Scottish poet, journalist, biographer, and critic whose career began with his 1965 publication of Society Inebrious. His later poetic works include The Voyage, A Perpetual Motion Machine, and A Pint of Bitter.
He met Hugh MacDiarmid, his literary mentor and friend, in 1962.
He published a 1991 novel entitled East Is West.
He married Alice Howell in 1963. His daughter Valentina, following in her father's literary footsteps, earned the position of head of Scottish Studies at the University of Glasgow at Dumfries.
His biography of poet Robert Burns was published in 1973.