Stewart Sanderson

Stewart Sanderson was born in Glasgow in 1990. In 2014 and 2016 he was shortlisted for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. In 2015 he received an Eric Gregory Award. His first pamphlet of poems, Fios, is published by Tapsalteerie. In 2016, following the completion of a PhD on modern Scottish poetry at the University of Glasgow, he was awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship, allowing him to spend a month working on new poems in Grez-sur-Loing, France. In 2017 he received commendations from the PN Review Poetry Prize and Stephen Spender Prize for poetry in translation. He is currently working towards his first full-length collection of poems.

Photo: Karen Veitch


Translation Showcase »

Listen to new poetry in different languages as part of this year's language focus Going Dutch

Sun 11 March | 13:00 - 14:00 | £4.50/£3.50 | The Town Hall, Queens Gardens, Council Chamber


Portrait of the Artist Holding a Thistle

It is the little things
in which reality
comes through to us: that thistle
in the corner there.
Where did he get it from?
Why is he holding it?
What is it this artist wants
from us, that he should offer
us a thistle?

The where is easiest.
He found it in the world.
The why and what are harder
so instead of fail
to ask the right question
I’d like to offer you this
thistle of my own.

Mine is a thistle made
of words, like Dunbar’s Thrissil
and the Rois
; just like the “thrissillis,
houmloikis, neittillis and uther
unprofitable weidis”
which sprout between the pages
of the DSL. It is in English
sow’s, hare’s, Mary’s thistle
and in Gaelic foghnan,
gìogan, cluaran

Like Dürer
I found these thistles in the world
and don’t know why I cling
to them or what it is
I want from you; from each
thisness which nestles
rustling on my tongue.


Stewart Sanderson

From Fios (Tapsalteerie, 2015)                         

The source of the quotation in the third stanza of this poem is a court revenue account from 1582, cited in the Dictionary of the Scots Language entry for “Thrissil(l)”.