One Day in the Life of Jimmy Denisovich

If you don’t want to see fear in a handful of dust, then look away now. How do we control the uncontrollable or reconcile the irreconcilable? Should we accept the world as it is or rebel against it? Whether we choose love or hate, make the law or break it, go mad or snatch brief moments of happiness, we all must cling to someone or something to complete the ‘the me-shaped space’ of our lives. One Day in the Life of Jimmy Denisovich is book of poems about entropy and cruelty, ‘shrapnel heads’ and airport toilets, digestive biscuits and marmalade. It’s a 1970s double album about trying to keep calm in a random and accelerating universe. It’s a mercilessly bleak, blackly humorous contemporary Totentanz of shoplifters, bankers, looters, dead poets and men who can’t tie their own shoelaces.

Sample Poems

Apollo 13

so we sat in the pictures
Apollo 13

and Steven
and Mad Nad

and Steven was a bit of a lad
who liked the ladies
and Mad Nad would soon acquire
a love
for ecstasy heroin and crack,
we’re still here in the not-quite-darkness
of the soon-to-be-demolished
retirement-complex cinema
in 1996
myself and Steven and Mad Nad
and Tom Hanks and
Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon
                    pretending to be
Jim Lovell and
Fred Haise and Jack Swigert
in 1970
and Houston We Have a Problem
although it was actually Houston
We’ve Had a Problem that Jim Lovell
said or was it Mad Nad it’s hard
to remember
if anything

has really happened
at this moment in time,
if anything really existed before
this very moment, this very moment,
if I look away does anything
I can’t see continue to exist
in 2011
as we sit in the retirement complex
watching ourselves on the screen
and Jim and Fred and Jack
who has a huge car parked outside
full of ecstasy heroin and crack,
and Steven had acquired
a love
for black and tan and whisky mac
and I would recently acquire
a love
for Gordon’s gin and low calorie tonic
and unstable modules of thought
in the not-quite-Saturday-night
soon-to-be-demolished unremembered future
where we sit in the slowly shrinking darkness
nothing in the past

The Optimist

in the corner of
the bookie's
trying to light his
fag in
the storm

One Day in the Life of Jimmy Denisovich

Bearded dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn
               enters the retro-chic
         Glaswegian restaurant
wearing a See You Jimmy hat
                       and sits at a Leninist table
and orders a Stalinist pot of tea
for one
proceeding to happily
            pretend to play the piano
in accompaniment to the
     Russian-Jewish-Negro classic
             which is coming out of
the sound system
above his wig
which seems fair enough
                 until the waiter spies him
pouring Whyte and Mackay into
        his Dostoyevsky memorial mug
                and asks him
to leave the premises
to which
he replies
Av ordert a T-bone steak –
                           ji no whit
a T-bone steak is?
followed by
             Don’t touch thi customer!
Ahl fuckin kill yi!
                    before his Marx and Engels chair
is dragged backwards
             and he’s frogmarched
out of the premises
                and onto the pavement
where he stands
             for the next five minutes
sticking out his tongue
               and pressing his face
against the unbreakable
               Vladimir Mayakovsky


'A poet of the engaged moment. When you take a walk in a Graham Fulton poem you know you’ve been somewhere and that you’d like to take a stroll again in the same company. There are poems here that invigorate like a hard walk across the fells or a run from the law. Funny as fuck, too.'

Tom Pickard

'A hurtling, disintegrating energy. Enthralling and compelling… crackling with drama and humour. There's more flickering excitement, emotion, ingenuity and other hard to pin down special effects in this poetry than most movies I've seen recently. Fulton’s lyrics are some of the true treasures of contemporary poetry in Scotland.'


'Terrific. They make Carol Ann Duffy seem antediluvian. This is the proper arena of modern poetry.'

Alan Dent

'a Mayakovskian slap in the face of public taste... reminds us of the timeless belligerence of a stuck-out tongue.'

Glasgow Review of Books

'very funny... poetry books don't sell well, but it would be gratifying to see this one becoming the exception.'

Glasgow Herald

'a collection of refined lyricism... a poet who seems to speak from inside the moment.'

The Recusant