Peterloo Poets

Poetry Publishers 1972 - 2009

Poems by U. A. Fanthorpe

ConsequencesU.A. Fanthorpe is one of England's best, most popular, and prolific poets who is renowned for her entertaining and moving readings. She was the first woman ever to be nominated for the post of Oxford Professor of Poetry.

All her individual volumes have been published by Peterloo and her Selected Poems- chosen from her first three now out of print volumes - was published by Penguin in 1986. A range of her work is now available on audio cassette: Awkward Subject (Peterloo Poets, 1995) and - with R.V. Bailey - Double Act (Penguin, 1997). Consequences, a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, is U.A. Fanthorpe's seventh individual volume.

'She is a beguiling reader of her own work.'
Helen Dunmore, Observer

'Consequences great and small control this book. U.A. Fanthorpe has a delicious sense of how history is contained in landscape; and of how the unexpected turns of our lives can be consequent on the smallest acts. In 'Burren' we're reminded that a boy can shove his fingers in a rocky crag and discover a king's gold breastplate, 'Like finding love in someone disliked at first'. But the real achievement of the book is a long sequence, Consequences, which is nothing short of a 'state of England' address. Fanthorpe has attained a wisdom, her 'native ghosts' are moments of joy, and she warns of what might befall us all if present choices are not well made. 'Atrocity is what we haven't got used to yet'. At a time when England is concerning herself about the consequences of her history, this poetry is brave and necessary.'
Kathleen Jamie, Poetry Book Society Selector


Against Speech

Harpo's the wittiest Marx. Words are only
For what can be said; silence
Has a better vocabulary.

Disposable the expensive eloquence
Of QCs, DJs, MPs,
Hairdressers, headmasters, hot gospellers, humorists,
Ball-by-ball cricket commentators, consultants,
Voice recognition software from IBM.

O for a tongue-tied muse to celebrate
The steadfast dumbness of dissidents under torture,
The hangdog faces of children who won't perform,
Quakers, clever as fish in a soundless dimension,
Lovers in crowded trains.

But something must be said for the unemphatic
Chat of World Service at four o'clock in the morning,
Of nurses checking at midnight in drowsy wards,
Of parents talking things over together downstairs
When everyone else is in bed. These are
The great protectors; their half-heard patter
Signals All's well; all's well; so far, all's well.


Cover illustration: from The Battle of Bosworth Field by D.T. Williams, Leicestershire County Council, 1973. Photograph by Mick Dolby.
Publication: JULY 2000 (76 pages laminated paperback).
ISBN 10: 1871471834, ISBN 13: 9781871471830.