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William Blake -- Selected Poems

William Blake: Selected Poems

James Fenton has selected the poems for new editions by William Blake and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. To purchase the collections, please visit the publisher's website at They are also available from

The Poetry Archive

Click to purchase this CD from the Poetry Archive Website

Visit Fenton's special Poetry Archive webpage and listen to recordings of him reading the poems 'Wind', 'Blood and Lead', 'Jerusalem', and 'In Paris with You'.

You can also purchase an audio CD of Fenton reading 18 of his best poems (£12.99



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. In 2007, Fenton was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.

He has recently adapted The Orphan of Zhao for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The Orphan of Zhao

James Fenton has adapted The Orphan of Zhao, a Chinese classic sometimes referred to as the Chinese Hamlet. Directed by Gregory Doran for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

In the aftermath of a violent coup, an epic story of self-sacrifice and revenge plays out as a young orphan discovers the shattering truth behind his childhood.

James Fenton writes about his adaptation for the Guardian: "The Orphan of Zhao at the RSC: a very modern massacre," 30 October 2012.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit the RSC website.


Dowd, Vincent., 7 November 2012.

Spencer, Charles. The Telegraph, 9 November 2012.

Hitchings, Henry., 9 November 2012.

Rhodes, Peter. Express & Star, 9 November 2012.

Yellow Tulips: Poems 1968-2011

Yellow Tulips by James Fenton (Faber and Faber, 2012)
Yellow Tulips is a gathering from four decades of work by a writer described by the Observer as 'the most talented poet of his generation'.

Winner of both the Queen's Gold Medal and the Whitbread Prize for Poetry, James Fenton has given readers some of the most memorable lyric verse of the past decades, from the formal skill that marked his debut, Terminal Moraine, to the dramatic and political monologues of The Memory of War and Children in Exile, through to the unforgettable love poems of Out of Danger.

This assembly, made by the author himself, includes a generous offering of his most recent, uncollected work: it is an essential selection by, as Stephen Spender put it, 'a brilliant poet of technical virtuosity'.

(Order direct from Faber and Faber or

John Fuller & the Sycamore Press

John Fuller & the Sycamore Press: A Bibliographic HistoryJames Fenton's earliest poetry was published by John Fuller in his garage in Oxford. John Fuller & the Sycamore Press: A Bibliographic History includes over twenty author contributions recalling John Fuller, his press, and the poetry he published. Fuller provides a foreword and an interview, and each of the publications he produced is featured in a descriptive bibliography. (Order direct from the Bodleian Library, Oak Knoll Press,, or

From the Publisher:

Established in 1968, John Fuller's Sycamore Press published some of the most influential and critically acclaimed writers of the past half-century. In addition to publishing established authors, such as W.H. Auden, Philip Larkin, and Peter Porter, the press sought to promote young poets, many of whom have gone on to achieve great success.

The Sycamore Press ceased operations in 1992, but it remains an excellent example of the unique qualities associated with the small press movement in England. In addition to a full descriptive bibliography, the book includes an interview with John Fuller and numerous personal reflections by Sycamore Press authors about John Fuller, the press, and the works it produced.

View a promotional flyer from Oak Knoll Press.

Ian McEwan on James Fenton
The New York Review of Books

"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


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.

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Last update: 11 November 2012
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