British poet and jazz musician Roy Fisher was raised in Birmingham, England, and educated at Birmingham University. Describing Fisher’s exploratory, Modernist-influenced poetic style in a review of his Selected Poems for Poetry, poet Daisy Fried noted: “Sometimes prose, sometimes lineated, they are dense except when they aren’t, restless except when still, improvisational in feel inside a kind of nonce formal rigor.” Fisher lived in Birmingham until his early 40s, and much of his poetry is deeply engaged with the geography of that city. In an interview with John Kerrigan for Jacket magazine, Fisher talked about the influence of place on his poetics: “[T]he landscape has come, with the passage of time and changes in my understanding, to moralise itself under my eye, without any nudging from me. I read it as a record of conduct as well as something subjectively transfigured.”
Fisher’s numerous collections of poetry included City (1961), A Furnace (1986), which was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, The Dow Low Drop: New and Selected Poems (1996), and The Long and Short of It: Poems 1955–2005 (2005). The first American edition of his work was his Selected Poems (2011). His work was included in the New Penguin Book of English Verse (2000) and the Anthology of Twentieth-Century British and Irish Poetry (2001).
Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2005, Fisher also received the Andrew Kelus Poetry Prize, the Cholmondeley Award, and the Hamlyn Award.