Obituary: Stanley Roger Green, 85

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Stanley Roger Green, one of Scotland’s literary greats and member of The Heretics poetry society, has died at the age of 85.

During the younger portions of his life, it can be confidently assumed few would picture Stanley Roger Green ending up as part of Scotland’s poetry elite.

One of seven children, Green was born into a poor Stockbridge family and followed a similar path to his father, a ship’s engineer, after being evacuated to Sauchie, Clakcmannanshire during The Second World War.

Upon returning to Edinburgh, he attended Leith Nautical College, before serving in the Merchant Navy and travelling to Libya with the Army National Service.

After his stint in Africa, the man from Leith once again returned to his home city to study, this time architecture, at Edinburgh College of Art. There he met his wife-to-be, Eleanor, whom he married in 1961 and together they had two children, Malcolm and Alison.

Green’s studies allowed him to travel, and he briefly attempted to live the life of a designer in the distant Caribbean island of Bermuda, as well as Tralee in Ireland.

Friend and fellow student, Anthony Finlay, remarked on Green’s skill as a sketcher, his architectural drawings the works of someone outstandingly gifted at putting pencil to paper.

But the man was destined to return home, to follow yet another different path; the loss of one talent giving birth to another.

Green’s stay in Sauchie had fostered a love of the countryside, his time at the local school, where he was known as a leader, helping a love of literature and poetry to blossom.

His children recall their father burying his head in classics, alongside essays and publications of works by the ancient Greeks, between musical evenings during which he would effortlessly play the piano, which he taught himself.

Green began to develop his true passions, writing and poetry, during a time where Edinburgh was awash with the elite of Scotland’s literary talent.

Between the 50s and 70s he found himself gliding between the pubs of Edinburgh’s well known Rose Street, a place flooded by famous artists, musicians, poets and writers.

There he drank with, debated against and learnt from the likes of Hugh McDiarmid, George Mackay Brown, Sidney Goodsir Smith and Norman McCraig, finding himself at meetings of The Heretics, the cream of Scottish poets; at the New Town Hotel.

Renowned for his colourful, entertaining prose, Green’s works include Whither O Ship (1989), memories of his year-long worldwide trip on a tramp steamer, as well as fun and witty poems of his love of landscapes and lasses: A Suburb of Belsen (1977); Advice to Travellers (1990); and Waiting for the Mechanic (1998).