Double Dactyls

Double Dactyls

By John Fuller

Price: £6.00

ISBN: 978-1-910323-93-9

135mmx210mm, paperback, 24pp

After the limerick and the clerihew, the double dactyl: this comic verse form was invented by poet Anthony Hecht and classical scholar Paul Pascal in 1951 and first presented to the public in Hecht and John Hollander’s Jiggery-Pokery: a compendium of double dactyls (NY, Atheneum: 1967). The volume was dedicated to W. H. Auden, one of whose dactylic patter-songs in Paul Bunyan (1941) was curiously prophetic of the form. Auden also used double dactyls in his Æsopean playlets, Moralities, written in 1967. The present collection is intended as a fiftieth anniversary tribute to the form, and the poets who promoted it.

John Fuller, a writer of rare distinction, has published 25 books of poetry, the latest of which are Gravel in my Shoe (Chatto and Windus, 2015), A Week in Bern (Clutag Press, 2015) and The Bone Flowers (Chatto, 2016). The first of his seven novels, Flying to Nowhere (1983) won a Whitbread Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He has worked with the composer Nicola LeFanu (including the opera Dream Hunter in 2012, and The Crimson Bird in 2017) and with the photographer David Hurn (Writing the Picture, Seren Books, 2010). He is the author of W. H. Auden: a commentary (Faber, 1998) and has published several collections of short stories, anthologies, edited texts, and books for children.