John Stammers was born in London in 1954. His first collection Panoramic Lounge-bar (Picador, 2001) won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2001, was shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Award 2001, and was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. A second collection Stolen Love Behaviour (Picador, 2005) was a Poetry Book Society Choice. It was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize 2005, and the Forward Prize for Best Collection 2005. He won third place in the 2009 National Poetry Competition.
Stammers teaches creative writing at Birkbeck College, University of London and the City Lit. He has edited Magma poetry magazine and also writes on contemporary art. In 2002/03 he was appointed Judith E. Wilson Fellow at the University of Cambridge. He is convenor of the British and Irish Contemporary Poetry Conference.
Originally from Islington, North London, where he still lives, Stammers had long been a poetry reader but only took to writing it frequently in his 40s, joining Michael Donaghy’s inspirational City University poetry group. His lively work has attracted attention for its lilt and sheen, and its takes on romance de nos jours, with August Kleinzahler noting that Stammers writes “some of the most memorable love poetry of his generation”. He has also written several poems on popular music and cinematic themes.
He employs various modes of parlance: joshing, plaintive, self-mocking, and peppers his poems with jargon and those words from other languages which have entered his own lexicon. The New York School (O’Hara in particular) is a notable influence on his poetry, but Stammers also has a delicate side and his collections see him making leaps from the fabulous to the pastiche to taut formal pieces.
Stolen Love Behaviour, Picador, London 2005
Buffalo Bills, Donut Press, London 2004
Panoramic Lounge Bar, Picador, London 2001
Interior Night, Picador, London, 2010
John Stammers’ home page
John Stammers interview
Conversation between John Stammers and Paul Farley