Roy Fisher has published over 30 poetry books, and has been the subject of numerous critical essays and several studies, including The Thing About Roy Fisher: Critical Essays on the Poetry of Roy Fisher, edited by Peter Robinson and John Kerrigan (Liverpool University Press, 2000), and of The Unofficial Roy Fisher, edited by Peter Robinson (Shearsman Books, 2010).
He has published three books with Bloodaxe. The Dow Low Drop: New & Selected Poems (1996) was superseded by his later retrospective, The Long and the Short of It: Poems 1955-2005 (2005), and followed by his most recent collection, Standard Midland (2010), published on his 80th birthday. His first US selected poems, edited by August Kleinzahler, is due from Flood Editions in 2011.
Born in 1930 in Handsworth, Birmingham, he retired as Senior Lecturer in American Studies from Keele University in 1982. He is a freelance writer and jazz musician, and lives in Derbyshire.
Author photo © Caroline Forbes (The Poetry Archive)
Shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award 2010.Costa Book Awards 2010 Judges' comment: "Witty, profound and moving meditations on loss and ageing; a wonderfully varied testament to a very English blend of imagination and reserve." The Lovereading view... Roy Fisher is known internationally for his witty, anarchic poetry which plays the language, pleasures the imagination and teases the senses. But he is at heart an English Midlander.In Standard Midland, he confronts and worries at nuances of perception and the politics of understanding. Many of the poems are concerned with landscapes, experienced, imagined or painted, particularly the scarred and beautiful North Midlands landscape in which he has lived for nearly thirty years.
Slakki is Old Norse for a shallow depression among hills: 'Not much of a valley. A Slack,' writes Roy Fisher, with typical self effacement. But appearances are deceptive where this Slakki is concerned. Opening with new poems written during his 80s - since his Costa-shortlisted collection Standard Midland (2010) - the book's second section is a gathering of uncollected poems mainly written during the 1960s, though occasionally foreshadowed later in the previous decade, while the third part contains poems, similarly uncollected, written in the 1950s. 'I describe the poems in sections two and three of this book as neglected,' Roy Fisher writes in an afterword. 'I must emphasise that these poems have not been passed over or slighted by publishers, editors or reviewers: indeed my work always seems to me to have had as much attention as it deserved or was likely to get. The neglect has been entirely mine.' Fisher's Collected Poems 1968 from Fulcrum was a carefully constructed volume whose cut down selection was carried over into later retrospectives: 'The cut material was left to lie more or less unexamined again until now.That turn of events furnishes the majority of the neglected items in the present volume. There's an element of what could better be called habitual negligence that also has a bearing.' Peter Robinson produced and ordered the texts of Slakki in response to instructions and advice from Roy Fisher. Derek Slade contributed substantially to composing the notes on sources and earlier appearances of the works gathered here.
When in his seventieth year Roy Fisher published Interviews Through Time (2000), he added and Selected Prose, which meant in effect three pieces: 'Antebiography', 'Roy Fisher on Roy Fisher' and 'Talks for Words'. The enlarged second edition of Interviews Through Time (2013), a volume of interviews only, made it possible for those three pieces to join many others in this first substantial gathering of Roy Fisher's occasional prose writings. An Easily Bewildered Child: Occasional Prose 1963-2013 brings together all his rare autobiographical sketches, the memoirs of his life as a jazz pianist, his tributes to musicians, writers, and painters of various kinds, a number of his book reviews, and comments on classic forebears such as John Cowper Powys, Ezra Pound, the Black Mountain poets, and Basil Bunting. All of these writings, as Fisher notes, 'owe their origins to commissions, suggestions or various forms of pressure from friends'. Together they provide a unique guide to the complex sources and influences on such distinctive works such as City, The Ship's Orchestra, and A Furnace as well as Fisher's oeuvre of individual poems. As Peter Robinson notes in his editor's Introduction, these writings in their various ways provide 'essential aids to those ramblers' who 'choose to stray' among the poetry and imaginative prose of a key contemporary English poet.
This volume contains excerpts from several interviews conducted throughout the author's career and spliced together to form a coherent narrative of his development and his aesthetic. The book closes with two full-length interviews, conducted by Peter Robinson and John Kerrigan. Essential to an understanding of Roy Fisher's work as a poet.
This new expanded edition of The Long and the Short of It covers 55 years of Roy Fisher's poetry. Playing the language, pleasuring the imagination and teasing the senses, Fisher's witty, inventive and anarchic poetry has given lasting delight to his many dedicated readers for over half a century. Choosing this book on Desert Island Discs , Ian McMillan praised Fisher as Britain's greatest living poet . The Long and the Short of It draws on the entire range of Fisher's work, from its fraught beginnings in the 1950s through major texts of the 1960s and 1970s as City , The Ship's Orchestra and 'Wonders of Obligation' to A Furnace , his 1980s masterpiece, and and then the later work set in the scarred and beautiful North Midlands landscape where he has lived for the past 30 years, notably the Costa-shortlisted Standard Midland (2010), which has been added to this expanded edition.
Education in Popular Culture explores what makes schools, colleges, teachers and students an enduring focus for a wide range of contemporary media. What is it about the school experience that makes us wish to relive it again and again? The book provides an overview of education as it is represented in popular culture, together with a framework through which educators can interpret these representations in relation to their own professional values and development. The analyses are contextualised within contemporary, historical and ideological frameworks, and make connections between popular representations and professional and political discourses about education. Through its examination of film, television, popular lyrics and fiction, this book tackles educational themes that recur in popular culture, and demonstrates how they intersect with debates concerning teacher performance, the curriculum and young people's behaviour and morality. Chapters explore how experiences of education are both reflected and constructed in ways that sometimes reinforce official and professional educational perspectives, and sometimes resist and oppose them. Education in Popular Culture will stimulate critical reflection on the popular myths and professional discourses that surround teachers and teaching. It will serve to deepen analyses of teaching and learning and their associated institutional and societal contexts in a creative and challenging way.