Annal: 1994 Whitbread Book Award for Poetry

Results of the Whitbread Book Award in the year 1994.

Book:Out of Danger

Out of Danger

James Fenton

Out of Danger (1994) was Fenton’s first collection of poems in ten years, and the poems in it renew and amplify the qualities of unflinching observation and freewheeling verbal play that made his earlier Children in Exile so distinctive and distinguished.

The poems in this book’s title sequence address the dangers of love, and the love of danger; Fenton proposes that in love, politics, and poetry alike the truth is “something you say at your peril” and yet “something you shouldn’t contain.” Part II of the book, “Out of the East,” is a series of ironical fight songs about political violence— in Manila, the Middle East, Tiananmen Square, and elsewhere. Part III, “Maski Paps,” reveals again Fenton’s celebrated talents for light-verse nonsense. And in “The Manila Manifesto” he turns his gifts loose upon the world of poetry itself in ways that will both enrage and delight.

Out of Danger is refined and daring, jocular and deeply challenging.

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