The Ladies and Gentlemen of the Dead by Dominic Fisher

The Ladies and Gentlemen of the Dead by Dominic Fisher

An outstanding collection of 53 poems by a writer with a distinct, compelling voice.

This collection of poems explores ways the living and the dead meet – for lunch , in an artwork, on an allotment plot, in the city. We meet poets, artists and others engaged in the struggles and contradictions of their own times, and encounter challenges from our own.

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About the Book

The title of this book might suggest that is a collection of Gothic ghost stories but sorry to disappoint! It is a collection of 53 poems split into four coherent sections. The first section is a series of reflections on life in and around an allotment, including the local wildlife and the hard work involved in nurturing the soil and tending to the plants. The second section is full of thought-provoking imagery about the passage of time and how everything continues to change throughout the constant cycle of life, death and rebirth. Throughout the rest of the book, the poet continues to throw up the idea that the living and the dead are more closely connected than we realise. It is a beautifully crafted collection that explores the complicated dynamics of friendship and loss in an honest and sometimes humorous way. I highly recommend it!

Series: Poetry
Tag: Poetry
Publisher: Chaffinch Press
Publication Year: 2019
ASIN: 1999365526
ISBN: 9781999365523
List Price: €9.99
The Ladies and Gentlemen of the Dead, by Dominic Fisher, is an incredibly well thought-out and even collection, split across four sections: Allotments; Steps; Jet Trails; and The Ladies and Gentlemen of the Dead. The poet addresses universal themes such as life and death, art and nature, grounded in everyday observations: the firm soil of the allotments, the buckets and brushes of the hardware store (‘like offerings to sensible gods’), the sharpness of train colours, and ‘the skylarks climb[ing] up and down their own songs.’ The poet, it seems, stays close to the world around him, casting a clear eye (and ear) on the habitual and the everyday. The contrast between the permanence of art and nature and our own transient lives, built on friendship and memory, growth and nurture, is a tremendous achievement. Memories surface, framed by place and personal connections. There are touching portraits of dead friends and relatives. There are nods to artists and writers, living and dead. History is recalled and mapped to the present. Some of my personal favourites are: ‘Putting the work in,’ ‘Firming the soil,’ ‘Water paper gold,’ ‘1400m from Silver Street,’ ‘Battle of Britain,’ ‘Hardware visitations,’ ‘Lunch with Borges,’ ‘Number 1A,’ ‘Pictures of us that I haven’t got,’ and ‘Dark Albion.’ This is a very readable and thoroughly enjoyable collection. I read it through in one sitting, folding pages on which to return; at the end of my first reading there were more pages dog-eared than not. Really great stuff.
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About the Author
Dominic Fisher

Born in Frome in Somerset, and growing up on a hill just south of Bath, Dominic went to secondary school in Bristol, and wrote poems and climbed trees instead of playing football. After falling off his bike a lot he studied Keats and Coleridge, the blues and psychedelia, the repeal of the Corn Laws, and William Turner. Then Aberystwyth University unwisely let him in to study Art and English. For a time he lived on on the Dyfi estuary in a green railway carriage with a dog called Biggles. In an attempt at adulthood he trained to teach, though continued writing.

His first teaching job was in Turkey, in a munitions factory in Kirrikale then in Ankara. He left in 1980 just in time to miss a coup d’etat but catch an attempted one in Spain. While this was happening he met his wife, a New Zealander, in a small town near Barcelona. She reads his poems to this day. The couple moved to the Bristol area and between them produced a Bristolian who achieved adulthood more convincingly than Dominic did. On their allotment (heavy clay, hard work but fertile) they see foxes, goldfinches in the summer, and sometimes a sparrowhawk. All these creatures get into the poems along with the leeks and beans.

Dominic is widely published in magazines including Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Magma, Brittle Star, Raceme, South Bank Poetry, The Interpreter’s House, and Under the Radar and a poem has also been broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

Dominic won the international Bristol Poetry Prize 2018,