Jim Stewart Obituary by Andy Jackson

Jim Stewart was born in Dundee in 1952. He took an MA in English at the University of Dundee in 1984 followed by a PhD at Edinburgh in 1990. A M odernist scholar, his specialism was Virginia Woolf about whom he had published several articles and books. He taught English at Dundee University from 1988, and also taught Creative Wri ting there with the novelist Kirsty Gunn, working extensively on the University’s M. Litt. Programme, a course which helped to turn many of its students into Gutter contributors.

Jim’s work in supporting and encouraging students at Dundee University was his main passion. But he was also a warm and insightful writer with a beau tiful eye for the rhythms of nature, and was made Poet-in-Residence at Tentsmuir Forest (Fife) in 2013. His poetry has been published in various national and international outlets including The Red Wheelbarrow, New Writing Scotland and InterLitQ. He was an early supporter of Gutter magazine, and had several contributions published as early as Issue 2 in 2010. He leaves an unpublished store of poetry, seeing writing, reflection and crafting as primary to his practice and approach; however, it is hoped that colleagues and friends will be able to bring his work to greater public attention.

Jim reviewed extensively for the Times Literary Supplement and DURA (the Dundee University Review of the Arts), combining an astonishing intellectual reach and curiosity with a writer’s eye for the shape of and feel for words. He was co-editor of New Writing Dundee and had recently worked with composers and musicians on a libretto for the opera Flora and the Prince which debuted at Carnegie Hall (New York), also performed at St Pauls Cathedral in Dundee and at the Edinburgh Festival.

Jim was one of the nicest, wisest people in Scottish poetry. Vincent O’Sullivan, New Zealand’s Poet Laureate, said this of him;

“It is a fortunate thing when you read a writer from the other side of the world and are excited by both the particularity and generosity of the work for the feeling is as though you have found a friend.”

Jim will be missed by all his family, colleagues, students, friends and fellow writers and his extremely sad loss is best summed up by Robert Burns in his poem ‘Epitaph On My Own Friend’;

The friend of man, the friend of truth;
The friend of age, and guide of youth:
Few hearts like his, with virtue warm’d,
Few heads with knowledge so inform’d

Jim Stewart 1952-2016