Having recently been presented with the Michael Braude Award for Light Verse by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, it should come as no surprise that John Fuller has already written sixteen collections of poetry – of which Song & Dance might be the most unrestrained and spry in relation to subject matter.
In the opening poem 'Florio Drinking Song,' Fuller enables the reader to immediately jostle with the explicit, by way of celebration and abandonment:
Now Bernard's in front
As he pulls off a stunt
With his palm on her neck and his thumb in her punt
Such self-assured bravado is indeed fabulous to behold, especially when coming from such a wit as Fuller, who later in the poem, substantiates the reckoning by declaring:
Clare out in Cowley and Julie in Leamington
Pounding away on her scabrous old Remington
That Julie's old Remington is 'scabrous,' suggests that she, along with Clare et al, are as wild and as free with the wine (and life) as the protagonist himself.
As the ever so prolific Kurt Vonnegut used to write: 'and so it goes...' Song & Dance embraces a similar persuasion throughout, whereby much of the writing fizzles with the exuberance of lust and longing and life; although 'Song Of Absence' is a veritable pearl of a poem:
The morning has lost its momentum,
The afternoon's nothing to do,
The evening's completely self-centred
And all its assumptions untrue,
But worst is the stillness of night-time,
For ever a quarter-past two
When dwelling on shapes in the darkness
Is no nearer to sleeping, or you.
Song & Dance
By John Fuller
Chatto & Windus - £9.00