'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, white collar 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.
the lights are asleep and the switched off office is tingling with all the passwords waiting to be changed and the toilets waiting to be flushed and the numbers waiting to be crunched and the clocks waiting to be watched and the systems waiting to be crashed and the bucks waiting to be passed and a space waiting to be filled and the holes waiting to be black
the Serengeti open plan office is sliced into hard little pods which are diced into hard little work stations with all new desks and all old chairs on which we perch in a theoretically ergonomically friendly way with our backs exposed which goes against our need for defensible space in case a lion or wolf decides to hunt us for lunch with only our paper clips and protractors and correction fluid for weapons
Tony Loony takes a well–earned break from creating committee deadline reports and lifts the lid of the scanner slaps his face down on the glass and happily commences to scan it while shoogling his head about to make him look like a Martian from The Outer Limits
'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.'
'I've always been a fan.'
'This is a grimly funny book with Fulton successfully departing from the urban exteriors for which his work up until now has been nervously celebrated. Here Fulton has moved indoors, queasily observing group behaviour among the office furniture. 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.'
'Sardonic, sharp-witted poems... very good indeed.'
'Terrific. Read Graham Fulton and sack your boss.'
Mistress Quickly's Bed