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.
so we sat in the pictures watching Apollo 13 myself 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, but weâ€™re still here in the not-quite-darkness of the soon-to-be-demolished to-make-way-for-a 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 Weâ€™ve Had a Problem that Jim Lovell said or was it Mad Nad itâ€™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, and if I look away does anything I canâ€™t see continue to exist in 2011 as we sit in the retirement complex watching ourselves on the screen myself 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 Gordonâ€™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 watching nothing in the past
in the corner of the bookie's doorway trying to light his fag in the storm
Bearded dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn enters the retro-chic pre-post-revolution Glaswegian restaurant wearing a See You Jimmy hat and sits at a Leninist table and orders a Stalinist pot of tea for one before proceeding to happily pretend to play the piano in accompaniment to the Russian-Jewish-Negro classic Summertime 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! and 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 glass
'A poet of the engaged moment. When you take a walk in a Graham Fulton poem you know youâ€™ve been somewhere and that youâ€™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.'
'A hurtling, disintegrating energy. Enthralling and compellingâ€¦ 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. Fultonâ€™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.'
'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.'
'a collection of refined lyricism... a poet who seems to speak from inside the moment.'