John Tatum

John Tatum – An Explosion of Skittles: New (Collected) Poems 2000 – 2020 (2020)


This collection is now published alongside Tatum’s Toward an Unknown Fiction – Collected Poems 1948-1999 (Waterloo Press 2020), bringing Tatum’s readers up todate with his acclaimed work.

In addition to three volumes of poetry, Tatum’s poems have been published in a wide variety of journals and also small press magazines, and his programme, ‘Poems to Sundry Notes of Jazz‘, was broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Born in Edinburgh 1933 of English and mixed European parentage, Tatum has written poetry and stories over the past seventy years. He also paints watercolours, and plays the trumpet.

Tatum’s inspirations include trees and the English countryside; quiet, traditional pubs, Morris dancing and village cricket, alongside his fondness for baroque music and modern jazz. His published stories are mostly science fiction or comedies of English life. Poetic influences are mainly Thomas Hardy, Edward Thomas, Philip Larkin and other poets of the ‘English line’. However, he says his desert island book would probably be by P.G. Wodehouse.

ISBN: 978-1-906742-97-3 Category: Tag:

Praise and Poems

An Explosion of Skittles is troublingly fine, ritually obsessive, even charming. But always unique. At his best, Tatum startles into the most unforgettable poetry.

Recently, Tatum’s poetry has focused on slant truths of recall, creative forgetting, fresh disturbances wincingly turned over. Under the guise of walking into cul-de-sacs Tatum faces oblivion in a blank driveway.

Simon Jenner, Waterloo Press

‘Rare to find a poet with a theme – it’s good that you are still writing poetry, and that it is so personal’

Edward Lucie-Smith

‘They are, at their best, admirably direct and clear’

Christopher Reid

‘A marvellous collection of poems’

Alan Carter (Quantum Leap)

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