The Arctic

Don Paterson

The Arctic is Don Paterson’s most moving and eclectic collection since Landing Light, Winner of the Whitbread and the T.S.Eliot Prize.

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In this new collection from Don Paterson, ‘The Arctic’ is the bar frequented in the backstreet of a post-apocalyptic world. Under its echoey aegis are gathered poems about men and women, polemical responses to a pandemic, microdot poems, odes to dogs, to movies and the male anatomy, and, in the chill undertow, a series of poems that mourn the poet’s musician father. Other poets are drawn in from the cold, including the Chilean poet, Gabriela Mistral, whose verses are magically transformed to Paterson’s native Scots; there are versions, too, of Cavafy, Montale and Unamuno. And in the fourth part Paterson’s ongoing long poem ‘The Alexandrian Library’, travelling from a weather station at the top of Ben Nevis to the cellar back at The Arctic Bar, we are witness to the imminence of man-made extinction. By turn, urgent, railing, tender, these are poems for our times, by one of our most celebrated and formally adventurous poets.


Don Paterson was born in Dundee in 1963. His poetry has won many awards, including the Whitbread Poetry Prize, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the Costa Poetry Award, all three Forward Prizes and, on two occasions, the T. S. Eliot Prize. He was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2009. He is Professor of Poetry at the University…

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