Patrick James Errington

Poems by Patrick James Errington have won the Wigtown Poetry Prize, The London Magazine poetry competition, the Flambard International Poetry Prize, and the National Poetry Competition, among others, and appear in magazines and anthologies such as The Cincinnati Review, Boston Review, Oxford Poetry, The Iowa Review, Copper Nickel, and Best New Poets. His French translation of P.J. Harvey’s poetry collection, The Hollow of the Hand, was released by Éditions l’Âge d’Homme in 2017 and his own debut chapbook, Glean, is forthcoming in the UK from ignitionpress. A native of Alberta, Canada, and a graduate of Columbia University’s MFA programme, Patrick currently lives in Edinburgh and is a doctoral candidate at the University of St Andrews.

Photo: Mat Simpson


Necessarily Looking Backward »

New poems commissioned by StAnza for the Muriel Spark centenary

Thu 8 March - Sun 11 March | 10:00 - 22:00 | FREE | The Byre Theatre, Abbey Street

Necessarily Looking Backward »

Listen to new poems commissioned for the Muriel Spark centenary

Fri 9 March | 14:15 - 15:00 | FREE | The Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Conference Room


To Be Redacted Should It Become Necessary

Winter again and, though it’s early days yet, the sky and I
can sense its restraint. The old redactor’s leaving work, stopping
in the shops on the corner to grab some bread, wine, whatever
is necessary. Milk, maybe – no need to reach for that one all
the way in back, everything will be drunk tonight – the last
of the autumn asters in a pail by the window. Take
only the things that are given. I could have loved you more,
I think. All those evenings, I held you as if I could hold you
together, like syntax. Your hair spilling loose. Past the bare
hotel kitchen, the dusk going soft what with all the gnawing
of dormice in the woodwork, the fallen thistleseed sprouting
in the grass. A birdhouse empty and above. Even unkept, time
keeps us, years, like souvenirs, scraps brought back from some
well-planned holiday. Provence, maybe. Everything has a limit,
you used to say, the glimmer of city lights failing far below
against the gathering dark. I think of wisdom, now, not so much
as knowing or experience or regret. I could have loved you
through all hours, enough to slip ourselves loose from them like

numbering, like needing, and the poem might’ve ended here.
But I’m told the town’s only editor slipped out early tonight
to buy asters, maybe because he knows there’s really no use
staying to the end. Or maybe because there’s someone waiting

back home, and it’s been a long time, I gather, since he’s done
something nice for her, something small and more than necessary.


Patrick James Errington

First published in Boston Review (2017)