Fleur Adcock writes about men and women, childhood, identity, roots and rootlessness, memory and loss, animals and dreams, as well as our interactions with nature and place. Her poised, ironic poems are remarkable for their wry wit, conversational tone and psychological insight, unmasking the deceptions of love or unravelling family lives. Born in New Zealand in 1934, she spent the war years in England, returning with her family to New Zealand in 1947. She emigrated to Britain in 1963, working as a librarian in London until 1979. In 1977-78 she was writer-in-residence at Charlotte Mason College of Education, Ambleside. She was Northern Arts Literary Fellow in 1979-81, living in Newcastle, becoming a freelance writer after her return to London. She received an OBE in 1996, and the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 2006 for Poems 1960-2000 (Bloodaxe Books, 2000). Fleur Adcock published three pamphlets with Bloodaxe: Below Loughrigg (1979), Hotspur (1986) and Meeting the Comet (1988), as well as her translations of medieval Latin lyrics, The Virgin & the Nightingale (1983). She also published two translations of Romanian poets with Oxford University Press, Orient Express by Grete Tartler (1989) and Letters from Darkness by Daniela Crasnaru (1994). All her other collections were published by Oxford University Press until they shut down their poetry list in 1999, after which Bloodaxe published her collected poems Poems 1960-2000 (2000), followed by Dragon Talk (2010), Glass Wings (2013), The Land Ballot (2015) and Hoard (2017). Poems 1960-2000 and Hoard are Poetry Book Society Special Commendation while Glass Wings is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.
'Adcock has a deceptively laid-back tone, through which the sharper edge of her talent is encountered like a razor blade in a peach' Carol Ann Duffy, Guardian 'Most of Fleur Adcock's best poems have something to do with bed: she writes well about sex, very well about illness, and very well indeed about dreaming Her imagination thrives on what threatens her peace of mind, and only when she is unguarded can these threats have their full creative effect. Hence the importance of bed: it is the place where the elegant artful barriers that she builds from day to day are most easily over-thrown Throughout her writing life, she has made a fine art from holding on to principles of orderliness and good clear sense; but she has made an even finer one from loosening her grip on them' - Andrew Motion, TLS 'Adcock's reputation has been founded on her spare, conversational poems, in which the style is deceptively simple, apparently translucent...those who see in such poems only flatness are missing the power of a voice which teases both reader and subject' Jo Shapcott, TLS