Born in England in 1949, James Fenton was educated at Oxford University, where he won the Newdigate Prize for Poetry. His first published collection of poems won him the Eric Gregory prize in 1972, at the age of twenty-three. A recipient of the Southern Arts Literature Award for Poetry and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, Fenton was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1983. From 1994 to 1999, he was the Birkhead Professor of Poetry at Oxford, a post previously held by Matthew Arnold, W.H. Auden, and Seamus Heaney (and currently occupied by Paul Muldoon).
Farrar, Straus and Giroux has published several of Mr. Fenton’s books, including his first American collection, Children in Exile: Poems 1968-1984 (1994); Out of Danger (1994), his first new collection since 1984; Leonardo’s Nephew (1998), a collection of his essays on art; The Strength of Poetry: Oxford Lectures (2001); A Garden from a Hundred Packets of Seed (2002); and An Introduction to English Poetry, a short guide to metrics and versification hailed by Eric Ormsby in The New Yorker as “the book” on poet technique.
Fenton is also a freelance political and literary journalist, was a correspondent in Southeast Asia during the 1970’s and 1980’s. He covered the end of the fall of fall of Saigon for The New Statesman and later reported on the rise of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. He has written from Germany for The Guardian, was a theater critic at The Sunday Times, and chief book reviewer for The Times (London). He is a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books. www.jamesfenton.com