Sunday, February 21, 2010
Stuart A Paterson
A plug here for Stuart A Paterson, Ayrshire born poet, who in the halcyon days of the 90s was Writer in Residence in Dumfries before emigrating to Manchester and a regular very demanding job. This relocation seemed to have the effect of nobbling his output. Stuart was, and is, a great friend of mine - I declare a partiality there- but the facts about his wrIting speak for themselves.
Stuart before moving south had already established himself as an important talent. He was a Gregory Award winner, a holder of a Scottish Arts Council Bursary, and possibly the most interesting contributor to the very important 'Dream State', Donny O Rourke's anthology of young Scottish writing. He also co-edited with Gerry Cambridge (current editor of the Dark Horse)the influential magazine 'Spectrum' which published all the big names of the time.
When his collection 'Saving Graces' was published by DieHard it seemed just the start to a big publishing career. Events intervened, however. The romantic notion of a Scottish exile is someone whose sense of country or place is of such integral importance that his identity in any other place is incomplete. I have a sense that Stuart's idea of his own poetical identity suffered in the south. He settled, typically, in an area of exile- Levenshulme, the Irish district of Manchester. The poetry seemed to dry up.
I don't want to carry on as if he's dead- he's very much alive and was slevering over the phone to me just the other night- but in a way that was obvious to me, and I suspect to him, part of him seemed to have slipped away. This was more than a shame: Stuart was my idea of a natural poet, not some superannuated bursary grabber or palm warmer, but someone who was more happy scribbling verse on the back of his rail ticket on the way to Oban than at any fancy antholgy launch or reading.
So it is a pleasure to hear that he's putting a new collection together, much of it gritty stuff based on his experience working in childrens' homes down south. He's also showcasing his poetry at:
Stuart A Paterson
Here's a glimpse of this new work:
Outside it's Manchester, as usual,
with you & half a million others sleeping
cold away. In here it's you as well,
on a screen, just your name that's keeping
me from seeing if I can get
to Whalley Range before the light slinks in
and lose my job & scare you half to death.
Six letters on a monitor, that's all
two syllables and you would think that I
might make it through a single night without
recourse to poems or phones or photographs.
Love isn't like that, is it? Love's the time
like air between two pairs of lips,
decreasing, heating to a point
where time is only ever this. A kiss.
It's cold outside in Manchester as usual where
it's you who keeps me here by being there.