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.
In addition to three volumes of poetry, Tatum’s poems have been published in a wide variety of journals and small press magazines – his important Outposts poems from 1960 are reproduced in this collection, for instance; plus, his programme, Poems to Sundry Notes of Jazz, was broadcast on BBC Radio 3. ‘My only other claim to fame,’ says Tatum, ‘is that my grandmother came from the same village as Gunter Grass!’
Towards an Unknown Fiction is published in conjunction with Tatum’s An Explosion of Skittles – New (Collected) Poems 2000 – 2019, both available now from Waterloo Press (2020).