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Don Paterson

Contemporary Critical Essays

Edited by Natalie Pollard

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The first book-length critical study of the contemporary British poet, Don Paterson

Eight essays by leading literary critics and writers explore the social, historical and personal dimensions of Paterson’s poetry and prose. Situating his work in dialogue with the classical, medieval, early modern, modernist and contemporary voices that inform it, the book considers Paterson as a figure actively negotiating his place within literary history and theory, as well as confronting that history with humour and directness.

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List of Abbreviations
List of Contributors
Part I: Patterns and Paterson: Forms, Techniques, Histories
1. Don Paterson’s Ars Poetica, Derek Attridge
2. Golden Means: Music, Translation and the Patersonnet, Hugh Haughton
3. No-Score Drawing: Postmodern Games in Don Paterson, Edward Larrissy
4. Cleaving Nothing From Nothing: Post-Romantic Negation and Affirmation in Don Paterson, Michael O’Neill
5. An Interview between Don Paterson and Derek Attridge, Form in Poetry
Part II: Poetry in its Place: Responses and Responsibilities
6. Scotland, Britain and The Elsewhere of Poetry, Gerard Carruthers
7. On Spirituality and Transcendence, Jo George
8. Natalie Pollard, Hiding in Full View: Dark Material and Light Writing
9. Peter Robinson, Punching Yourself in the Face: Don Paterson and his Readers
10. An Interview between Don Paterson and Matthew Sperling, The Publishing of Poetry
Select Bibliography

About the Author

Natalie Pollard is Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literature in the Department of English, Queen Mary, University of London. She is the author of Speaking to You: Contemporary Poetry and Public Address (OUP, 2012) as well as the author of articles in Essays in Criticism, The Cambridge Quarterly and Parallax.


Don Paterson is fast becoming one of the representative poets of our time. His readers, and anyone interested in contemporary poetry and poetics, will enjoy this book’s two illuminating interviews with the poet and how its essays range across Paterson’s work, attending in innovative, stimulating ways to what one essay calls ‘his self-conscious and virtuoso mastery of form’. 

John McAuliffe, University of Manchester

- John McAuliffe, University of Manchester