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James Fenton's Profile

Brief about James Fenton: By info that we know James Fenton was born at 1949-04-25. And also James Fenton is British Poet.

Some James Fenton's quotes. Goto "James Fenton's quotation" section for more.

I've not been a prolific poet, and it always seemed to me to be a bad idea to feel that you had to produce in order to get... credits. Production of a collection of poems every three years or every five years, or whatever, looks good, on paper. But it might not be good; it might be writing on a kind of automatic pilot.

Tags: Bad, Good, Writing

If you're writing a song, you have to write something that can be understood serially. When you're reading a poem that's written for the page, your eye can skip up and down. You can see the thing whole. But you're not going to see the thing whole in the song. You're going to hear it in series, and you can't skip back.

Tags: Whole, Write, Writing

In my opinion, it is easier to avoid iambic rhythms, when writing in syllabics, if you create a line or pattern of lines using odd numbers of syllables.

Tags: Create, Opinion, Writing

In song the same rule applies as in dramatic verse: the meaning must yield itself, or yield itself sufficiently to arouse the attention and interest, in real time.

Tags: Real, Song, Time

In the writing of poetry we never know anything for sure. We will never know if we have 'trained' or 'practised' enough. We will never be able to say that we have reached grade eight, or that we have left the grades behind and are now embarked on an advanced training.

Tags: Enough, Poetry, Writing

'Love' is so short of perfect rhymes that convention allows half-rhymes like 'move.' The alternative is a plague of doves, or a kind of poem in which the poet addresses his adored both as 'love' and as 'guv' - a perfectly decent solution once, but only once, in a while.

Tags: Love, Perfect, Short

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. When it's a question of typography, why not? Poets have done beautiful things with typography - Apollinaire's 'Calligrammes,' that sort of thing.

Tags: Beautiful, Done, Poetry

Metrics are not a device for restraining the mad, any more than 'open form' or free verse is a prairie where a man can do all kinds of manly things in a state of wholesome unrestrictedness.

Tags: Free, Mad, State

Modernism in other arts brought extreme difficulty. In poetry, the characteristic difficulty imported under the name of modernism was obscurity. But obscurity could just as easily be a quality of metrical as of free verse.

Tags: Free, Poetry, Quality

My feeling is that poetry will wither on the vine if you don't regularly come back to the simplest fundamentals of the poem: rhythm, rhyme, simple subjects - love, death, war.

Tags: Death, Love, War

No poet is required to write in stanzas, or indeed in regular forms at all. Coleridge's 'Dejection: An Ode' has a rhyme scheme and sequence of long and short lines that goes without regular pattern, following the mood and whim of the poet. Such a form is known as an irregular ode.

Tags: Goes, Short, Write

Poetry carries its history within it, and it is oral in origin. Its transmission was oral. Its transmission today is still in part oral, because we become acquainted with poetry through nursery rhymes, which we hear before we can read.

Tags: History, Poetry, Today

Rhyme is a mnemonic device, an aid to the memory. And some poems are themselves mnemonics, that is to say, the whole purpose of the poem is to enable us to remember some information.

Tags: Purpose, Remember, Whole

Some of my educated Filipino friends were aspiring poets, but their aspirations were all in the direction of the United States. They had no desire to learn from the bardic tradition that continued in the barrios. Their ideal would have been to write something that would get them to Iowa, where they would study creative writing.

Tags: Friends, Study, Writing

Some people think that English poetry begins with the Anglo-Saxons. I don't, because I can't accept that there is any continuity between the traditions of Anglo-Saxon poetry and those established in English poetry by the time of, say, Shakespeare. And anyway, Anglo-Saxon is a different language, which has to be learned.

Tags: Learned, Poetry, Time

Sometimes I have thought that a song should look disappointing on the page - a little thin, perhaps, a little repetitive, or a little on the obvious side, or a mixture of all of these things.

Tags: Sometimes, Song, Thought

The 1960s was a period when writers in the West began to be aware of the extraordinary eloquence and popular attraction of the Russian poets such as Yevtushenko and Voznesensky - oppositional figures who could draw crowds. The Russian poets recited from memory as a matter of course.

Tags: Matter, Memory, Popular

The basic rhymes in English are masculine, which is to say that the last syllable of the line is stressed: 'lane' rhymes with 'pain,' but it also rhymes with 'urbane' since the last syllable of 'urbane' is stressed. 'Lane' does not rhyme with 'methane.'

Tags: Last, Pain, Since

The iambic line, with its characteristic forward movement from short to long, or light to heavy, or unstressed to stressed, is the quintessential measure of English verse.

Tags: Forward, Light, Short

The iambic pentameter owes its pre-eminence in English poetry to its genius for variation. Good blank verse does not sound like a series of identically measured lines. It sounds like a series of subtle variations on the same theme.

Tags: Genius, Good, Poetry