Don Paterson

Don Paterson Foto: McLeod

Don Paterson, born in Dundee, Scotland, in 1963, is thought of as one of the greatest poetic talents of his generation. A master of classical forms and poet of everyday things, Paterson’s poetry is in the tradition of Scottish poetry without being traditionalistic. Whether he writes about the death of a pet, morphine boxes lying around or the felling of an old tree, there’s always more at stake in a Paterson poem. One could even say everything is at stake. The Independent wrote of him that he is “one of the few contemporary poets whose work combines postmodern playfulness with a feel for the yearning for transcendence.”

His preoccupation with poetry has always run parallel to his preoccupation with music. In 1984 Paterson moved to London to work as a jazz musician and started writing poems at about the same time. During the 90s he lived between England and Scotland and between art forms. He wrote and played music, wrote columns on painting and reviewed video games for the Times. Even now he works in several genres, writing aphorisms and plays for stage and radio as well as poems and continuing to compose music. He is the poetry editor for the renowned Picador publishing house and Professor of Poetry at the University of St Andrews. He has published six volumes of poetry since 1993 and won many prizes, being the first poet to win the T.S. Eliot Prize twice. He was made an OBE in 2008.

Publications (a selection):

Nil Nil (Faber 1993)
God's Gift to Women (Faber 1997)
White Lie. Selected Poems (Graywolf 2001)
Landing Light (Faber 2003)
Orpheus – after Rilke's Die Sonette an Orpheus (Faber 2006)
Rain (Faber 2009)