Poetry: John Stammers | clivejames.com
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John Stammers

John Stammers was born in Islington, where he still lives. As a teacher he has been associated with two Cambridge colleges as well as King's College London, of which he was appointed an Associate after reading philosophy there as an undergraduate. Like Isobel Dixon and Olivia Cole, if making a later start, he was one of several gifted poets who gained from the tutelary example of the late Michael Donaghy, but again like them he has found his own path: in his case, the path of the unexpectedly erudite urban cowboy with a frame of reference ranging from the scabrous to the desolately chic, as if Tristan Corbière were trying to get over an affair with Angelina Jolie. His first collection, Panoramic Lounge-bar, won the Forward Prize in 2001, and immediately attracted a battalion of highly qualified admirers. Slower on the draw, I first encountered his work through a second collection, Stolen Love Behaviour (2005), in which all the poems invaded my memory with their finely cadenced Higher Grunge imagery, several bowled me over, but the one that left me flattened was “The Other Dozier”, the best recent example I know of, from either side of the Atlantic, of Mythical America transmuted into solid magic — a box of tricks with everything that opens and shuts.

Guardian review of the John Stammers collection Interior Night
Cressida Connolly interviews John Stammers for The Telegraph