Vernon Scannell was a thief, a liar, a deserter, a bigamist, a fraud, an alcoholic, a woman-beater and a coward. Plenty of material for a biography, then, especially
given that he was also a novelist, a critic, a memoirist, a boxer, a teacher, a broadcaster, a loyal friend, a passionate lover and ‘a fun grandfather’. Most of all, he was a poet.
Walking Wounded was the title of a Scannell poem and collection published in 1965, and James Andrew Taylor is right to use it as the title for this biography. Beaten viciously by a thug of a father, uncomforted by an unloving mother, by the time he was 19 he was himself a father (of a son he never met) and a soldier, and soon to be a deserter, wounded chronically in mind if not in body.