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Previous Publications


Powder on the Wind (2011)



Fools and Mirrors (2009)



Sleeping with Icons (2007)



Travelling Light - Waterloo Sampler No. 12 (2005)


Norman Buller Pictures of the Fleeting World (2013)


ISBN 978-1-906742-58-4


On Powder on the Wind

The best poems ... are direct and powerful... the understated power of the details has a big impact ... the use of unforced, natural sounding language has real force ...The poem At The Auschwitz Factory after Primo Levi is beautifully judged, the description in stanza one summoning up an image of hell on earth.

Smoke drags itself from chimnneys,
vicious whistles cut the morning to shreds
and the crowd of dead faces
inherits the suffering day.

Hugh Dunkerley, The London Magazine

Norman Buller’s Pictures of the Fleeting World signals new departures into more crystallised lyricism, with oriental tints. The double section ‘Studies and Variations in the Japanese’ pays homage to the 18th and 19th century Japanese exponents of Ukiyo-e (wood block prints) – Utagawa Hiroshige, Utagawa Kunisada et al – in a series of exquisite miniatures.

Tributes to past artists explore the psychical landscapes of Rembrandt, Turner and Matisse through appreciation of some of their most expressive paintings: ‘she is formed deep from/ his cave of desiring,/ lingering odalisque/ ghost in the mind’ (‘Matisse and the Dancer’). This sensibility ripens in the sublime ‘Edgar Degas’, depicting the ‘painter as eunuch’, while his studies of bathing women frame figurative peepholes which compromise the viewer as voyeur.

There is a Munchian quality to elliptical portraits such as ‘Daisy in the Garden’, and the Picasso-themed ‘Weeping Woman’: ‘a handkerchief grinds/ in her frenzied teeth.// Her face is collapsing’. Aphorisms on ephemerality are couched in Audenesque meditations: ‘memories/ outlive graves/ yet die with their possessor’ (‘A Garden Remembered’).

Buller’s metier dovetails between themes of mortality and vitality; even virility, as in the Lawrentian ‘Nevermore’: ‘Observe the motif, labia wide,/ and see the risen phallus slide/ between those ever-open jaws’. In ‘The Cave’, a rare self-portrait from a poet who normally shies from introspection, Buller triumphs with a trope which might be an epitaph for the poetic species as a whole: ‘‘I write for myself and the/ hypothetical other’’. Pictures of the Fleeting World is as its title suggests: a gallery of richly captured moments.


Norman Buller was born and grew
up in Birmingham, England. He
was educated at Fircroft College in
Birmingham and St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge, where he read

He became one of the Cambridge poets of the early 1950s and his verse appeared in magazines
and anthologies alongside that of
Thom Gunn and Ted Hughes.

From the mid-1950s for about twenty-five years Buller wrote very little. His occupation was in careers advisory work at the universities of Sheffield, Queen’s Belfast and Birmingam. While at Belfast he took part in Philip Hobsbaum’s creative soirée alongside Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley et al, but throughout that time published just one pamphlet, Thirteen Poems, in 1965.

Buller flared into print 30 years later
with a pamphlet Travelling Light
(Waterloo, 2005). Three full volumes
followed: Sleeping with Icons
(Waterloo, 2007), Fools and Mirrors
(2010), and Powder on the Wind (2011), all highly praised by critics
such as William Oxley, Roland
John and Will Daunt in journals such as Envoi, Poetry Salzburg Review and Acumen.

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