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James Fenton photography by Gerrit Serne

Ian McEwan on James Fenton
"There is a strong case to be made that James Fenton is the finest poet writing in English. His technical virtuosity is beyond doubt; his long experience as war correspondent, journalist and traveller has given him an unmatched range of subject matter - war and revolution, the dementia of collective passions, reflections on fate, and love - he has written some of the most beautiful love poems of our times. He is a poet of great emotional depth and wisdom. Increasingly, his work has a strong connection with song. He also has a taste for light verse of exquisite charm and humour. He is a modern master."

-- Ian McEwan, responding to a question from the National Book Critics Circle
 
The New York Review of Books

Fenton frequently writes for the NYRB.

Many of his articles are available on the New York Review of Books websites (some may require subscription).

Visit their website for a list of articles ranging back to 1984.

 


James Fenton was born in Lincoln in 1949 and educated at Magdalen College, Oxford where he won the Newdigate Prize for poetry. He has worked as political journalist, drama critic, book reviewer, war correspondent, foreign correspondent and columnist. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was Oxford Professor of Poetry for the period 1994-99. Fenton received the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 2007, and in 2015 won the PEN Pinter Prize.

Fenton on Duterte and the Phillipines


In December 2016, James Fenton visited the Phillipines to report on Duterte's presidency and the sharp rise in extrajudicial killings. The New York Review of Books published the report in two parts:

"Murderous Manila: On the Night Shift" (9 February 2017)
"Duterte’s Last Hurrah: On the Road to Martial Law" (23 February 2017)


The Milkfish Gatherers


'The Milkfish Gatherers' (The film's director Jay Anania states: "In the late 80's I visited James on a small island just off a town called Infanta on the east coast of Luzon in the Philippines. This is where he had come across the milkfish gatherers.")


 
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