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Iguana Days

John Fuller: Poem

18 December 2003
... We have seen this pebble before Though three feet under. From year To year it changes position. The sea dwindles its contours But not to my brief eye In a mere decade of watching. Stone keeps its secrets. Its smoothness is a ruse To content us with surface. At the heart of stone is pure Concentration, which life Is foolishly in love with. We believe that the stillness comes From its exact possession Of a truth that is lost to us ...

Pyrosymphonie

John Fuller

30 November 1995
... You and I, when our days are done, must say Without exactly saying it, goodbye. If we could choose at such a time one free Embodiment which might, by being the last, Stand in the account somehow as one Generous entry putting the whole in credit, What and where would it be, that final choice? There are times such as when we have had them Must serve in their completeness for the fancy, For they are all we get ...

Excellent Enigmas

Christopher Reid

24 January 1980
Lies and Secrets 
by John Fuller.
Secker, 70 pp., £3.50, October 1980, 0 436 16753 0
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Crossing 
by John Matthias.
Anvil, 125 pp., £3.25, October 1980, 0 85646 035 4
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Growing Up 
by Michael Horovitz.
Allison and Busby, 96 pp., £4.95, October 1980, 0 85031 232 9
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Report to the Working Party. Asylum. Otiose [preceded by] After 
by Anthony Barnett.
Nothing Doing, 121 pp., £4.80, August 1980, 0 901494 17 8
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... different kinds of inability to act: these are the overt themes of many of the poems in John Fuller’s inventive new volume. The title, Lies and Secrets, does not belong to any one poem, but is a warning that no statement found in the book should be relied on either for straightforwardness or for a disclosure of the whole truth. Stories are ...
7 February 1991
Spanner and Pen: Post-War Memoirs 
by Roy Fuller.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 190 pp., £16.95, February 1991, 1 85619 040 4
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... Seven years ago Roy Fuller published the third volume of his memoirs, which covered his life up to the end of the war. Reviewing it in this journal, I lamented his decision to stop there and called for a continuation, ‘all about the Woolwich, the Arts Council, the BBC and Oxford, with incidental observations on the conduct of the young, the remembered follies of youth, the tiresome defects of old age, and so forth ...

Textual Harassment

Nicolas Tredell

7 November 1991
Textermination 
by Christine Brooke-Rose.
Carcanet, 182 pp., £12.95, October 1991, 0 85635 952 1
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The Women’s Hour 
by David Caute.
Paladin, 272 pp., £14.99, September 1991, 0 586 09142 4
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Look twice 
by John Fuller.
Chatto, 255 pp., £13.99, October 1991, 0 7011 3761 4
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... of character in fiction; David Caute harks back to the Sixties and the heyday of radical hopes; John Fuller conjures a world in which stories can still enchant. But these novelists are all, in their respective ways, nervous about the power of fiction to enthrall, and they live on the frontiers of representation, constantly checking their ...

Staggering

Frank Kermode

2 November 1995
Roy FullerWriter and Society 
by Neil Powell.
Carcanet, 330 pp., £25, September 1995, 1 85754 133 2
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... One of Roy Fuller’s ‘Quatrains of an Elderly Man’ is called ‘Poetry and Whist’: How enviable Herrick’s Fourteen hundred lyrics!   Though, as the Scot complained when they dealt him all The trumps, a lot of them were small. The envy seems unjustified, for Fuller must have written far more than 1400 lyrics – indeed there are more than that in the Collected Poems of 1985, with dozens more to come ...

Homer’s Skill

Hugh Lloyd-Jones

2 September 1982
Homer, Iliad XXIV 
by Colin Macleod.
Cambridge, 161 pp., £15, March 1982, 9780521243537
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... Eliot himself provided, if not a commentary, useful notes upon The Waste Land, and an Oxford don, John Fuller, has written an excellent commentary on Auden’s poems. In the case of a text written in an ancient language, a commentary is particularly useful. The Greeks themselves had started to write commentaries on Greek poems as early as the fourth ...

Sex’n’Love

Blake Morrison

21 February 1991
The Chatto Book of Love Poetry 
edited by John Fuller.
Chatto, 374 pp., £13.99, August 1990, 0 7011 3453 4
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The Faber Book of Blue Verse 
edited by John Whitworth.
Faber, 305 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 571 14095 5
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Self-Portrait with a Slide 
by Hugo Williams.
Oxford, 62 pp., £5.95, June 1990, 0 19 282744 8
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The Virago Book of Love Poetry 
edited by Wendy Mulford.
Virago, 288 pp., £6.99, November 1990, 1 85381 030 4
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Erotica: An Anthology of Women’s Writing 
edited by Margaret Reynolds, foreword by Jeanette Winterson .
Pandora, 362 pp., £19.99, November 1990, 9780044406723
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Daddy, Daddy 
by Paul Durcan.
Blackstaff, 185 pp., £5.95, August 1990, 0 85640 446 2
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... exclusively male in the way the other two are exclusively female). Love, for one of the editing Johns, is, at its least feigning, shy, sly, dry, delicate, subtle, gentle and sensitive, and he confesses himself happy to do without ‘misogynist satire, self-congratulation, smut’. He has left these to the other ...

Eyes and Ears

Anthony Thwaite

23 June 1988
The Silence in the Garden 
by William Trevor.
Bodley Head, 204 pp., £9.95, June 1988, 9780370312187
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Sea Music 
by David Profumo.
Secker, 207 pp., £10.95, May 1988, 9780436387142
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Tell it me again 
by John Fuller.
Chatto, 202 pp., £10.95, April 1988, 0 7011 3288 4
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The Continuing Silence of a Poet: The Collected Short Stories of A.B. Yehoshua 
Peter Halban/Weidenfeld, 377 pp., £11.95, June 1988, 1 870015 14 2Show More
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... Trevor’s Tom and David Profumo’s James are simply – or not quite simply – innocents. John Fuller’s Hugh Howard, in Tell it me again, is much older – in his late forties – but acceptably an innocent abroad. Abroad is America. Hugh is an English composer, talented and successful, but a bit of a cold fish. In this sense, ...
2 February 1984
Come aboard and sail away 
by John Fuller.
Salamander, 48 pp., £6, October 1983, 0 907540 37 6
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Children in Exile 
by James Fenton.
Salamander, 24 pp., £5, October 1983, 0 907540 39 2
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‘The Memory of War’ and ‘Children in Exile’: Poems 1968-1983 
by James Fenton.
Penguin, 110 pp., £1.95, October 1983, 0 14 006812 0
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Some Contemporary Poets of Britain and Ireland: An Anthology 
edited by Michael Schmidt.
Carcanet, 184 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 85635 469 4
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Nights in the Iron Hotel 
by Michael Hofmann.
Faber, 48 pp., £4, November 1983, 0 571 13116 6
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The Irish Lights 
by Charles Johnston and Kyril Fitzlyon.
Bodley Head, 77 pp., £4.50, September 1983, 0 370 30557 4
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Fifteen to Infinity 
by Ruth Fainlight.
Hutchinson, 62 pp., £5.95, September 1983, 0 09 152471 7
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Donald Davie and the Responsibilities of Literature 
edited by George Dekker.
Carcanet, 153 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 9780856354663
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... thing, start doing poetry and prose that is nothing but ‘poetry’ and ‘prose’. This is what John Fuller’s new rhymes for children are: they announce their literariness and children can no doubt admire it, for in this context they know, like older readers on the poetry scene, what is proper to it. But Walter de la Mare’s line ‘Who ...
16 September 1982
Pea Soup 
by Christopher Reid.
Oxford, 65 pp., £4.50, September 1982, 0 19 211952 4
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... to ornament with appropriate curlicues the exposition of order and harmony in a poem like Sir John Davies’s Orchestra. In what might be called the new decorated style, or modern Elizabethan, the decoration has become an end in itself, serving only to embellish the sense of time passing, water dripping, bells ringing, clothes flying on the line. There is ...

Poles Apart

John Sutherland

5 May 1983
Give us this day 
by Janusz Glowacki, translated by Konrad Brodzinski.
Deutsch, 121 pp., £6.95, March 1983, 0 233 97518 7
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In Search of Love and Beauty 
by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.
Murray, 227 pp., £8.50, April 1983, 0 7195 4062 3
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Listeners 
by Sally Emerson.
Joseph, 174 pp., £7.95, April 1983, 0 7181 2134 1
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Flying to Nowhere 
by John Fuller.
Salamander, 89 pp., £4.95, March 1983, 0 907540 27 9
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Some prefer nettles 
by Junichiro Tanizaki, translated by Edward Seidensticker.
Secker, 155 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 436 51603 9
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The Makioka Sisters 
by Junichiro Tanizaki, translated by Edward Seidensticker.
Secker, 530 pp., £9.95, March 1983, 0 330 28046 5
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‘The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi’ and ‘Arrowroot’ 
by Junichiro Tanizaki, translated by Anthony Chambers.
Secker, 199 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 436 51602 0
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... than Emerson could reasonably have expected when she wrote it. Flying to Nowhere is announced as John Fuller’s ‘first work of adult fiction’. It rather comes at the reader from all directions. The author is best-known as an English poet, the narrative is set in Wales with a strong folkloric element, and its publication is subsidised by the ...

Diary

Frank Kermode: Being a critic

27 May 1999
... got their first chance in that pub. A few of the celebrants are, or have been, English dons – John Fuller, Simon Gray, Dan Jacobson; but even they arrived by what might be called the bohemian route. There are of course other ways in; anybody can see how much space the dons occupy in the respectable papers and magazines. Many moved in by routes that ...

With Slip and Slapdash

Frank Kermode: Auden’s Prose

7 February 2008
TheComplete Works of W.H. Auden. Vol. III: Prose, 1949-55 
edited by Edward Mendelson.
Princeton, 779 pp., £29.95, December 2007, 978 0 691 13326 3
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... in the opening chorus of The Dog beneath the Skin. These poems belong to a time when Auden was, as John Fuller puts it, ‘unafraid of magnificence’. Many years later, when he had repudiated that sort of magnificence, he discovered that he needed Collett again, and, after a successful search for a copy of The Changing Face of England, wrote ‘In Praise ...

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