Graham Fulton uses memory, observation, and invention to create a heady linguistic soup that uses poetry to make sense of the world; there's compassion here, and anger, and a burning desire to illuminate places that don't often get the poetic torch shone on them. Read and enjoy.’
Graham Fulton is a well-known figure on the Scottish poetry scene with nine critically acclaimed full-length collections, and over fifteen pamphlet collections, to his name, many of which combine poetry, photography and illustration. His work has been widely published in magazines, anthologies, newspapers and online journals in Europe and the USA. He runs Controlled Explosion Press, an independent small press publisher in Scotland.
He's been writing poetry and performing poetry since 1987 when he joined the Paisley Writers' Group run by Tom Leonard, and was a founder member of the influential Itinerant Poets performance and publishing group which included Jim Ferguson and Bobby Christie.
His first major collection of poems was Humouring the Iron Bar Man published by Polygon in 1990, followed by Knights of the Lower Floors in 1994. His work has been broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland and Scottish Television.
He was on the editorial board of the important and popular West Coast Magazine in the early 1990s, and was joint winner of the prestigious Scotia Bar First of May Poetry Prize in 1992. He has also received three Scottish Arts Council bursaries.
I've admired Graham Fulton's work since I first heard it: his mix of tenderness, adrenalin, razor clarity and dynamism, as rare as it is potent, just sings. This is poetry got right to the heart and the head at the same time. It's just poetry got right. Brilliant.’
Always an individualist and never part of the the Poetry Establishment in Scotland, Graham Fulton is renowned for his intense, energetic and entertaining readings, and has read his poetry live from Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow, Scotland, to Los Angeles in California.
Other major collections include Open Plan, Full Scottish Breakfast, Upside Down Heart and Reclaimed Land. Since 2014 his published books include One Day in the Life of Jimmy Denisovich from Smokestack Books, Photographing Ghosts from Roncadora Press and Continue from Penniless Press Publications. His newest books are Brian Wilson in Swansea Bus Station from Red Squirrel Press in 2015 and Paragraphs at the End of the World from Penniless Press Publications in 2016.
Other important recent publications and projects, outwith his main collection output, that Graham has been involved with include Look Up Glasgow, a glossy coffee table book about Glasgow architecture published by Freight Books. Scottish Cats: An Anthology of Poems edited by Hamish Whyte and published by Birlinn Books. A Bird is Not a Stone, an anthology of Palestinian Poetry translations, published by Freight Books.
He is married to the painter Helen Nathaniel-Fulton.
Graham is also co-author of Pub Dogs of Glasgow, Pub Dogs of London and Pub Dogs of Manchester, all published by Freight Books.
He was also commissioned to write one of the poems that were used to help promote the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
"My poetry is about people. I am particularly interested in observations of 'normal' life, often beginning with a humdrum detail or incident and working outwards".
"The big and the small become one, and what seems insignificant can be transformed when isolated and magnified. The ordinary becomes extraordinary, personal feelings become universal. There's a thin line between comedy and tragedy, beauty and ugliness, sadness and sanity. It's all interchangeable".
"I work in free verse, which I find gives my voice discipline and focus. My poetry has a distinct, controlled rhythm, which is very apparent during a reading. However, for me, it's vital that the poem works on the page first of all. When that is achieved, the live performance will then take care of itself".
"My poems have always been very cinematic with a strong use of vivid imagery, so projects involving photography were a natural development. Many of the same themes that appear in my writing also occur naturally in the pictures, and I'm currently developing a number of visual ideas for publication in either CD or book form, as well as collections combining harmonious poems and photographs".
"I've learnt from a small group of poets, some from Scotland and the rest of Europe, some from America, all separated by decades and oceans but unified in their celebration of the astonishing world of the ordinary as well as their attitude and approach to writing. Find your own way and say what you have to as truthfully as you can".