Alexander Smith was apprenticed as a pattern-designer in the muslin trade. Catapulted from obscurity with the publication of A Life-Drama in 1853, his poetry became linked with a new generation of writers who circled below the apparently calm surface of mid-Victorian prosperity. Labelled the Spasmodic School, they were attacked by critics who objected to their unconventional style and lack of scholarship. Simon Berry’s book is an attempt to rescue from history the memory of a great Scottish poet.
Simon Berry wrote the entry on Alexander Smith for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and in 2013 published Applauding Thunder. A former books review editor of The Scotsman and ex-President of Scottish PEN, he is maybe better known as a journalist and writer of erotic fiction. He lived in Cyprus before settling in the Scottish Highlands where he published his first collection of poems A Mask for Grieving & Other Poems (2014)