Ursula Askham Fanthorpe

[U. A. Fanthorpe] (22 July 1929 – 28 April 2009 / London)

Biography of Ursula Askham Fanthorpe

Ursula Askham Fanthorpe, CBE, FRSL (22 July 1929 – 28 April 2009) was an English poet. She published under the form U. A. Fanthorpe.

Born in south-east London, the daughter of a barrister, Fanthorpe was educated at St Catherine's School, Bramley in Surrey and at St Anne's College, Oxford, where she received a first-class degree in English language and literature, and subsequently taught English at Cheltenham Ladies' College for sixteen years. She then abandoned teaching for jobs as a secretary, receptionist and hospital clerk in Bristol – in her poems, she later remembered some of the patients for whose records she had been responsible .

Fanthorpe's first volume of poetry, Side Effects, was published in 1978. She was "Writer-in-Residence" at St Martin's College, Lancaster (now University of Cumbria) (1983–85), as well as Northern Arts Fellow at Durham and Newcastle Universities.

In 1987 Fanthorpe went freelance, giving readings around the country and occasionally abroad. In 1994 she was nominated for the post of Professor of Poetry at Oxford. Her nine collections of poems were published by Peterloo Poets. Her Collected Poems was published in 2005. Many of her poems are for two voices. In her readings the other voice is that of Bristol academic and teacher R. V. "Rosie" Bailey, Fanthorpe's life partner of 44 years. The couple co-wrote a collection of poems, From Me To You: love poems, that was published in 2007 by Enitharmon.

Fanthorpe died, aged 79, on 28 April 2009, in a hospice near her home in Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire.

Fanthorpe was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and was made CBE in 2001 for services to poetry. In 2003 she received the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. In 2006 she was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Letters) from the University of Bath.

PoemHunter.com Updates

Not my Best Side


Not my best side, I'm afraid.
The artist didn't give me a chance to
Pose properly, and as you can see,
Poor chap, he had this obsession with
Triangles, so he left off two of my
Feet. I didn't comment at the time
(What, after all, are two feet

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