Glisk by Sarah Stewart


Glisk: gleam of sunlight through cloud; a glow of heat from a fire. Figuratively, a glimpse of the good.

Winner of the 2019 Callum Macdonald Award for best poetry pamphlet in Scotland.



Sarah Stewart is a writer and editor based in Edinburgh. Her poetry has previously been published in Anon, The Honest Ulsterman, Mslexia, New Writing Dundee, The Pickled Body, The Scotsman and in the anthologies Be The First To Like This: New Scottish Poetry and Best Scottish Poems 2014. She was a UNESCO City of Literature Writer in Residence in Krakow in 2017.

Glisk, Sarah Stewart’s first poetry pamphlet, takes us to the Russian revolution and 1960s New York (not to mention bonny Dundee) in a collection that touches on vulnerability, memory and language. It won the 2019 Callum Macdonald Award for best poetry pamphlet in Scotland.

“Sarah Stewart’s poetry has it all: warmth, humour, vivacity, but also an unstinting commitment to look, and keep looking. To examine, to get to the bottom of. In the poem ‘Caddy Lamb,’ the speaker cannot help but look back, over and over. I felt the same about this collection. These are poems to read, and re-read, and re-re-read. They’ll stay with you long after the book is closed.”
– Claire Askew

The Arctic Arms, Dundee

Sociologists claim our quality of life
peaked in 1978, the year Archie Gemmill
scored a World Cup goal for Scotland;
Sony invented the Walkman; Superman
was playing in cinemas. That summer,
my parents went into a pub, ordered
two pints. “We don’t serve pints
to ladies,” the barman said.

My mother did not flinch. Coolly,
she asked for two halves,
decanted them into a pint glass. I like
to picture her, backlit by the jukebox
in the pub’s smoky fug, raising
that tarnished gold to her lips.


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