Roddy Lumsden was born in St. Andrews, Scotland; he describes his upbringing as small-town and working-class. His earliest exposure to literature came from his mother and older brother, who would read aloud to him when he was a child. Later, when he attended school, his writing was influenced by the works of W.S. Graham, Philip Larkin, Thom Gunn, T.S. Eliot, and Sylvia Plath, and by song lyrics.
His work is marked by an attention to formal traditions and a voice both streetwise and regretful. Matthew Smith, reviewing Mischief Night: New and Selected Poems (2004), noted that “the ongoing affair between hedonism and mortality in Lumsden’s poetry is as much context as a subject for his work.” He also observed his “flair for formal roguery” and commented that “although the verse is hopping with linguistic antics, the foci of the language are music and rhetoric.”
Roddy Lumsden’s poetry collections include Yeah, Yeah, Yeah (1997) and Roddy Lumsden Is Dead (2003). He has received an Eric Gregory Award and was Writing Fellow for the City of Aberdeen. Lumsden has worked as a freelance writer, editor, teacher, and writer of puzzles and quizzes for newspapers. In 1999 he co-wrote The Message, a book on poetry and music. He also composed a poem, “Bloom,” on the set of “Flowers for Kate”—a photo shoot of the model Kate Moss for V magazine.