has shown us that Scots is still a suitable, and a highly successful, medium of expression for all kinds of verse.' Annand had discovered a cause.

For the rest of his long life Annand worked for the cause of poetry in Scots, though he wisely made no attempt to compete with MacDiarmid as a creative writer. A pedagogue by inclination and profession, he championed Scots as an educational experience, as a language an insecure nation should and could pronounce with pride.

He tried to standardise the spelling of Scots in his energetic promotion of the Scots Style Sheet adopted by the Makars' Club in Edinburgh in 1947. He edited Lallans, the magazine of the Scots Language Society, from 1973 to 1983.

As a poet he was most successful when addressing young folk in his collections Sing it Aince for Pleisure (1965), Twice for Joy (1973), Thrice to Show Ye (1979). These bairnsangs have charmed many Scottish children into appreciating Scots.

'Come Sailin' ' is characteristic: 'Come intil my boat / I'll tak ye for a sail, / We'll mebbe catch a cod / A mackerel or a whale, / We'll mebbe catch a mermaid / And we will be enthralled / But I think it far mair likely / We'll only catch the cauld.'

When I told Annand my own daughter liked this he generously sent her a fair copy of the poem. Typical.

After retiring in 1971 from teaching, though not at Broughton, Annand expressed new interest in his old school. He urged Scottish writers to support the Broughton Library. When he found out that I had been at Broughton, decades after him, he persuaded me to part with signed copies of several of my own books.

Every time I met Annand he talked about Broughton. He harped on about the literary tradition of the school: old boys included MacDiarmid, of course, but also other well-known Scottish names such as Albert Mackie, Fred Urquhart and himself. Not bad for a wee Scottish public school - and not public in the English sense of private.

Immensely helpful to me when I edited The Letters of Hugh MacDiarmid, Annand was especially informative about the guided missives the angry young poet sent to his mentor, the aforementioned Ogilvie. He was similarly helpful when I wrote a biography of MacDiarmid, which he regarded as a book by a Broughtonian about a Broughtonian, though I never shared his sentimental attachment to the school.

Most of the outstanding modern Scottish poets have been obstreperously boozy boys but Jim Annand was not of their number. He was fond of a drink, yet, unusually for a Scottish man of letters, was not fanatical about drinking. A modest man, aware of his limitations, he published little but always enjoyed encouraging others to write. Looking through letters he sent me I note the supportive comments and the characteristic way of signing off: 'More power to your pen.'

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower