The Sleep Road by Stewart Sanderson


The much anticpated debut full-length collection from Stewart Sanderson.

SKU: 978-1-9162148-5-9 Category:


The poems in The Sleep Road explore the journeys we undertake without expecting, the paths we’re not quite aware of following till we find we’ve arrived: the road from one end of a day, or life, to another; the tracks we trace, half-consciously, into the future. Rooted in the ecology and history of his native Scotland, Sanderson’s eagerly awaited first full-length collection forms around sleep, literal and metaphorical, as well as the consolations language, lyric and landscape offer in the face of contemporary crisis.

“Stewart Sanderson is a poet who can read the silence. Landscapes, lichens, stones and all manner of histories are subject to his extraordinary gift for language and adeptness at listening to the world, its sorrows and surprises. These poems are written out of a keen sense of deep time and a fluency in deciphering what the past might tell us about where we are now – they confirm Sanderson to be one of the most remarkable poets of his generation.”
– Rachael Boast

Stewart Sanderson is a poet from Scotland. Three times shortlisted for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award (2014, 2016, 2020), he has also received an Eric Gregory Award (2015), as well as Robert Louis Stevenson (2016) and Jessie Kesson Fellowships (2019). Widely published in magazines and anthologies, he has performed internationally and participated in translation exchange projects involving writers from Friesland, North Africa and Russia. || @stewartasanders

Reviews of The Sleep Road:

“His emergence, along with the deserved plaudits that his work has received, offers a positive sign that different poetic aesthetics can co-exist on the contemporary scene. What’s more, there’s an overarching feeling that Sanderson’s method will only grow in its capacity to move the reader over the coming years. Both in individual and in collective terms, The Sleep Road is a significant collection.” – Matthew Stewart, Wild Court Poetry,

“a glorious practical experiment in ways of mediating the natural world in words, through borrowed and invented forms … what lingers, though, is the simultaneously sharp and dreamlike way Sanderson dwells on, and with, the ‘unstated’ – where words are not yet, or are being, lost.” – Helen Boden, Northwords Now

“The landscape of The Sleep Road is that of [Sanderson’s] native Scotland; the language a sprightly range of tones and styles, sometimes rich with literary references and words, and at other times written a stripped back simplicity that recalls a fellow Scot, the minimalist Thomas A Clark.” Tristram Fane Saunders, The Telegraph (Poem of the Week – “Seeking”)

“Old, found objects in The Sleep Road are revealed through physical landscape and the landscape of the poem. The two become forged. In “Hillfort”, for example, the hill is a ‘palimpsest of people’s lives’ and a ‘manuscript / sections of which have not survived.’ … Sanderson is in many ways unearthing a psychology hidden within landscape. Sanderson’s poetry suggests that there is a wisdom to ‘reading’ our external environments like literature; the physical act of walking – not just observing – revealing both our own character and that of the land.” – Nell Prince, London Grip,


That red kite I saw two days ago
from the cottage window
feeling its way over a furrow
in the wind: I know
what it sought in the ebb and flow
of air, in every undertow
and updraft – ready to throw
the rough pasture below
where a mouse might burrow
towards its talons. Let me show
you something else: a cloud’s slow
progress, swaddling the snow
capped Cairngorms, which grow
as the rain falls back. Rimbaud
would have found both E and O
in such a prospect – the stark glow
of the peaks, wrapped in their indigo
grey shawls – and A in a crow
as it swithers to and fro
before setting down, with no
less grace than a noh
artiste, on a fencepost. So
the hand, finding a radio
station, lets the dial go.

By Stewart Sanderson
First published in Anthropocene


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