Book Reviews

Don Paterson review

As a poet, poetry reader, and 50% Scot I am super excited to introduce you to Don Paterson!
He is, frankly, one of the best poets in the world today. Paterson is 54 years old, and a native Dundee Scot. Since his award winning debut collection “Nil Nil,” he has won acclaim by the handfuls. He has been awarded an unprecedented TWO T. S.  Eliot Prizes, among a tangle of others.
I happen to also be Scottish just like Mr. P so I’d take my laudations with a grain of salt. Here’s a link; read his poem “The Wreck” for yourself. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/58266 Done it? Now you understand. What master of imagery could use both aqualungs and war to make a point about cyclical love?  This is his undoubted strength.  The poignancy and originality of his imagery is unrivaled.  I would relate him to T. S. Eliot, the king of oyster shells and one night cheap hotels (Paterson won Eliot’s prize for a reason). Notably, his imagery connects with the environment. The theme of relationships between viewer and nature, or lover and lover, develop through the metaphorical parallel of the speaker, who implicitly has a relationship with the scene.
He is certainly not a millennial, but his poems cover subjects from raw love to climate change to flowers.  The scope of his work is relatable to many younger poets, who flit from emotion to emotion like an echolocationless bat.  But, unlike millennial poets, whose undoubted weakness is their style, Paterson has the stylistic talent of the old generation of writers. So basically, he has the content of the hip kids and the semantics of a, well, 54 year old.
I only learned about him a month ago, and since then I have pirated every poem of his I could find (and intend to buy every collection at the bookstore next time I go). If you are interested in poetry I suggest using the resource https://www.poetryfoundation.org/ it has biographies and poetry from every artist imaginable. And best of all it’s completely free! I have used it for a year now and I recommend it to every avid reader I know.
Have a poetic evening.
Love,

Mhairi

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