Smokestack Books, 2011
72 pages, £7.95
By the sweat of your brow will you eat until you return to the ground,since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.' These days most of us earn our daily bread sweating over spread-sheets, agendas and unanswered e-mails. There are 10m office workers in the UK, sharing over 200m square metres of office space. White-collar workers are the new proletariat. And yet office work has rarely been the subject of poetry.
Open Plan is a demented elegy to all the minutes, days and years that slip through a hole beneath our tidy open plan desks. Graham Fulton writes with wit and compassion of the world of e-mails, post-its, tea-breaks and sickies, of the little rituals, the red tape and the humdrum flexi hours punctuated by moments of mayhem, of those who are here to stay and those who are just passing through, of the things we need to do to stay sane, just to make it through to the next day. Alice in Wonderland meets David Brent. Office workers of the world unite – you have nothing to lose but your paper-clip chains.
"Terrific. They make Carol Anne Duffy seem antediluvian. This is the proper arena of modern poetry. Read Graham Fulton and sack your boss".
"Open Plan is told in Fulton's characteristic edgy rhythms with that near-nasty dark wit of his. It's a book that offers the office as a prism of a wider social disembodiment, though it is also a portrait with surprising affection".
"I've always been a fan".