Ursula Askham Fanthorpe Poems

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Ursula Askham Fanthorpe
Ursula Askham Fanthorpe (born 1929 in Kent) is a significant English poet. She was educated in Surrey and at St Anne's College, Oxford, where she received a first-class degree in English language and literature, and subsequently taught English at Cheltenham Ladies' College for sixteen years. She then abandoned a respectable salary for jobs as a secretary, receptionist and hospital clerk in Bristol, after training as a counsellor; this experience pitchforked her into poetry. Her first volume of poetry, Side Effects, was published in 1978. She was 'Writer-in-Residence' in Lancaster from 1983–'85, and after that, Northern Arts Fellow at Durham and Newcastle. In 1994, she became the first woman in 315 years to be nominated for the post of Professor of Poetry at Oxford. In 1987 Fanthorpe went freelance, giving readings around the country and occasionally abroad. Many of her poems are for two voices, and in her readings, the other voice is that of Bristol academic and teacher R. V. (Rosie) Bailey, who has also been her partner for many years. Her nine collections of poems were published by Peterloo Poets; her Collected Poems came out in 2005. Fanthorpe is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and was made CBE in 2001 for services to poetry. In 2003 she received the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.

not my best side
 
 
I

Not my best side, I'm afraid.
The artist didn't give me a chance to
Pose prop... [read poem]
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