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The Space of Joy
  • Published: 15 November 2006
  • ISBN: 9780701181109
  • Imprint: Chatto & Windus
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 96
  • RRP: $36.99

The Space of Joy



In a series of poems that tell a story, John Fuller contemplates that age-old question of 'Life versus Art'. The verse is both a brilliant pastiche of such great artists as Petrarch, Coleridge and Wallace Stevens, and an exploration of their private lives and craft.

The Space of Joy is a sequence of poems that recounts the endless desire for love (and the failures and compromises that accompany that desire) in a number of writers and musicians who fatally prioritise their art. It begins with Petrarch, who created great lyric poetry out of an impossible infatuation, and moves through Coleridge's self-induced guilt within domestic happiness, Matthew Arnold's disbelief in mutual love, Brahm's self-delusion and the complexities of Wallace Stevens's marriage.

It so happens that both Brahms and Arnold found themselves contemplating their art and their lives in the small Swiss town of Thun, and it is Thun that provides the setting for the wonderful concluding poem of this collection in which Fuller thinks back to his own boyood and his parents' marriage.

If there is any resolution in this sequence of magnificently playful and thought-provoking poems, it is the conviction that while 'poetry may be the only heaven we have', it is life itself that must create the 'space of joy' which art wishes to celebrate.

Shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award.

  • Published: 15 November 2006
  • ISBN: 9780701181109
  • Imprint: Chatto & Windus
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 96
  • RRP: $36.99

About the author

John Fuller

John Fuller, born in Ashford, Kent, is an acclaimed poet and novelist. His collection Stones and Fires (1996) was awarded the Forward Prize; Ghosts (2004) was shortlisted for the Whitbread Award for Poetry; The Space of Joy (2006) was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award, and The Grey Among the Green (1988), Song & Dance (2008) and Pebble & I (2010) were all Poetry Book Society Recommendations. His 1983 novel Flying to Nowhere won the Whitbread First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He has also written collections of short stories and several books for children. He is an Emeritus Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford.

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Praise for The Space of Joy

A work of formal virtuosity

Guardian

Sustained and deeply felt, it is unafraid to create 'The Space of Joy'

Arts & Book Review

Fuller is a wonderfully skilled craftsman and the grace and elegance of his style is at the service of not only a sharp wit and intelligence, but a great depth of feeling

Sunday Telegraph

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