Humouring the Iron Bar Man

Polygon, 1990
65 pages, £6.95
ISBN 0-7486-6039-9

Part of the process whereby little boys become grown men involves the careful shutting off from the curiosity, hilarity and horror with which children look at the world. This does not happen in the poetry of Graham Fulton: unusual rhythms and miraculous trains of thought bring readers close to the goggle-eyed astonishment and wry seriousness with which this original young poet would appear to view eggs, insects, America, the people, places and strange and sad relationships around his home town of Paisley. This is Fulton's first major collection, bringing together the fruits of several small press publications as well as new work. It is also perhaps the first written-word artefact to tackle, at the level of form, the way perceptions of people and politics are influenced by fast-cut advertising, music, scratch video and other media.

"He has found new angles of perception, new comparisons to draw … a clarity of imagery which will force both a smile of recognition and a start of surprise".

Ronnie Smith, West Coast Magazine

Humouring the Iron Bar Man

From Humouring the Iron Bar Man

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My back
is to the window
I am
in the public house
on foam and torn
behind me from time
to time
into a void of churchy spires
and soft
I think
I know
the barman among the tobyjugs
is dumbly
mouthing the secret words

it is
slightly pouring down outside
and inside I am shaking my
trying hard
to laugh
if I laugh or suggest
a smile
the man in the jacket
squelching beside me
who introduced himself to me nicely
will bash me with an iron bar
my head which will crunch
in front of everyone
for a chat in familiar surroundings
just like he didn't do before
to somebody else he insists
He is
just out of Barlinnie
I am
glancing behind me from time
into a void of churchy blue
and soft
I thought I
so well So wrong


"Here's a poet who explores the world with wit, irony and intelligence … buy this book".

David Crystal, Scratch

"It is some time since I have enjoyed a book of poems and verses so much … he is gloriously articulate in sharing his accumulated street wisdoms".

Hayden Murphy, The Glasgow Herald

"An accomplished first collection … he picks his targets like a sniper, waiting for bland cosiness or slick mediocrity to walk into his sights before opening fire".

Robin Bell, Books in Scotland


Graham Fulton Poetry From Scotland