Over the next two decades, Glen published scores of books and pamphlets by Scottish poets and writers. At the same time, his personal output in both prose and verse was considerable, his academic job had led to promotion (with corresponding responsibility), and his list of correspondents was yards long.
At 53, he took early retirement from his professorial post at Nottingham-Trent University. And what did he do? Wrote an autobiography (in which the word ‘holiday’ never appears). Wrote poems. Published them. Published other people’s poems. Started another magazine. Published pamphlets and books about people, places, art, local history, writers’ references. His output, both as publisher and writer, has been consistently prodigious. What on earth makes him tick?
There is no doubt that Glen is a rare breed, a man who accommodates many opposites. He dislikes what he calls ‘belles lettres’ publications and identifies with the radical in publishing. At the same time, he is genial, charming, polite and courteous, both in person and on paper. He has stirred controversy in his time, yet he is a gentle man, with strong, close friends—and generous with his time and support.
As for influences, MacDiarmid’s poetry cast a powerful spell over him in his late teens (“Never had I thought that poetry like this existed; a poetry which spoke to me directly and yet was also beyond me in many places”) but at the same time, he was “absolutely bowled over” by Geoffrey Wagner’s checklist of Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s works. This is a creative person who likes checklists. He likes facts and precision and names and dates—even in his own poems. At the same time, he is a true designer—he combines practical know-how with an artist’s eye and a mischievous imagination.