Pauline Stainer is a poet ‘working at the margins of the sacred’, conveying sensations ‘with an economy of means that is breathtaking… her poems are not merely artefacts, they have an organic life of their own’ (John Burnside). As in all her books, the luminous poems of her ninth collection Sleeping under the Juniper Tree are minimal but highly charged – with presences and hauntings, sensing the spirit incarnate in every part of the living world.
‘This haunting collection can be read as a series of brief and yet intense meditations, or, equally, as lightning flashes awarding renewed insights into what might appear familiar, or, equally, mysterious.’ – Martyn Halsall, Church Times
‘…the poetry collection that has stayed in the mind throughout the year is Pauline Stainer’s Sleeping under the Juniper Tree (Bloodaxe): “It was night/the angels glowed like phosphors/but gave out no heat//until that flower in the wilderness/prophecy/sprang from his throat”.' – Hayden Murphy, The Herald (Books of the Year)
‘Stainer conceives the spiritual and communicates with secular simplicity… In this, her second individual volume since the magisterial Selected: The Lady & the Hare (2003), Stainer has found fresh impetus and a singular tone. Her voice revealing “unrelated things singing to themselves”.’ – Hayden Murphy, The Herald [on Sleeping under the Juniper Tree]
‘Stainer’s quiet, exquisite eloquence has often been praised, but what makes her poems distinctive and magical is their scale – polished, crystalline, self-contained like a prism that refracts light and reveals the invisible world… Sleeping Under the Juniper Tree is Stainer’s most electrifying and imaginative book to date.’ – Kit Fan, The Poetry Review
'Sleeping Under the Juniper Tree sees Stainer ploughing the same furrow she's ploughed for nine collections and three decades; the small matter of distilling art, science, history, mythology and loss into tiny poems of luminous stillness.' - Kit Buchan, Poetry London