Scott Elder



Scott Elder studied at the American University in Paris and the University of Puget Sound.   He lived as a street musician in Paris and London, then worked as a mime artist in France and Portugal before spending twelve years in a Buddhist hermitage in France.  He now lives in Auvergne with his three teenage children. 


Since 2014 his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The RialtoThe New Welsh Review,  Wild Court, Southword Journal, Orbis, The Moth Magazine, Poetry Salzburg, The Interpreter's House, Cyphers, The High Window, Here Comes Everyone, Finished Creatures, Nimrod International, The Antigonish Review, Poetry Scotland, The French Literary Review, Crannog Magazine, Erbacce, Big Muddy, Dream Catcher, Acta Victoriana, Quiddity International, Cake, Sentinel Quarterly, The Journal, The Poetry Shed, Bonnie's Crew, Twist in Time, Eye Flash, Obsessed with Pipework, Ekphrastic Review, Three Drops From a Cauldron, Riggwelter, Morphog, Black Bough Poetry, Anthology of Contemporary Gothic Verse (Emma Press), Anthologies of poems from the Wild Atlantic Words and Poetry Space Competitions, Iamb~Poetry Seen and Heard, Irisi Magazine, York Literary Review, and The Fenland Poetry Journal.


He was a runner-up in the Troubadour International Poetry Prize 2016 and among the winners of the Poetry on the Lake Competition 2021, the Teignmouth Poetry Competition 2019, the Guernsey International Poetry Competition 2018 and the Southport Writers' Circle Competition 2017. His work has been highly commended in the Bristol Poetry Prize 2018, Poetry on the Lake International Competition 2018, Buzzwords Poetry Competition 2018, the Brian Dempsey Memorial Competition 2017, and shortlisted in the Fish Poetry Prize 2017, the Plough Prize 2016, 2017 and 2019, the Erbacce Prize 2019, and longlisted in the National Poetry Competition 2018. 


A first collection entitled 'Part of the Dark' was published by Dempsey & Windle Publishing in 2017.  It may be purchased here:


His debut pamphlet, 'Breaking Away' (2015), may be purchased directly through the publisher:




A second collection will be published in 2023 by Salmon Poetry in Ireland.


For a selection of poems:


For a selection of songs:  







breaking[1]Review of ‘Breaking Away’ by Scott Elder.

Poetry Salzburg Pamphlet Series. ISBN 978-3-901993-52-7

 The qualities that most appeal to me in these poems by Scott Elder are their elusiveness and ambiguity, a mood of absence, an impression that what is not said is as important as the actual. ‘Her only presence is     a painful absence’ describes the woman on a train waving goodbye to her lover but distanced in her imagination so that she is ‘A ghost of herself’, a reflection in the window, her gaze ‘drifting through glass/through the man on the platform’. (Absence). In Esquissethe narrator feels him/herself carried by the spirits of ‘Blackbird, Elk, Wolf, and Swan’ while he measures ‘your absence in dust fall./Every mote on my lid tells its story,/and we listen to each till the heartbeat/ends.’

The title of the collection (and the title poem itself) enhances this impression of intangibility. ‘Wind hissing through a dozen halyards/confirms that somebody’s gone’ says the narrator as ‘A gull floats off in the broken half-light./Then another, and still another.’ (Breaking Away). In another poem we have a man ‘who might be an angel./He seems to be looking this way… I can’t quite piece him together. His look is familiar as scent remembered,/yet something keeps falling away.’ (The Man by the Roadside).

The poems in this pamphlet are lyrical and mysterious. ‘Listen to yourself listening’ says the poet. (Drowning at Sunset).The world depicted is ‘a freeze and a cringe, a fox/in full leap, suspended in time.’ There are images of seagulls, sparrows, feathers, breath and the wind, all dancing, flying, falling – a ‘Winged Stillness’, a finger-tip touch. (Gift of an Artist’).

Elusive, fleeting images – yet there is brutality too in Scott Elder’s poetic world. ‘The kick and bite of a .350 Magnum’ makes ‘a brutal entrance’ (Witness) as it does in the words of Penelope who says ‘When you came into Ithaca/I loaded my gun.’ (Penelope). Throughout, there are references to myths, folk songs, fairy tales, a wealth of symbolism and intriguing surreal touches as in Before the Fallwhere Dumpty sits for hours listening ‘to the whispers of swallows in a dingle dangle dusk.’

Scott Elder’s publication from Poetry Salzburg is rich in subtle, evocative poems. It is the forerunner, I am sure, of a great deal more.

Mandy Pannett


 Scott's poems continue to enchant me with their lyricism, with the fluidity of the language, with their exploration of love, loss, grief, their sadness redeemed by their beauty. These are haunting poems, tending toward the surreal, toward myth or fairytale (a mysterious lady, Humpty Dumpty, Penelope) but grounded in images of the universe: oaks, sunsets, rivers, a swallow, many moons. I am excited that these poems are finding a home in the literary world."

Patricia Fargnoli

"Scott Elder's poems are like impressionist paintings - or subtle sketches in which the subject is glimpsed and then coyly hides, is glimpsed again running through linden trees before ducking out of view once more. These poems are full of mystery and tenderness, with a deftness of touch that takes us from Homer's Penelope to the Isle of Skye, via Humpty Dumpty a .340 Magnum, scarecrows and an enigmatic Finnish woman. They conjure a mood which is tentative and meditative, leading the reader to a place where, in the words of one of his characters, we stand 'at the door, a stranger, // divining the fall, the throw of bones, / coming to know what you knew, // until dusk, too, had inevitably gone.' This is a fragile, beautiful collection which gets better with each reading."

Sharon Black


























You will be disappointed if you want poems to be like crossword clues that can be solved and filled in; there are plenty of enigmas and ambiguities here, and I suspect some are too personal to be easily decoded. Think of them as word-pictures and you will be closer to the mark. I don't know how many are actually ekphrastic poems, but several sound as if they could be, and gain their power by etching an image on the mind.          Sheenagh Pugh