Shortlisted for the 2010 Costa Poetry Award
Roy Fisher is known internationally for his witty, anarchic poetry which plays the language, pleasures the imagination and teases the senses. But he is at heart an English Midlander.
In Standard Midland, he confronts and worries at nuances of perception and the politics of understanding. Many of the poems are concerned with landscapes, experienced, imagined or painted, particularly the scarred and beautiful North Midlands landscape in which he has lived for nearly thirty years.
Standard Midland contains work mostly written since his original edition of his Bloodaxe retrospective The Long and the Short of It: Poems 1955-2005 and his texts for the artist's book Tabernacle, his recent collaboration with Ronald King. Publication coincided with his 80th birthday. It has since sold out and been added to the new expanded edition, The Long and the Short of It: Poems 1955-2010 (2012), but the e-book edition is still available.
'Standard Midland is an honest appraisal of what it is possible to say, and what remains to be said, by an artist in old age. It finds Fisher at his most approachable and makes an excellent introduction to this important poet's work.' – Paul Batchelor, Guardian
'Witty, profound and moving meditations on loss and ageing; a wonderfully varied testament to a very English blend of imagination and reserve.' – Costa Poetry Award judges' comment
Roy Fisher: The Long and the Short of It
Roy Fisher reads a selection of poems from The Long and the Short of It: ‘The Thing About Joe Sullivan’ (from 1965), ‘The ‘Entertainment of War’ (1957), 'The Nation’ (1984), ’Talking to Cameras’ (1991), ‘Birmingham River’ (1991), ‘For Realism’ (1965) and ‘It Is Writing’ (1974). Pamela Robertson-Pearce filmed him at his home in Earl Sterndale, Derbyshire, in October 2008. The audio of Fisher playing jazz piano is from Tom Pickard’s film, Birmingham’s What I Think With (Pallion Productions, 1991). This film is from the DVD-anthology In Person: World Poets, filmed & edited by Pamela Robertson-Pearce & Neil Astley (Bloodaxe Books, 2017).