John Fenton Poetry


There is more than a hint of Jazz in this entertaining anthology. Like the best of music, it is written with passion, and it will take you on a delightful journey.  The poems offer original insights, homespun philosophy and a good many chuckles along the way.
Mike Nock – ONZM
Pianist and composer
 John Fenton’s poems are luminous charms, reminding us of how crucial our internal is, how fleeting the external and how wondrous our present is.
Barney McAll
Pianist and composer
Fearlessly, John Fenton waits to hear the real music, which is heartening, reflects this experience in the creation of his own art form, transcending these abstract emotions we happily call ‘language’.
Ron Samsom
Drummer, composer, Course co-ordinator Auckland University Jazz School

The anthology of John Fenton’s poems titled ‘Dancing Between The Notes‘ is published by Xlibris Publishing NZ and details about the launch are listed below. The book is available from the author (recommended for those in New Zealand) as well as being available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Xlibris etc. The softcover price is NZ$24.99 and the eBook price will be $3.99 (there will be a special reduced hardcopy price at the launch).JF

The publication has been a long while in gestation; longer in fact than an Elephant pregnancy. With a push from various musicians and friends, the author got his act together and this volume is the result. Each person’s worldview is coloured by their life experience and in this case, it is the books that the author read, The politics he engaged with, the obscure roads he travelled along and above all the improvised music heard along the way. The book is dedicated to the ‘margin-aliens’ and above all to the musicians.

The author was not university educated and in fact, ran away from school at age 16 after an argument over poetry. He was educated from there on by books and bohemians which is the educational equivalent of being raised by wolves.

You are invited to the book launch on the 28th June 2018, 7:30pm, 4 Poynton Terrace, CBD Auckland (map below). The event will be held at the Audio Foundation, ‘Home of Independent & Adventurous Visions’, It is located in the sub-basement of the Parisian Tie Factory down two flights of stairs (Poynton Terrace is off upper Pitt Street just above the central fire station).

There will be poetry readings merged with music, surprise guests, wine and nibbles. The band is Ron Samsom (drums), John Bell (vibraphone), Grant Winterburn (B3 organ), Michael Howell (guitar). This merging of poetry and improvised music should make for an interesting and adventurous evening.

To order a copy or RSVP – email

Most of these poems were written with specific Jazz tunes playing in my head. As I wrote each poem, the lines sang themselves into fragments, time was displaced and reharmonisation occurred. What started as one thing gradually became another. The other poems were written with the songs of place or the rhythms of the road as a guide.

I wrote as a voyeur, watching life from a safe distance. An eaves-dropper, a margin alien. The links between poetry and improvised music are as ancient as language itself and telling stories in new ways is fundamental to human existence – it is not a choice. I hope that I have captured the essence of the musician’s world in this small anthology and revealed a few ‘marginaliens’ found along the way.

John Fenton 2018.       Member-button

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sample poems


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