“This pursuit of the optimal way-speed was, I came to realise, in keeping with all that Ian does. In action and speech, he is formidably exact. He exemplifies what Robert Lowell once called ‘the grace of accuracy’ and his poetry too is distinguished by its precision. Minimalist but not gnomic, it extends his commitments both to exactitude and communication. There is no surfeit to it. His poems are short and taut as well-set sails. Poetry represents to him not a form of suggestive vagueness, but a medium which permits him to to speak in ways otherwise unavailable.”
Robert Macfarlane on the poetry of Ian Stephen,
The Old Ways,
Hamish Hamilton 2012 and Penguin, 2013
Ian Stephen was born in Stornoway in 1955 and still lives in that town. He has been publishing poetry and short fiction in many countries since 1979. His poems are gathered in several collections (Dangaroo Press, Polygon, The Windfall Press, Morning Star) and his first selected poems was a parallel text edition in Czech and English (Periplum, Olomouc, 2007). A new selected poems on maritime themes was published in 2016 by Saraband, Glasgow who also published his large-scale novel, A Book Of Death and Fish. His cross-genre history of personal love affairs with boats and the stories and landscapes they have carried him through will be published as Waypoints by Adlard Coles Nautical (Bloomsbury) in 2017.