Publ. in Sphinx on-line pamphlet reviews 12. (2010)
Six substantial lyrics in a fine chapbook: typeface is discreet but clear and on
quality paper inside an embossed cover. A pleasing way to sample Fuller’s mixture
of mock-didactic, fantasy, and too-straight-to-be-serious but nevertheless informative
observation. A sequence impressive both in its parts and total impact.
I’m glad to be reminded of this poet’s unerringly crafted ‘light’ verse: the lightness
of an easy surface which is not superficial in intent. Its varieties of form and
rhyme scheme always feel integral to a unique, complex purpose. I delight in Lear
and Carroll but can’t stomach shellfish, an ambiguity resolved for me by the way
the iridescent surface of this work celebrates, sometimes with hymnlike solemnity,
edible maritime shelled creatures: crab, limpet, mussel, lobster, turtle, sea-urchin.
I can’t resist quoting an extended epic simile for the lobster’s lordly progress:
As chobdars obdurate in
Their noble masters’ cause
Take besoms of bright straws
In the prompt discipline
Of sweeping from the public street
Urchins assembling at their feet
So the lobster keeps
The sea bed clear before him:
The creatures can’t ignore him,
But lurch in panic heaps
Before the silent Fee-Faw-Fum
Of his serrated bulldog thumb.
Each creature is approached with a specific angle, verse form and zany narrative
context: the crab only comes in after lengthy innuendos about our defenceless anatomy;
the turtle is the victim of hunters and cookery buffs; and each poem is distinctly
flavoured with quizzical, jocular, whimsical comments on shell-beings’ relations
with and contrasts to a greedy, gormandising, deluded humankind, which is: surprise,
surprise… all part of far-sighted providence or remorseless fate.(More reasons for
In ‘The Trumpet addresses the Limpet’ two objects whose assonance is all they have
in common are looked at (as if it’s a natural process) to develop contrasts between
an instrument that denotes action or physical endeavour and a creature of passive
resistance, and only through one valve! But the final twist after mock-epic reflections
on a ‘grim grandma’ and her grotesque appetite is that limpet and man also have much
Each in our shelly wigwam hides,
Fast in our purpose, though contentious;
Daily are nourished by the tides
That duly drench us.
Our one illusion is a sport,
That what we gain will somehow last,
Our little empire a mere thought
Of what has passed.
Notice a tonal and rhythmic hint of hymnody in these stanzas !