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Alexander Rodger

Mitchell Library

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Alexander Rodger

Alexander Rodger (1784-1846) the "Radical Poet."

Rodger first began writing poetry when working as a weaver and music teacher in Bridgeton in the years following the Napoleonic Wars. In 1819 he became sub-editor of The Spirit of the Union, a newspaper which advocated radical political reform. There was much political agitation at the time, culminating in the Radical Rising of 1820, and Rodger spent eleven days in prison on suspicion of publishing seditious material.

The first of several collections of poems by Rodger was published in 1821. His poems, in the Scots dialect, combined biting political satire with pawky humour. They were generally short and to the point, an exception being Peter Cornclips, a lengthy "tale of real life". Many of his poems were set to music, with some, such as The Mucking o' Geordie's Byre, having inspired more modern versions.

Rodger was also editor for many years of the Reformers' Gazette. He contributed to and later edited Whistle-binkie, a series of Scots poems and songs.

Reference: Mitchell Library, 213052

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning

1820 Rising, editors, journalists, music teachers, poems, poets, Radical Rising, radicalism, Reformers' Gazette, satire, sedition, Spirit of the Union, The Mucking o' Geordie's Byre, weavers, Whistle-binkie

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