David Profumo

A Fearsome Dignity

David Profumo tries to talk to James Fenton

James Fullerton is a dirty-minded poet. Over the past eighteen years, he has worked in Oxford, Wales, Germany, America, Cambodia and the Philippines, publishing poetry and prose under the twin pseudonyms of James Fenton and John Fuller. But later this month a volume of his own will at last be published in all its murky brilliance. It will set certain tongues wagging.

Partingtime Hall is a colourful, irreverent mish-mash of pieces, a magpie collection ranging from six limericks about nuns that would have delighted Norman Douglas – the poems, I mean – to the long title work which charts the sexual imbroglio behind the suicide of a rich public-schoolboy. There’s a fantasy about Rommel, E M Forster, and an Egyptian (‘Two Cheers for Tramconductors ‘), a survey of the great ‘Ifs’ of literary history (‘Born Too Soon’), a poem ‘From the Aztec’, and a squib in German that passed right over the head of Muggins here. But from the start it is all most intriguing.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,
    • RT : One of my favourite literary magazines is celebrating 40 years this year. Here is the September edition of… ,
    • 'Now that the Thames is too fast-flowing to freeze, its spirit’s devotees ... have found other climes for their pri… ,
    • 'Bythell glowers past his till at a world in slow free fall.' on the travails of a second-hand book… ,
    • 'It is a scent of animal wrath, of instinctive need, of brutal life which affects the cultured nostrils of our civi… ,
    • 'The day produced countless stories of chance, of people taking one route or another without realising that the dec… ,