Robin was born in 1937 on the island of Arran in Scotland. After seven years there and
four near Glasgow he spent seven years in Sutherland. He took an MA (English Language
and Literature) in 1959 and a PhD (late medieval Scottish Literature and History) in 1972,
both from Edinburgh University. School-teaching in Scotland between 1960 and 1969 was
followed by two years as Writing Fellow at Edinburgh University. Since 1973 he has
lived in Stavanger, Norway, where he works as a university lecturer.
A "Selected Poems" (1980) gathered work from five earlier collections and was followed by further collections in 1982 and 1990. Two new collections are in the offing. Between 1967 and 1976 he edited the Scottish literary magazine "Lines Review" and the associated list of books; he has also edited, among other things, a "Selected Poems" by Iain Crichton Smith (1981) and the "Complete Poetical Works" of Robert Garioch (1983).
He has also published a large number of translations of Swedish poetry - by, for example, Lennart Sjögren, Tomas Tranströmer, Werner Aspenström, Kjell Espmark, Osten Sjöstrand. He has also translated the Norwegian poetry of Olav H. Hauge and the Danish poetry of Henrik Nordbrandt.
He won the Gregory Award in 1966, and for his Swedish translations he has won the Artur Lundkvist Award (1977) and the Swedish Academy Award (1978 and 1998).