Open Plan

'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.

Sample Poems

dark matter

the lights are asleep
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
a space
           waiting to be filled
and the holes
to be black

food chain

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

alien nation

Tony Loony
         takes a
well–earned break
committee deadline reports
    and lifts the lid
of the scanner
          slaps his face
down on the glass
and happily
           to scan
         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.'

Janice Galloway

'I've always been a fan.'

Liz Lochhead

'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.'

Richard Price

'Sardonic, sharp-witted poems... very good indeed.'

Other Poetry

'Terrific. Read Graham Fulton and sack your boss.'

Mistress Quickly's Bed