John Fuller

(1 January 1937 / Kent, England)

Biography of John Fuller

John Fuller poet

John Fuller is an English poet and author, and Fellow Emeritus at Magdalen College, Oxford.

Fuller was born in Ashford, Kent, England, the son of poet and Oxford Professor Roy Fuller, and educated at St Paul's School and New College, Oxford. He began teaching in 1962 at the State University of New York, then continued at the University of Manchester. From 1966-2002 he was a Fellow and tutor of Magdalen College, Oxford; he is now Fellow Emeritus.

He has published 15 collections of poetry, including Stones and Fires (1996), Now and for a Time (2002) and the recent Song and Dance (2008). Chatto and Windus published a Collected Poems in 1996. His novel Flying to Nowhere (1983), a historical fantasy, won the Whitbread First Novel Award, and was nominated for the Booker Prize. In 1996 he won the Forward Prize for Stones and Fires and in 2006 the Michael Braude Award for Light Verse. He has also written collections of short stories and several books for children. His poem Ship of Sounds, illustrated with a wood engraving by the artist Garrick Palmer, was published in 1981 in an edition of 130 by Gruffyground Press.

In 1968, John Fuller established the Sycamore Press, which he ran from his garage. The Sycamore Press published some of the most influential and critically acclaimed poets of the latter half of the twentieth century, such as W. H. Auden, Philip Larkin and Peter Porter. In addition to these established authors, the Press sought to promote younger poets, many of whom have gone on to achieve great success. The Sycamore Press ceased operations in 1992, and is an excellent example of a British small press, publishing for motives other than profit. John Fuller and the Sycamore Press (Bodleian Library, 2010) includes an interview with John Fuller and personal reflections by Sycamore Press authors about Fuller, the press and the works it produced. The book also includes a bibliography of the pamphlets and broadsides Fuller produced.

John Fuller is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

John Fuller's Works:


Fairground Music (1961)
The Tree that Walked (1967)
Cannibals and Missionaries
Epistles to Several Persons
The Mountain and the Sea
Lies and Secrets
The Illusionists(1980)
Waiting for the Music
The Beautiful Inventions
Selected Poems 1954 to 1982
Partingtime Hall (with James Fenton)
The Grey Among the Green
The Mechanical Body
Stones and Fires (1996)
Now and for a Time (2002)
Collected Poems
The Solitary Life (Clutag Press, 2005)
The Space of Joy (2006)
Song and Dance (2008)


Flying to Nowhere
The Adventures of Speedfall
Tell It Me Again
The Burning Boys
Look Twice
The Worm and the Star
A Skin Diary
The Memoirs of Laetitia Horsepole


A Reader's Guide to W.H. Auden (1970)
The Sonnet
Who is Ozymandias? and other puzzles in poetry (2011)

For children

Herod Do Your Worst (1968)
Squeaking Crust (1970)
The Spider Monkey Uncle King
The Last Bid
The Extraordinary Wool Mill and other stories
Come Aboard and Sail Away

As editor

The Chatto Book of Love Poetry
The Dramatic Works of John Gay
The Oxford Book of Sonnets
W.H. Auden

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The things about you I appreciate may seem indelicate:
I’d like to find you in the shower
And chase the soap for half an hour.
I’d like to have you in my power and see you eyes dilate.
I’d like to have your back to scour
And other parts to lubricate.
Sometimes I feel it is my fate
To chase you screaming up a tower or make you cower
By asking you to differentiate Nietzsche from Schopenhauer.

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