Pauline Stainer (born 1941) is an acclaimed English poet. She was born in the industrial district of Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. She later left the city to attend St Anne's College, Oxford, where she took a degree in English. After Oxford she completed an M.Phil degree at the University of Southampton.
Her determinedly neo-romantic poetry explores sacred myth, legend, history-in-landscape, and human feeling—and their connections to the 'inner landscapes' of the imaginative mind. Her choice of subject matter is perhaps partly a reaction to her growing up in the industrial city of Stoke-on-Trent. The compact vividness of her visual imagery is akin to that of the Anglo Saxon riddles, Symbolist poetry, or the work of García Lorca. Reviewers have also detected the influence of Ted Hughes in her work.
She was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship in 1987. She came to public notice with her first volume, The Honeycomb (1989). Her later volumes, Sighting the Slave Ship (1992) and The Ice-Pilot Speaks (1994) led up to her nomination and shortlisting in the Whitbread Poetry Award for her fourth collection The Wound-Dresser's Dream (1996).
Her poetry has won numerous prizes. In 2003 Bloodaxe Books published a summation of her work to date, The Lady and the Hare: New and Selected Poems (ISBN 1-85224-632-4), although this did not reproduce the illustrations that have accompanied some of her poems in book form.
After completing her education she moved to Essex, raising four children. She spent several years on the Orkney island of Rousay, from which came a new book collection Parable Island (1999). She now lives in Hadleigh, Suffolk, England.
- The Honeycomb (1989)
- Little Egypt (1991)
- Sighting the Slave Ship (1992)
- Frequencies (1993)
- The Ice-Pilot Speaks (1994)
- The Wound-dresser's Dream (1996)
- Parable Island (1999)
- A Litany of High Waters (2002)
- The Lady and the Hare: new and selected poems (2003)
- Crossing the Snowline (2008)