Stephen Keeler

Stephen Keeler was born in the northeast of England. After a thirty-year career in educational publishing and international education, in numerous countries, he moved to the northwest Highlands in 2010 to write and teach creative writing. He won the first Highland Literary Salon Poetry Competition in 2013 and a Scottish Book Trust New Writing Award in 2015. His work is widely published in magazines, online and in chapbooks and has been shortlisted for several prestigious poetry prizes.

Head and shoulder shot of Stephen Keeler, wearing a dark blue tweed jacket and looking towards the camera

Photo: Rob McDougall, Scottish Book Trust


Expeditions »

A digital installation of commissioned poems on artefacts held by the University of St Andrews’ Museum

Thu 5 March - Sun 8 March | 10:00 - 22:00 | FREE | Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Level 2 Foyer


A Quiet Start

Down here, I am not passing the power station
normally moored to the river-bank.

It is passing me,
like a sliding-door closing
on something dull.

A fat man, brick-coloured and rubber-naked,
lies on his back in the streaked window
of a flotsam-green barge, scratching,

free-falling through the novel he is reading
like a bored Amsterdam whore
on a stained quilt.

There is a lift of smoke
and the morning smell of coffee
and stale weed.

A coot seems lost among the reeds,
unaware of the etiquette that
it is too early for frenzy.

A bicycle wheel is a broken rib;
miniature shipwreck –
no bottle.

A plastic bag is
a punctured bladder or
a rogue breast implant.

You can just about not hear the motorway.


Stephen Keeler

From While You Were Away (Maquette Press, 2018)