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Loose Change by Tina Fulker

A tribute selected and edited by Richard Peabody

A Bogg free-for-postage pamphlet (32pp)
Bogg Publications 1995
cover photo by David Minckler

TINA FULKER
(b. 3 July 1954, London-d. 10 July 1992, London)

I first encountered Tina's poems in Bogg, and it was John Elsberg who was responsible for my eventual correspondence with her. I printed some of her poems in Gargoyle and looked for her in every British publication I encountered. John had known her for years, having first corresponded with her back in 1972 when she was a teenager editing Moonshine. And looking back at her involvement in the small press scene even at that young age, you can already spot the name poets and writers who were drawn to her--Paul Berry, George Cairncross, Andy Darlington, John Elsberg, Pete Faulkner, Paul Lamprill, Steve Sneyd, and Dave Wright.

In November 1980 I published a collection of her poems entitled Jukebox (a number of those poems are included in this chapbook). She'd had a couple of chapbooks out previously--Skylight and Mascara--but nothing really substantial, so the need was there. Our first meeting took place in May 1981 in front of the Virgin record shop at Marble Arch in London. Tina came to the U.S. in March 1984, did a mini reading tour in the Washington area, including gigs at the Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland (where she read with Bill Holland and Arthur and Kit Knight), at the Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore (where she read with Leslie F. Miller and Jean McGarry), in Brad Strahan's Visions series at the Art Barn (where she read with George Myers Jr., Rick Wilson, and Greg Nelson), and at Irene Rouse's book shop in Alexandria, Virginia.

She won over everybody she met, stayed with, or read with, and we managed to drag her into the Sonic Images recording studio to do an interview and to put some of her poems down on tape, with instrumental backing by Zenon Slawinski, John Ramo, and John Mogayzel. David Minckler filmed the entire session. We released the result, a half-hour audio cassette--Tender Hooks--in 1986. The planned video was never completed because we were always hoping to get Tina to come back to this side of the pond but sadly never got the chance. However, people in Ohio saw part of the video in 1986 on "Wordsworth," a public TV show.

Tina was interviewed by Grace Cavalieri for her "Poet and the Poem" radio show, and left a lasting impression. Another interview appeared in a short-lived local magazine called Alph-Null. The transcript of the video interview was printed in Gargoyle #27.

For a long time it appeared that Peter Townshend, the Who's guitar genius who'd become an editor at the British publisher Faber & Faber, might publish a collection of Tina's prose, but it never happened. In recent years, Tina worked as a part-time children's librarian, read stories to school classes, and took courses in Contemporary Studies at London University. The last letter I received from her, in March 1992, mentioned her hope for a possible return trip to the States that would include visits to San Francisco and D.C. in September of that year.

By the time I learned from my London editor and friend Maja Prausnitz that Tina was in the hospital, she'd already passed. She died at 6:45 a.m. on 10 July 1992. Her sister Moira took Tina's ashes home to Tipperary, and she was buried with her grandmother. She was of English/Irish descent.

On 9 November 1992 a tribute reading was held in Tina's memory at the Poetry Society, Covent Garden, London. Most of her friends in the U.S. couldn't make that event, but we will always miss her vibrant personality, her easy laughter, and moving poems. We wanted to do something to pay tribute, and this chapbook is our effort, however limited, to try to capture at least some of her indomitable spirit. We wanted to print some of her prose pieces here as none exist in either of her two books. We also decided not to duplicate anything from Gash! (published by John Harvey's Slow Dancer Press in April 1992) in the hope that people would seek that volume out for themselves.

We miss you Tina. We always will.

Richard Peabody


This untitled poem was published as a broadside by the Turret Bookshop a few days before Tina's death. It's the last poem in the pamphlet.

*

I am a river that's overflowed
a door that's trying to push itself open
a room that's too small, trying to find some space
the litter on the street that's not collected
a city that's overpopulated
a stranger that's trying to get to know someone
I am all the trains that have been cancelled
a station where no trains stop
a slow car in a fast lane
a driver without a license
a high-rise skyline
a crowd that's pushed and shoved
I am a money making system
an overdraft that's trying to clear itself
a debt that's trying to get into credit
a breakdown in economy, rising costs
I am the additives in everything we eat
the pollution in the air
a disposable product that can't be disposed of
an empty bottle of Coca-Cola from a Warhol print
the blood from the cut on my daughter's hand
a pennywhistle stand, that's gone out of tune
I am the first in the queue, last in the line
a school without any teachers
a hospital without any beds
a sea that's lost its beach
a country that's lost its land
a sky at night without any stars

If you wish to obtain a copy try:

Bogg Publicatons
422 N. Cleveland SDt.
Arlington, VA 22201 USA

Or
31 Belle Vue St.
Filey
N. YorkshireYO14 9HU
England


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