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Roy Fuller: Writer and Society
When Roy Fuller died in 1991, there was a wide consensus of opinion: he was among the finest poets of his time, a novelist of importance, a man whose multi-stranded career -- literary, cultural, professional -- was distinguished and exemplary. It was agreed that he had been undervalued; he never quite, in his self-deprecating phrase, 'caught on'.
Early in 1990 Neil Powell approached Roy Fuller with a proposal to write a 'literary biography' -- revaluing the work in the context of the life -- and received Fuller's blessing. Drawing on unpublished letters and journals and on all the published writing, Roy Fuller: Writer and Society provides the first coherent, integrated account of an astonishing life's work. All the books of poetry are discussed, with close readings of vital individual poems; and the novels receive sustained attention. A fascinating and at times hilarious story of his other careers unfolds: as provincial schoolboy, solicitor's clerk, law student; wartime Navy radar engineer in England and East Africa; post-war solicitor and legal director of Woolwich Building Society; Oxford Professor of Poetry, BBC Governor, Chairman of the Arts Council Literature Panel. This book offers an authoritative study of a major writer and a portrait of a wise, wry, complex and likable man.
Awards won by Neil Powell Winner, 2017 East Anglian Writers Book by the Cover Award (Was and Is) Winner, 2017 East Anglian Book Awards (for Poetry)
(Was and Is)
'Like ordinary people, poets long to be loved. But all that is necessary is that they should be understood.'
Roy Fuller Praise for Neil Powell 'Throughout there are poems to and for friends and yet, paradoxically, Powell has the air of an outsider, solitary and watchful.'
D A Prince, the North
''Neil Powell's Was and Is: Collected Poems gathers together a lifetime of walking, seeing, reading and rhyming the landscapes of eastern England, and in particular the coast of Suffolk. The author's world of friends and books has a wide historical horizon, haunted by literary ghosts from George Crabbe to W.G. Sebald. This is a rich book full of the light of the changing seasons, the rhythms of weather and sea, and the little details of human life that add colour to every corner of these skilful, evocative, and painterly poems.''
Dr Jeremy Noel-Tod (UEA), Poetry judge of the 2017 East Anglian Book Awards
'His poetry has a rewarding range and depth, though memory and our ambivalent handling of memory is what he is best at. He is an elegiac poet, and in some ways a more valuable poet of loneliness than Larkin. Any younger reader who hasn't yet cottoned on to Powell should find this carefully considered 'Collected' rewarding: his is a quiet insistent voice at the heart of the tradition.'
'Neil Powell's poems are lucid, elegant, formal and humane .'
'An exceptional poet of place, and of the East Anglian coast in particular: Neil Powell's Selected Poems thoroughly defines the peculiar atmospheres of that bleak landscape and seascape...'
We thank the Arts Council England for their support and assistance in this interactive Project.
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