A First Study of the Poetry of U.A. Fanthorpe
By Eddie Wainwright
U.A. Fanthorpe is one of England's best, most popular, and prolific poets, who is renowned for her moving and entertaining readings. This first study is by the recently retired Principal Lecturer in English at Bristol Polytechnic, now main reviews editor for the leading poetry magazine Envoi. It considers, in a progressively detailed way, U.A. Fanthorpe's themes, concerns, and poetic procedures in five Peterloo volumes from Side Effects (1978) to Neck-Verse (1992), but gives special attention to Selected Poems (Penguin, 1986) which is set 'A' level text. Aimed at teachers, students, and poetry lovers, Taking Stock includes: a bibliography, reviews extracts, an interview with and an autobiographical sketch by, U.A. Fanthorpe.
Interview with U.A. Fanthorpe (extract):
EW: Are you at all aware of what motives you as a writer (or do you prefer not to know)? What 'sin to you unknown dipped you in ink', as Pope put it? And are you aware of having "developed" as a poet (or do you agree with Wilde as quoted by Larkin, 'Only mediocrities develop'?): or is this one for me rather than you?
UAF: I'm aware of having different things brought to my attention - life moves me around, like a chess piece. In Side Effects it was the poser of structure in a hospital, and sort of broken, forgotten things (canals, folksong, and so on). In Standing To, this continued, but death and dreams entered too - and the idea of "standing to", which appears in the last poem there. In Voices Off I entered the different world of S. Martin's, Lancaster, and of France; and I was just beginning to see things to say about the condition of women. Watching Brief has a lot of women and writers and love, and perhaps Neck-Verse is about words and word-users. As for "development" in any other way, I just try to modify the way I write to fit what's coming out. Perhaps this is one for you! Something else I could say about motivation: I feel the need to rectify, to correct the balance if I feel things are unfair. Also to find the balance, to strike the balance (whether this is a sin unknown or the experience of living in a legal household, I leave you to assess). If I have any objectives, it's to bear witness , to say, "I have seen this, and no one else was there looking at that precise moment"; especially perhaps on behalf of the dispossessed. In order to write I have to concentrate. And concentrate is a form of love.
Price £6.95 per copy post free.
Publication: JULY 1995 (64 pages laminated paperback)