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U. A. Fanthorpe (Ursula Askham Fanthorpe) Biography

(1929– ), (Ursula Askham Fanthorpe), Side Effects, Standing To, A Watching Brief, Neck-Verse, Selected Poems

poems college clerk hospital

British poet, born in Lee Green, London, educated at St Anne's College, Oxford. In 1954 she entered school-teaching, becoming Head of English at Cheltenham Ladies' College in 1962. She resigned in 1970 in order to further her writing, becoming, in her own words, ‘a middle-aged drop-out’; she took temporary jobs and later worked as a clerk in a Bristol hospital. She held an Arts Council Writer's Fellowship between 1983 and 1985 and became Northern Arts Fellow at the Universities of Durham and Newcastle in 1987. Her first full collection, Side Effects (1978), rapidly gained her a considerable reputation for the assurance, originality, and wryly incisive intelligence her work consistently displays. Further volumes include Standing To (1982), A Watching Brief (1987), and Neck-Verse (1992). Fanthorpe's poems often form compellingly developed and sensitively observed treatments of everyday events and situations. Her work as a hospital clerk is the source of numerous poems in which an ironically poised objectivity and a deep compassion combine to great effect. She has also written a number of unusual and sometimes humorously engaging poems reflecting on religious subjects. Selected Poems appeared in 1986.

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