Born in Scotland in 1765, Gavin Turnbull, a contemporary of Robert Burns, worked as an actor and published two books of poetry before he immigrated to Charleston, South Carolina in 1795. In 1840, poetry scholar James Paterson lamented, "Of the subsequent history of Turnbull we are almost entirely ignorant." Fortunately, more recent English scholars have uncovered more information about Turnbull's life in the United States, revealing his subsequent work in both poetry and theatre. On this website, visitors can read poetry that Turnbull penned on both sides of the Atlantic and learn more about this influential but oft-overlooked writer. These poems include work from his most famous publication, 1788's Poetical Essay, along with recently uncovered poems that Turnbull authored in Charleston (and often published individually in local newspapers). Through this collection, literary scholars and poetry fans alike can explore the characteristics and development of Turnbull's poetry.
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