James Fenton

James Fenton

About James Fenton

James Fenton is an English poet, journalist and literary critic, born April 25, 1949 in Lincoln. He grew up in Lincolnshire and Staffordshire, with his father John Fenton, a biblical exegete. He studied in Durham, then in Oxford, and obtained his bachelor's degree in 1970. During his schooling, he already wrote poems, and notably won the Newdigate prize in 1968, which rewarded a poem by an Oxford student. The winning work, entitled Our Western Furniture, addresses the meeting of North American and Japanese cultures.
In 1972, He published his first collection of poetry, Terminal Moraine, which won the Prix Eric-Gregory the following year. Fenton uses the reward to travel to Asia, where he witnesses the end of the Vietnam War, alongside journalist and photographer Elizabeth Becker. Fenton returned to London in 1976, and became a correspondent for the New Statesman, notably with Christopher Hitchens and Martin Amis. His experiences in Vietnam and Cambodia inspired him to write The Memory of War and All the Wrong Places, published in 1982 and 1988 respectively.
In 1984 he won the Geoffrey Faber Prize for Children in Exile: Poems 1968-1984. Fenton met Darryl Pinckney in 1989, with whom he has lived since. He then became a professor at the University of Oxford, from 1994 to 19995. A collaboration then began with Charles Wuorinen: the composer set several of his poems to music, and the poet wrote the libretto of the opera Haroun and the Sea of ??Stories in 2001, which is based on Salman Rushdie's novel.

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