Literary Birthday – 25 April – James Fenton

Happy Birthday, James Fenton, born 25 April 1949.

James Fenton Quotes

  1. Imitation, if it is not forgery, is a fine thing. It stems from a generous impulse, and a realistic sense of what can and cannot be done.
  2. One does not become a guru by accident.
  3. Generally speaking, rhyme is the marker for the end of a line. The first rhyme-word is like a challenge thrown down, which the poem itself has to respond to.
  4. I prefer writing in the mornings, so to that extent I have a routine. I do reading and other things in the afternoon.
  5. Lyric poetry is, of course, musical in origin. I do know that what happened to poetry in the twentieth century was that it began to be written for the page.
  6. The lullaby is the spell whereby the mother attempts to transform herself back from an ogre to a saint.
  7. The writing of a poem is like a child throwing stones into a mineshaft. You compose first, then you listen for the reverberation.

James Fenton is an English poet, journalist and literary critic. He is a former Oxford Professor of Poetry. He won the 2015 PEN Pinter prize. He is the author of An Introduction to English Poetry.

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 25th April 2016