This delightful collection brings together the poems U.A. Fanthorpe has been sending out to friends as Christmas cards since 1974. Now readers can enjoy Fanthorpe's yearly output in its entirety, including some previously unpublished poems. Her subject-matter covers a broad range of seasonal characters, from angels to personified Christmas trees, and a variety of styles to match, from moments of beautiful lyricism to the comically touching Gloucestershire foxes begging baby Jesus to visit: 'Come live wi we under Westridge/Where the huntin folk be few'.
Fanthorpe is witty and highly original, rethinking the Christmas story from quirky angles, to create her own alternative Christmas legend - from the cat and sheep-dog left out of the stable, to the wicked fairy's gifts for Jesus. Above all, these poems are celebrations of Christmas joy and love.
U. A. Fanthorpe is one of England's best, most popular, and prolific poets who is renowned for her entertaining and moving readings. In 2001 she was awarded the CBE for services to literature. In 2003 she was awarded The Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.
'U.A. Fanthorpe is a national treasure. A new book from her is always a unique pleasure to be savoured for its truth, disconcerting obliqueness and even more disconcerting directness.'
Liz Lochhead, Poetry Book Society Bulletin
'She is a beguiling reader of her own work.'
Helen Dunmore, Observer
Christmas In Envelopes
Monks are at it again, quaffing, carousing;
And stage-coaches, cantering out of Merrie England,
In a flurry of whips and fetlocks, sacks and Santas.
Raphael has been roped in, and Botticelli;
Experts predict a vintage year for Virgins.
From the theologically challenged, Richmond Bridge,
Giverny, a lugger by moonlight, doves. Ours
Costs less than these in money, more in time;
Like them, is hopelessly irrelevant,
But brings, like them, the essential message
Cover illustration: Nick Wadley, Design: Sutchinda Rangsi Thompson
Publication: MAY 2003 (66 pages laminated paperback) with Enitharmon Press.
ISBN 10: 1871471060, ISBN 13: 9781871471069.