The Long and the Short of It (new edition): Poems 1955-2010
Published by Bloodaxe Books
This new expanded edition of The Long and the Short of It covers 55 years of Roy Fisher's poetry. Playing the language, pleasuring the imagination and teasing the senses, Fisher’s witty, inventive and anarchic poetry has given lasting delight to his many dedicated readers for over half a century. Choosing this book on Desert Island Discs, Ian McMillan praised Fisher as 'Britain's greatest living poet'.
The Long and the Short of It draws on the entire range of Fisher’s work, from its fraught beginnings in the 1950s through major texts of the 1960s and 1970s such as City, The Ship’s Orchestra and ‘Wonders of Obligation’, to A Furnace, his 1980s masterpiece, and and then the later work set in the scarred and beautiful North Midlands landscape where he has lived for the past 30 years, notably the Costa-shortlisted Standard Midland (2010), which has been added to this expanded edition.
"Fisher stands outside, or alongside, whatever else is happening, an English late modernist whose experiments tend to come off. He is a poet of the city – his native Birmingham, which he describes as 'what I think with'. He is a redeemer of the ordinary, often a great artist of the visible… His range is large: he suits both extreme brevity and book-length exploration; his seeming improvisations have a way of turning into architecture. The best place to start is The Long and the Short of It. It might look and sound like nothing on earth at first, but then it becomes indispensable."
Sean O'Brien, The Guardian
"There is no poet... whose work has challenged or interested me more."
"The personality that emerges from Fisher's poetry, for all his influences, is altogether English: ironic, humorous, self-deprecating and unpretentiously local."
"A poet of cities in growth and in dereliction…His knowledge of urban landscape is formidable, and expressed with an originality of touch which makes these poems, at their best, revelatory."
"Fisher’s fineness lies in the extraordinary, intimate communication he achieves. He accomplishes this through the medium of a sophisticated, well-mannered art…a real respect for his own and his reader’s individuality."
"Anyone who doubts that contemporary poetry can be intellectually and formally daring without being strictly for lecturers and fanatics should read this book."
William Wootten, The Guardian