james mcgonigal
Poet  •  Critic

Contact  James McGonigal

Teaching has been my main work, firstly in secondary schools and then in colleges (later faculties) of education. When an education tutor observes a student teacher at work in the classroom, it is still known in the West of Scotland as a ‘crit’, or criticism. The term harks back to earlier days when a school inspector’s critical review of the teacher’s performance had a direct impact on salary.

The aim now is to give advice, guidance, encouragementbut the negative label sticks, no doubt because being observed in early attempts at such a complex task is a tense experience. It seemed to me that observing lessons was like trying to understand a complicated human text within a genre of knowledge, and to respond to that honestly and humanely. So my critical writings on literary texts and educational practice tend to overlap or intersect, and both are recorded here.

This is particularly the case with the place of cultural identity, social values and local dialects in English teaching, and with exploring how teachers and children interact with texts in classrooms. Elsewhere, some of these interests combine in poems or stories written for children.

(2017) ‘Edwin Morgan: A Translator’s Notebook I–IV’. An edited selection from Morgan’s 1950s lectures, reviews and uncollected translations from Italian, Russian and Old English. PN Review 233–236 (January–July).

(2016) ‘Poets Post-War: G.S. Fraser and Edwin Morgan’. PN Review 230 (July–August).

(2015) ‘From Glasgow to Frisco: Edwin Morgan’s Letters to America’. The Dark Horse 35 (Late Autumn/Winter).

(2015) ‘Faith and Religion’, McGonigal J. and M. Bateman. In International Companion to Scottish Poetry. Sassi, C. (ed). Glasgow: Scottish Literature International.

(2015) ‘The Once and Future Pilot: Space, Time, Travel’. In International Companion to Edwin Morgan. Riach, A. (ed.). Glasgow: Scottish Literature International.

(2013) ‘Edwin Morgan, Hugh MacDiarmid and the Direction of the MacAvantgarde’. In The Scottish Sixties: Reading, Rebellion, Revolution? Bell, E. and L. Gunn (eds). Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi.

(2013) The Poetry of Edwin Morgan. Scotnotes. Glasgow: Association for Scottish literary Studies.

(2013) ‘Triple Distilled: Edwin Morgan’s Epistolary Spirit’, PN Review 40 (1).

(2013) ‘Keeping it Concrete: Edwin Morgan in the Sixties’, PN Review 40 (2).

(2013) ‘Exit in Pursuit of a Bugbear: Edwin Morgan and Poetic Drama’, PN Review 40 (3).

(2012) ‘Social capital connections: troublesome knowledge and early career practitioners’. McGonigal, J. and J. McAdam. In The Transformation of Children’s Services: Examining and debating the complexities of inter/professional working, Forbes, J. and Watson, C. (eds). London: Routledge.

(2012) ‘Ana, Morgana, Morganiana: A Poet’s Scrapbooks as Emblems of Identity’. McGonigal, J. and S. Hepworth. Scottish Literary Review 4:2, Autumn/Winter. See some examples.

(2010) ‘Recovering the Divan: Structure in Edwin Morgan’s Long Poem’, PN Review 36 (6).

(2009) Supporting Teacher and School Engagement with Literature in Learning within a Curriculum for Excellence Framework. Research report for Literature in Learning/ Scottish Literature Forum. McGonigal, J., J.C Hall and S. Hall. Glasgow: SCRE Centre.

(2008) ‘Global Citizens, Local Linguists: How Migrant Children Explore Cultural Identity through Vernacular Texts’. McGonigal, J. and E. Arizpe. In Global Citizenship Education: Philosophy, Theory and Pedagogy, Peters, M., A. Britton and H. Blee (eds). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

(2007) ‘Social Capital, Social Inclusion and Changing School Contexts: a Scottish perspective’. McGonigal J., R. Doherty, J. Allan, et al. British Journal of Educational Studies 55: 1.

(2007) Learning to Read a New Culture: How immigrant and asylum-seeking children experience Scottish identity through classroom books. McGonigal, J. and E. Arizpe. Final Report. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive Education Department.

(2006) ‘Translating God: Negative Theology and Two Scottish Poets’ and ‘Gay Writing in Scotland: An Interview with Edwin Morgan’. In Ethically Speaking: Voice and Values in Modern Scottish Writing. McGonigal, J. and K. Stirling (eds). Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi.

(2005) ‘Literacy, Technology and Memory in three Scots-Irish Novels’. Études Irlandaises 30:1.

(2004) ‘Interactive or Dialogic Teaching? The Case of the “Inspirational” Teacher’. Westminster Studies in Education 27:2.

(2004) ‘Wordsworth’s Narratology of Footsteps: “childish” writing in Lyrical Ballads’. In The Natural Delineation Of Human Passions: Lyrical Ballads 1798–1998, Barfoot, C. (ed.). Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodopi.

(2002) ‘Contemporary Scottish Poetry’. In Scottish Literature in English and Scots, Gifford, D. et al. (eds). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

(2002) ‘Teaching Geoffrey Grigson: A Thing or Two’. In My Rebellious and Imperfect Eye: Observing Geoffrey Grigson, Barfoot, C. and R. M. Healey (eds). Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodopi.

(2001) The LILT Project (Language into Languages Teaching) Teaching and Learning Knowledge about Language in English and Modern Languages. McGonigal. J., C. J. Kay et al. Glasgow: Scottish Executive Education Department.

(2000) ‘Millennial Days: Religion as Consolation and Desolation in Contemporary Scottish Poetry’. In Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses 41: Noviembre.

(2000) ‘Bunting and Narrative: “Part of the marvel”’. In The Star You Steer By: Basil Bunting and British Modernism. McGonigal, J. and R. Price (eds). Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodopi.

(1999) ‘Secondary English Language’. In Scottish Education, Bryce, T. and W. Humes (eds). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

(1998) ‘Using Oral Discourse in Literary Studies’. In Encyclopaedia of Language and Education, Vol. 3: Oral Discourse and Education, Corson, D. and B. Davies (eds). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

(1997) ‘Re-reading Scottish Literature: critical issues in the upper secondary stage’. In Teaching Scottish Literature, McGillivray, A. (ed.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

(1995) ‘Raised and Erased Voices: what special cases offer to argument’. In Competing and Consensual Voices: The Theory and Practice of Argument, Costello, P. and S. Mitchell (eds). Clevedon, Bristol and Adelaide: Multilingual Matters.

(1995) ‘An XYZ of Reading: Basil Bunting in the British Tradition’. In Sons of Ezra: British Poets and Ezra Pound. Alexander, M. and J. McGonigal (eds). Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodopi.

(1993-94) Standard Grade English-Spoken: Guidelines 1-6. Series editor, and author of Guidelines 3 and 4 ‘Transforming a Unit of Work’ and ‘Three Short Stories’. Dundee: Scottish Consultative Committee on the Curriculum.

(1992) ‘Unsettling the set text’. In Young Readers, New Readings, Evans, E. (ed.). Hull: Hull University Press.

(1992) ‘Intertext or inner text? How children learn to read and talk together’. In Rebirth of Rhetoric: Essays in Language, Culture and Education, Andrews, R. (ed.). London and New York: Routledge.

(1992) Hard Words & Fancy Words: Helping pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties through Standard Grade English. Dundee: Scottish Consultative Committee on the Curriculum.

(1990) ‘Assessing group discussion’. In Managing Talk in the Curriculum, Mercer, N. (ed.). Buckingham: Open University Press.