Stuart A. Paterson was born in 1966 & brought up in Ayrshire. He received an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors in 1992 and a Scottish Arts Council Writer’s Bursary in 1993. He founded and edited the international poetry & prose review Spectrum, from 1989 to 1996. Stuart’s first collection, Saving Graces, was published by Diehard (Poetry Scotland) in 1997 & nominated for a Saltire Society ‘First Book’ award. His work has appeared in many publications, including Dream State: The New Scottish Poets (Polygon), The Poets’ Book of Days (Random House), Scottish Literature in the Twentieth Century (Scottish Cultural Press) and The Forward Book of Poetry (Sinclair-Stevenson), as well as in many newspapers & magazines. He was Dumfries & Galloway Writer-in-Residence 1996-98, and won the Poetry & Small Presses Federation Poetry Slam in Birmingham in 1997. Stuart lived in Manchester since 1998 where he was involved in running writers’ groups in the mental health sector & in schools. He returned to live by the sea & write in Galloway in 2012. Reviews “McGough by way of Morgan.” Alan Bold, The Sunday Times “A vinegary fantasy of Scotland.” Robyn Marsack, Scotland on Sunday “Of the youngest poets, Paterson seems the most promising....he has brio and a sense of form.” Peter Forbes, The Observer “Stravaigs with the wide eye of a Burns or a Whitman.” Donny O’Rourke, introduction to Dream State: The New Scottish Poets Saving Graces “An excellent book of short poems which is a pleasure to be read aloud as poetry should be read.” Tony Charles, New Hope International “A fine first collection.” Tessa Ransford, The Scotsman “A book worth waiting for.” Robin Bell, Books in Scotland “Beguiling in detail and cadence.” Stewart Conn, The Poet’s Voice (Austria) “Chunky poetic language, wondrously borne out.” J.D.U. Geldenhuys, Carapace (South Africa) “Paterson’s characterisations of wildlife are splendid, as good as MacCaig at his best.” Ian Nimmo White, Fife Lines
Elegy For Someone Else’s Sister Grief's speed travels fast nowadays on lines through the air, the ground, the shrunken sky. A moment explodes like an atom parsed by words sparked immediate electrically. Her name's my love's name, her loss but a little forwewarning, a ripple that's gone before long, an echo best freed for the airways, her name a chorus in somebody else's song this time. Your news is almost PSed, tagged onto the end of a message full of life's small dramas, and this one rendered huge by appearing so minuscule. "My sister died last night, suddenly." No warning, no intake of steadying breath, and she's gone, just like that, like a message deleted, a receiver replaced, into death. Films don't exist of these things, we can't watch endless re-runs, rewind, play forward, pause. The only end credits we write for ourselves endlessly, the sound mute, the picture long off. Time grows on words made real, dilute grief's speed into something tangible. These words are the hands reaching over to slow & capture & give to you that time. Lost (for Cheryl) It's like a treasure hunt gone wrong before we even close the front door finally, and go. You've lost your keys, or rather, put them somewhere altogether obviously there, beside the bread bin, on the table, in your pocket. When we're outside by the car you say you don't know where they are and we begin again by looking for your house keys to get in to find the car keys which you left beside your house keys when you put your glasses down beside the bag you thought you put your car keys in. It's not that things are lost it's that they're somewhere you are not; beneath a pile of bills and letters, behind life's unimportant must-dos that you'll put aside till 'later', in the same place as the keys, the ring, the make-up bag, the glasses, almost everything, and you. ............................................ Making Up What have I done to deserve you? Well, 150 miles south in a taxi At 12 on a Friday night Quoting Burns relentlessly under Dreary Mancunian lamplight Bringing no clean underwear On a six or seven day stay Lying in your bed hungover till you ring From your work at midday Getting stoned & eating all the Belgian Chocolates while you were sleeping Trawling your ouzo & brandy & all The other good booze you were keeping Pestering your nice pals with roared Opinions of shites & bastards Turning up two hours late for your Dinner parties, plastered Trying to tidy your place & breaking Expensive foreign ornaments Forgetting you're a veggie & Continually talking mince Borrowing twenty quid at the bus stop Just before I've went Forgetting, next time I visit, the other Fifty quid you lent Preferring the Scotland-Latvia game To a quiet few hours with you Smoking all your baccy, & feigning sleep When you really wanted to What have you done to deserve me? Remembering those dragon pendants in A Dumfries curiosities shop Watching you open the box two days later & seeing your lip drop Reach over before you get to the handle & raise your car door lock Helping your back arch frantically Hours after the music's stopped 'Phoning you drunk at all hours then Forgetting what you've said 'Phoning you from the phone that doesnt work Beside my bed What have I done to deserve you? ........................................................... Surface By Rydal Lake we're watching acrobatic ducks pose dives for perfect tens. Cacophanies in cars chunder wildly near to where we are, impatient children dashing mindlessly. Above, no gulls threaten theft, no ferries sidle up & nuzzle harbour-side, but there's a feel of Scottish west coast madness lurking just beneath the picture perfect skin of greens, blues and browns. Perhaps it isn't where we are but where we were in certain conversations while enormous unseen clocks stopped their roatation for a moment only, whirring in my ears like grinding turbines on a ferry slowly going ever out of sight, and west. (Lake District/06)
All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.
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