Poems by U. A. Fanthorpe
U.A. Fanthorpe, who was born in Kent in 1929, was educated at Oxford and for many years taught at Cheltenham before becoming a ‘middle-aged drop-out’. She now works full-time in a Bristol hospital and lives in Gloucestershire. Her first volume, Side Effects (Peterloo, 1978) has sold out in a first edition of 1,000 copies. It was acclaimed by reviewers:
‘. . . a new and original voice in English poetry: clear, distinctive, and remarkably assured . . . Side Effects, beautifully produced and a pleasure to handle, is the most accomplished first book of poems I have come across in several years. Quite simply, it demands to be read.’
Charles Causley / Arts South West
‘. . . a consummate, a mistress of what she’s doing.’
Anthony Thwaite / Critics’ Forum, BBC Radio 3
‘I look forward to more of these scathing or tender poems.’
Alan Brownjohn / Encounter
Standing To includes ‘Rising Damp’, the poem that won U.A. Fanthorpe 3rd Prize in the massive Observer/Arvon/South Bank Show poetry competition in 1980, and many of the poems that she read to an enthusiastic audience at the 1981 Cheltenham Festival of Literature.
‘I feel as if I am in a forward zone or trench. I am a lay person in a professional world, and because of this I’m invisible, not really there. That’s very akin to the common soldier. People react very strangely when they come to hospital. Perhaps the relatives refuse to come in but sit in the car park, or the patient arrives in tears or has a fit. You are exposed to extremes, and you have to be ready in the same sort of way as a soldier. I think they call it “standing to”.’
Ursula Fanthorpe / Gloucestershire and Avon Life
This was the moment when Before
Turned into After, and the future’s
Uninvented timekeepers presented arms.
This was the moment when nothing
Happened. Only dull peace
Sprawled boringly over the earth.
This was the moment when even energetic Romans
Could find nothing better to do
Than counting heads in remote provinces.
And this was the moment
When a few farm workers and three
Members of an obscure Persian sect
Walked haphazard by starlight straight
Into the kingdom of heaven.
Price £3.00 / £4.50 / £7.50 per copy post free
Cover illustration: ‘Caporal Maurice Empereur of the Chasseurs Alpins on Guard in the Little St Bernard’s Pass at Seez, Tarantaize, France’ by Anthony Gross R.A. (Courtesy of the Trustees of The Imperial War Museum).
Publication: DECEMBER 1982 (96 pages laminated paperback / hardback / signed ltd hardback)