Roy Fisher Biography
(1930– ), City, The Memorial Fountain, The Thing about Joe Sullivan, Running Changes, A Furnace, Poems
British poet, born in Handsworth, Birmingham, educated at the University of Birmingham. He has held several teaching posts, including lecturer in American Studies at the University of Keele. The imaginative involvement with Birmingham in much of his writing pervades the impressionistic survey of City (1961), his first collection of poetry. Numerous subsequent volumes have included The Memorial Fountain (1967), The Thing about Joe Sullivan (1978), Running Changes (1983), A Furnace (1986), Poems 1955–1987 (1988), and Birmingham River (1994). Each demonstrates Fisher's development of a highly individual modernist idiom: a commitment to the ethos of experimentation in modern American and European poetry is balanced by a fertile sensitivity to the moods and atmospheres of verse in the English tradition. The poetry which results is remarkable for combining intensely objective description with powerful indications of subjective emotion. A keen sense of the absurd is encountered in his occasional oblique satires. He is also noted for his prose poems, collections of which include Metamorphoses (1970) and The Cut Pages (1971). Anne Cluysenaar has remarked that ‘Fisher inhabits a ground of perceptual precisions made taut by a heart-rending, though quiet, sense of inexplicable significance beyond’. He is increasingly recognized as one of the most valuably original British poets to emerge in the post-war era.