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  #1  
Unread 01-31-2021, 02:34 PM
Jane Crowson's Avatar
Jane Crowson Jane Crowson is offline
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Default John Fuller

Hello,
It suddenly struck me that of all the poetry places in the world where people might have heard of one of my favourite poets, this could be the place.

Does anyone else enjoy reading the work of John Fuller?

Here's one of his early poems, 'Fairytale'. I suspect it's not generally considered his best work, but I love it. And the book jacket cover is pretty amazing too so I've also included an image of that for good measure.



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  #2  
Unread 02-01-2021, 04:51 AM
Clive Watkins Clive Watkins is offline
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Dear Jane

At one time I had three collections by John Fuller on my shelves, but they did not survive a cull I conducted about ten years ago. I came to feel that what I took away from his poems was too often not much more than an admiring sense of his formal versatility and wit. For me, the poem you post is an instance.

There are poems by his father, Roy Fuller (1912-1991), that I enjoy more and still return to, particularly some in syllabics from his 1968 collection New Poems.

The other book by John Fuller on my shelves is the most recent edition of his invaluable commentary on the poems of W. H. Auden.

The cover you post is most evocative: The Hogarth Press, which became a Chatto and Windus imprint after the War. In that series I still have Adrienne Rich’s Selected Poems from 1967, Norman MacCaig’s Surroundings (also 1967) and Leslie Norris’s Finding Gold (that too from 1967). What a good year 1967 was! Leslie Norris, a Welshman, who lived in the USA for many years in the latter part of his life, wrote some very fine poems and is perhaps somewhat overlooked these days.

All the best!

Clive

Last edited by Clive Watkins; 02-01-2021 at 05:47 AM.
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Unread 02-15-2021, 03:04 AM
conny conny is offline
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great couplet on that sonnet.

I like Fuller quite a bit, though it makes me wonder exactly
what it is about the nature of the work that endures.

For what it's worth I feel the same about R.P. Lister..
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Unread 02-15-2021, 05:17 AM
conny conny is offline
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in fact, as i like Lister a lot, i thought i'd post this. That kind
of dead-pan jolly formality was alive and well in the 1960's, but
seems to have fallen off the radar. Certainly in the journals,
most of which now seem to take themselves terribly seriously.
Can't see the New Yorker publishing someone like Lister or
Fuller today.

this, by R.P. Lister....

The Snail

The shell is, of the snail, the moving house,
Wherein he walks in dignity and pride;
And when he would be private and carouse
He folds himself about and goes inside.

And there he sits, reflecting on his home,
The masterpiece of his ingenious mind,
A spiral and most convoluted dome,
Fit shelter for his head and his behind.

So he arises in the pearly dawn,
And makes his way at leisure, scorning time,
Across the gravel pathway and the lawn,
Weaving his slender gossamer of slime.

Proud horns bent forward, and his eyes at gaze,
Still bearing like an oriflamme his shell,
And marvelling what little rent he pays
For such a house, that fits his form so well.
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Unread 02-15-2021, 02:15 PM
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Jane Crowson Jane Crowson is offline
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Ooh, thank-you so much, Clive and DaveC for replying.

Clive, I think you're probably right about the dubious merit of the poet within wider narratives. I think I have a particular love of him because it was one of the first poetry books I read (I picked it up secondhand in a library sale as a child because of the cover, not the contents, and the contents thrilled my tiny mind for reasons I can't guess at. Possibly because they weren't in the GCSE curriculum).

That's interesting, too, about his father - I had no idea and will look him up. It is very, very good to find new things to read.

I envy you your other covers. I'm wondering now if they were in different colours. I guess at yes, with one that pale riso pink, and another a mid-blue.

DaveC - I think that's a very useful thought to have, and thank-you so much for sharing the work of R.P Lister. I love the 'spiral and convoluted dome', and the word 'oriflame' (which I will have to look up) and the idea of the snail carousing inside the shell. Maybe it's about age/ entrance points. I don't read that as great poetry now. I think it's pretty and very, very well crafted, but it doesn't grab me. But I bet it might have done when a child.

I wonder if contemporary poetry offers the same entrance points?

Sarah-Jane
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Unread 02-16-2021, 03:45 AM
conny conny is offline
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hi.

i think the answer to that last question is a definite no. the
audience is different these days and there just isn't the demand
for things that there once was. not that good poems aren't being
written, but i guess its like pop music. times change, people change.
most of the journals these days seem to take themselves terribly
seriously because, i suppose, most people, and most poets, seem
to do the same.

Lister has a poetic voice that sounds to me like he's just had at
least 2 glasses of good champagne. If the New Yorker archive
is correct between 1950 and 1973 he had 73 (!) poems published
inside its covers.
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Unread 02-16-2021, 06:41 AM
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Jayne Osborn Jayne Osborn is offline
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Hi Jane,
I have hundreds of poetry books (lots of old ones, and all in alphabetical order, aside from anthologies) but the only ''F''s I have are Robert Frost and James Fenton; on your recommendation I've just bought John Fuller's Collected on eBay. I've always loved his poem Valentine but I'm not familiar with his work generally, so I'll enjoy having him on my bookshelf!

Regarding R P Lister, I was very fortunate to attend a meeting in London some years ago, where a marvellous actor, Donald Pelmear, recited almost the entirety of The Idle Demon from memory, 99% word perfect! I took along my copy and followed Donald as he recited each poem, and afterwards R P (Richard) signed my book, which I treasure. He was very, very frail, but he was thrilled to be present at this event and died not long afterwards, a few months short of his 100th birthday.

(Isn't it simply wonderful to love poetry, and poetry books?)

Jayne
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Unread 02-24-2021, 03:39 AM
Clive Watkins Clive Watkins is offline
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“Isn't it simply wonderful to love poetry, and poetry books?”

Indeed it is, Jayne!

Clive
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