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Beryl Fenton (1926-2009) Dandy Lady (2008)


ISBN 1-902731-37-9


Beryl Fenton’s poetry has a fine ring and polish to it. She engenders a painterly quality on the page, and her highly accessible work resonates with the reader

Wes Magee

Few poets can be both flippant and poetic at the same time – but Beryl Fenton can. It would be too easy to describe her as a surreal Stevie Smith, and while she has some undeniable qualities of that poet – a penchant for pantry anecdotes and a capacity to cock a snook at the most serious of issues – Fenton is very much her own thing and sketches out the canvas of life with sublime wit
Alan Morrison

Beryl Fenton’s first collection is a wrily belated event, for a poet whose work pulses with both qualities. Fenton’s dry-point imagery betrayed her own painting’s surreal intent, as well as its startling richness on occasion. The displacement, Fenton’s inimitable standing back from the most intimate experience, as when she speculated on her late husband’s suit matching the crematory smoke, reveals something else: an unflinching, original voice, typical neither of her generation or any following it.


Beryl Fenton was born in 1926 in Aldbrourne, Wiltshire, and variously worked as an actress (Reading Rep), in wartime offices, and at home ‘writing small poems and painting small pictures’. She lived in Hove until the end of her life. Her paintings have been widely exhibited, including at the Royal Academy of Art.

Of her equally widely anthologized poems, one, for instance, was broadcast as the winning entry for Radio 3’s The Verb Competition in 2004, chosen by Mario Petrucci. Another was selected by Andrew Motion for the Stroke Association’s Bluenose event; another was broadcast by Lavinia Greenlaw.

To read Beryl Fenton's obituary in the Guardian please
click here

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