WILD NATURE POETRY AWARD competition now open.

Stuart A. Paterson is a widely published and anthologised Scottish poet living by the Solway coast in Galloway.


He writes in English and his native Scots, and is a past recipient of an Eric Gregory Award and a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship.


His Indigo Dreams pamphlet Border Lines won the 2016 Saboteur Awards Best Pamphlet category


In July 2017 Stuart was appointed BBC Scotland Poet in Residence for 2017 - 2018.









Cover design by Neil Godfrey Paterson




138 x 216mm


68 pages


£8.99 + P&P UK


ISBN 978-1-910834-54-1













In Looking South we visit places and meet characters a long way off any tourist map. From secret coastline to cleared moorland, blacksmith to Oscar winner, Looking South gives a voice to places and people often bypassed by road, history and compass.



Border Lines 

(Indigo Dreams 2015)

Winner: Best Pamphlet Saboteur Awards 2016


" 'At Douglas Hall' is a twelve-line sustained poem interwoven and complete in itself, a masterpiece."

Tessa Ransford


"These are no Tourist Board verses. Deep in the heart of Scotland something has stirred, and this collection of fine poems is the sound of the rustling undergrowth."

Andy Jackson

Dundee University Review of the Arts


"Paterson takes us through 'old pathless Galloway' -

and simultaneously on a journey of the spirit. Permeating Border Lines are his evident warmth towards the place and those who people it, and a buoyant sense of time passing, yet of timelessness.

Stewart Conn



Looking South


Stuart A. Paterson

BBC Scotland Poet in Residence












Today I thought I ought to write a poem

of how borders heave with refugees,

weave metaphors like plaited grass,

give voice to untranslated pleas.

Last week it should've been

a poignant tribute to the lives lost

in a migrants' boat which sank

off Sicily, that earthquake

in Tibet, another suicidal middle

eastern market square attack.


I think those poems, type them out

in brain fluid, print them off in breaths

reserved for sympathy which does no good.

On Portling beach the morning tide

has left a memory of person,

a tragi-comic skeleton perched

wistfully on the skerries looking out

to Maryport, wide-eyed, open-mouthed

as if warning everybody in the south

of river spates, lost balance, last

ones for the road, red-lettered bills,

missed calls, inactions, life-defining sanctions,

border crossings that will never pass,

of ultimately being late.


The week is crammed with awful news.

At least, from here, there are stunning views.



skerries – sharp coastal rocks




Tam O’Shanter Inn, Dumfries


Chico's the size of a favela rat, sleek

as a racing snake. Don't be fooled by his

tabletop antics, his one-take poses on

tall trees of barstool, his acquired

resemblance to a pre-midnight Gremlin.

Chico has run with the old pack,

goes way back to when dogs got things done,

ran loose in ordered roles, tackled

jaguars, anacondas, had endless

loyal fettle. Even now, a part of him

sits watchfully on the bottom step

of great Quetzalcoatl's temple,

ready to repel invading hordes

of pagan neighbours, slice through

the jangling armour of Conquistadors.

He'll settle for a biscuit, tickled lugs,

the hoppy fug of long-tamed men who

feed him cheese & onion crisps in pubs.

And while we're sinking deeper in our beers

Chico sleeps & dreams of nothing less

than seeing off those spectacled fucking bears.





On the high moors past Sanquhar

cows shuffle mud into quagmires,

dry stane dykes slowly folding into a land

no longer bothered by working underpins & props.


Nithsdale's a sinkhole waiting to happen,

a month of floods with nowhere to go.

It will find itself washed away in time,

fall apart at seams no longer quite so far below.







Tonight the lazy, dangerous tail

of a storm the Met Office have

called, as if naming a new

brand of weather-divining doll, Abigail

is wagging the shaggy dog of the Solway

from Southerness to Whithorn.


No ancient trees have as yet become

uprooted, no beach accessory shops

had shutters ripped away,

glass shattered, spades & buckets looted

but there’s crackling madness in the wind

& legends already of flying

wheelie bins down in Auchencairn where

rumours circulate of bairns blown

halfway to Portpatrick on a rogue farm gate.


Here at Sandyhills, where ancient,

barren artefacts like smiddies, water mills

& salmon nets have seen & felt

it all a thousand tousy times before,

Abigail hunts in a noisy pack of one

along a duneless, sealess shore, sniffing

the evening air for signs of life.


Good luck Abigail, give it your worst,

holler at holiday homes & darkened

caravans until your fragile lungs

are fit to burst. And when you’re all

blown out & capable of nothing but

hoarse shouts of dying breeze, there

will be only scraps of net on

sinking stake poles, empty strands,

a bigger storm long since over,

far worse damage long since done.





Rumour, legend, hearsay, anecdote

tell of the time a local came across

Hopkins on the bench at Douglas Hall,

hunched in reveries of winter coat.


Politely asked why he was there, he's said

to have replied "I visit often, love to walk

past White Loch as sunset caps the Moll

with fiery light, love the way those tides

steal in like smugglers to the hidden coves

below the Cow's Snout, love the way that

sea pinks dot the lichened gneiss,

the way the Isle of Man skulks underneath

its clouded crown & Hestan pops out

from Balcary as I round Barcloy Hill

while the west dims, the Solway fills.

And sometimes I’ll stride like Thor to stand

above the rearing teeth of Gillis Craig

to rage & cry at the unfairness of the infinite,

its disregard of you & yes, of me."


I imagine him, pre-knighthood,

perched above the bay

gazing out to where Wattie’s

salmon nets march brokenly away

before rising slowly, walking off to

Sandyhills, a nice Chianti

& a beach fire with

Attenborough, Gielguid & Mills.

9781910834541 author amend