Hamish Whyte was born near Glasgow where he lived for many years before moving to Edinburgh in 2004.
He has edited many anthologies of Scottish literature, including Noise and Smoky Breath: an illustrated anthology of Glasgow poems 1900-1983, The Scottish Cat and An Arran Anthology, Kin: Scottish Poems about Family(Polygon/Scottish Poetry Library), and Scottish Cats (Birlinn) as well as co-editing several issues of New Writing Scotland.
He runs Mariscat Press, publishing the poetry of Edwin Morgan, Gael Turnbull, Janice Galloway, Stewart Conn and A.L. Kennedy among others.
He has worked as a librarian, reviewed crime fiction for Scotland on Sunday and is currently an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow. He is a member of Edinburgh’s Shore Poets and plays percussion in the Edinburgh-based band The Whole Shebang.
A Bird in the Hand (2008)
Whyte’s first full collection gathers together poems from the previous twenty five years, published in pamphlets, magazines and anthologies, as well as more recent work.
‘[The] collection contains a number of poems so pellucid they don’t call for explication. His subjects are, for the most part, homely: his father, his son taking photographs of shells, a woman reading the tea leaves, his wife asleep, a couple seen behaving oddly on a railway train, a much-missed cat, that sort of thing. There’s nothing portentous or pretentious about him. His poem “Otis”, about that cat, is the best I’ve read on the subject since Hardy’s. Thought is never replaced by rhetoric in these poems.’
Robert Nye, The Scotsman
‘Whyte is working within a tradition of approachable experimentalism ….. Dream poems, found poems, list poems, epistolary poems: they’re all included here, but what holds them together is Whyte’s tone of voice. His style is seemingly offhand, avuncular and conversational, but there is a real lyric craft behind the apparent lack of artifice.’
Simon Turner, Horizon Review
The Unswung Axe (2012)
The second collection by Whyte to be published by Shoestring Press and, like its predecessor, A Bird in the Hand, is notable for its technical skills and unassuming, wide-ranging wit.
Things We Never Knew (2016)
‘Whyte has a lyrical touch to his poetry that is often derided in the modern politicised and performance poetical traditions. This is poetry that needs no grandiloquence, no explanations, no justifications: Whyte is serving up slices of his life in small, almost graceful lyrics that charm their way into your mind.’
‘He catches enlightening glimpses of the world out of train windows and presents us with instants of great emotional depth (like a grandfather and child burying a pet mouse) in a manner that seems beguilingly simple. If you too have a collection of stones gathered at significant moments, but now you’ve ‘no idea where most of them/are from’, this collection of poems is for you.’
Mandy Haggith, Northwords Now