James Fenton was born in Lincoln in 1949. He was educated at the Durham Choristers' School, Repton and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he won the Newdigate Prize for Poetry. He has worked as a political and literary journalist on the New Statesman; was a freelance reporter in Indo-China; spent a year in Germany working for the Guardian; was theatre critic for the Sunday Times for five years; chief book reviewer for The Times from 1984 to 1986; South East Asian correspondent for the Independent from 1986 to 1988 and a columnist for them until 1995. He is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books. James Fenton was Professor of Poetry at Oxford from 1994 to 1999. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1983 and was awarded the Queen’s Medal for Poetry in 2007.
He is currently writing a collection of unusual biographies called PRIVATE LIVES, and a book about pirates for Notting Hill Press. His Collected Poems YELLOW TULIPS were published by Faber & Faber in June 2012.
Praise for YELLOW TULIPS:
'The 17 recent poems that make up the last section of Yellow Tulips show the development of a compelling poetic voice. Most important, they suggest that there is more to come' Economist
'There's something about the formal tidiness of Fenton's poetry, the dovetailingly precise lines, which, when set beside the violence and moral ambiguities they describe, is satisfyingly unsettling... Aside from the technical virtuosity of his verse and his bravura in the face of daunting subject matter, it's Fenton's ability to meld public and private voices, along with a constant capacity for totally unexpected phrasemaking that most justifies the comparison [to Auden]... he trusts poetry to do the job without plating itself in irony or retreating into mandarinism' Guardian
'If you have little love for recent poetry, wake up and small James Fenton's Yellow Tulips. This fine collection offers mystery and delight, virtuosity, accessibility - and sheer mischief' Independent