Today, BBC Scotland, in association with the Scottish Poetry Library, announces the name of its second Poet in Residence. This afternoon, The Janice Forsyth Show revealed Stuart A. Paterson is to succeed Rachel McCrum, who became the first BBC Scotland Poet in Residence in 2015.
‘I'm thrilled to be appointed BBC Scotland Poet in Residence,’ says Paterson. ‘As an Ayrshire poet living in Dumfries and Galloway, I've always been inspired by the way Burns used accessible poetry to reflect matters both universal and local. Building on the work of the first Poet in Residence Rachel McCrum, I hope to challenge perceptions of poetry being aloof and for the few, and to offer up work which people throughout our diverse country can relate to and enjoy.’
Paterson's poetry collections are Mulaney of Larne and other poems (University of Leiden, Scottish Writers series, 1991), Saving Graces (Diehard, 1997), Border Lines (Indigo Dreams, 2015), and Aye (Tapsalteerie, 2016). He received an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors in 1992 and a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship from the Scottish Book Trust in 2014. He has also featured twice in the SPL’s annual online anthology Best Scottish Poems.
The residency takes place over four months, running from National Poetry Day (for which the new Poet in Residence will write a poem on NPD’s theme of ‘freedom’) to Burns Night. The poet is working with a variety of teams across the BBC to bring poetry to diverse audiences in Scotland. By the end of the residency, the poet will have written a clutch of new poems that will be shared across BBC Scotland’s platforms.
McCrum says, ‘I wish the new poet all the very best. You will end up in wonderful wild places (Kirkwall…Beinn a Bhuird…St Mirren's football grounds). You will meet good folk, great broadcasters. You will work hard, you'll stretch your poetry to new spaces, you will rise to meet the challenges, and you'll have the greatest of times doing it.’ McCrum’s debut, The First Blast to Awaken Degenerate Women (Freight), was published in June.
Asif Khan, Director of the SPL, says, ‘This residency offers a unique opportunity for a poet based in Scotland to engage with the wide range of themes and content produced and broadcast by BBC Scotland. Poetry is treasured in Scotland, and is an ideal medium for conveying to audiences the emotional impact and comment on the human condition of features presented in areas like news, current affairs and sport.’
The SPL will, with BBC Scotland, be supporting the poet throughout the residency. Tune into Radio Scotland between September and January to hear the results.