Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Poems from the Backroom 100: Graham Fulton

Apologies are due to the poet Anne Fitzgerald who was due to appear, but whose video poem fell into a previously undetected #plaguepoems sink hole. Hopefully we will still feature it in the few days that are left in the project.

There’s something about working for the cooncil that brings out the quirky and surreal in a poet: maybe it’s a stark contrast to the routine. Look at Brian o Nolan and his mad anarchic worlds. “The rhythm of poetry and the routine of work are interdependent for some poets” said another council employee, Daniel o Driscoll. Graham Fulton has combined a 30 year stint with Paisley Council with a career as a poet, publisher, pamphleteer, live performer, artist, photographer and local historian.

During that time he has developed a huge body of work, unsurpassed I would suggest by any contemporary Scottish writer, seventeen full length collection and fifteen pamphlets of poetry as well as a myriad of publications on other topics, like local history, architecture, cats, dogs, you name it. His bibliography is a poem in itself. Although his first collection was published by Polygon in 1990, the vast bulk of his writing has taken place and been published outside the mainstream. He has been very much his own man with his own style - everyday subjects revealing universal truths with an accompanying and ambushing humour.

Recent book publications include 'Circulation' from new Paisley-based publisher Clochoderick Press, 'Something Good Will Always Happen' from Penniless Press Publications, and 'Flesh and Stone', a book-length poem about Loch Craignish and Kilmartin Glen in Argyll, from Controlled Explosion Press. 'Glitches of Mortality' from Pindrop Press was published at the end of 2018.
 In 2020 a collection called 'Chips, Paracetamol and Wine' is being published by Smokestack Books, and in the last three months during lockdown he’s written a 200 poem sequence called 'Coronaworld' which should also hopefully be published this year. 

Here he is reading three poems from 'Coronaworld':

His website, biography, bibliography and links:

Profile and More poems on SPL site:

Great bus poem!:


someone made a quick film
of a young roe deer
with its cute horns
at the junction of
Buchanan Street
Bath Street
at six in the morning

nothing else awake
except a landing pigeon
and the worker who saw it
from the doorway
of Sainsbury’s

it probably came
from the Necropolis
about three quarters
of a mile away
to see what’s happening
with the human race

city of the dead
city of the living

it’s listening
outside a Rolex shop
but it’s not wearing a watch
and doesn’t have any money
to buy one

it’s a wonderful world
it isn’t afraid

I wouldn’t hang around
for too long little deer

run all the way
home to the gravestones

the two-legs
are coming back

everything seems just to be
the way it will always be
getting the dinner ready
putting food in the oven
opening tins
selecting cutlery
taking food out of the fridge
putting food back in the fridge
looking out the window

at someone else walking
the pavement
leading a dog
everything seems
in the sun

out there

in the sun
people are dying in
their hundreds all the time
not far from here
theatres of horror
exhaustion pain
everything seems
replayed replayed
mortuary morgue
devotion care
families unable to say
goodbye I love you
no end
it’s like it’s just going
to go on and
everything seems to be
replayed replayed
mortuary morgue
you have
to be sane
you have to be the same
the way it will always be

fun-packed Government-
endorsed instructions
are available
showing us how to
make our own
Covidbuster facemasks
the sleeve of a shirt
a piece of fabric
covered in the pattern
of the Overlook Hotel carpet
in The Shining

or a dissected bra
with plunge or full cup
being utilised
to accommodate
the shape of the available face

if that isn’t convenient
then a pair of
soiled underpants
will suffice

a big sweaty
Rab C. Nesbitt simmet
with lots of holes

Here’s Johnny!

just breathe normally

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