Bolam, Robyn 1953-
Bolam, Robyn 1953-
Born October 20, 1953, in Newcastle upon Tyne, England; daughter of Charles Hall (a carpenter) and Margaret Ann (a nurse) Bolam; married Michael Lomax (a lecturer), August 27, 1974 (divorced, December, 1999). Ethnicity: "English." Education: Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnic, B.A. (librarianship), 1975; University of Kent at Canterbury, B.A. (English and American literature; with honors), 1979; University of York, D.Phil., 1983.
Home—Middlesex, England. Office—St. Mary's College, Waldegrave Rd., Strawberry Hill, Twickenham TW1 4SX, England; Fax: 020-8240-4365. E-mail—[email protected].
University of Reading, Reading, Berkshire, England, senior library assistant, 1975-77, part-time lecturer in English, 1983-87, creative writing fellow, 1987-88; St. Mary's College, Twickenham, England, lecturer, 1987-89, senior lecturer in English, 1989-95, professor of literature, 1995—. King Alfred's College, Winchester, lecturer, 1983-86; Open University, tutor and counselor, 1983-88; conducts writing workshops; guest speaker in England and abroad; gives poetry readings.
National Association of Writers in Education (chair, 1998-2003), Higher Education Academy, Poetry Society, Society of Authors.
E.C. Gregory Award, Society of Authors, 1981; first prize from poetry competition, Cheltenham Festival of Literature, 1981; Hawthornden International Writers Fellowship, 1993; British Council writer in residence at University of Stockholm, 1998.
(Editor; under name Marion Lomax) Time Present and Time Past: Poets at the University of Kent at Canterbury, 1965-1985, Yorick Books (Canterbury, England), 1985.
(Under name Marion Lomax) Stage Images and Traditions: Shakespeare to Ford, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1987.
(Under name Marion Lomax) The Peepshow Girl (poetry), Bloodaxe Books (Newcastle upon Tyne, England), 1989.
(Under name Marion Lomax) Beyond Men and Dreams (libretto), music by Bennett Hogg, produced in London, England, at Garden Venture, Royal Opera House, 1991.
(Editor, with David Constantine; under name Marion Lomax) New Worlds: The 1992 Berkshire Literature Festival Anthology, Berkshire Libraries (Sheffield, England), 1992.
(Editor; under name Marion Lomax) Aphra Behn, The Rover, A. and C. Black (London, England), 1995, revised edition (under name Robyn Bolam), 2005.
(Under name Marion Lomax) Raiding the Borders (poetry), Bloodaxe Books (Newcastle upon Tyne, England), 1996.
(Editor, with Steven Hartman; under name Marion Lomax) Out of the Blue: Work from the 1998 Creative Writing Course in English at Stockholm University, Universitet Stockholm (Stockholm, Sweden), 1998.
(Editor; under name Robyn Bolam) Eliza's Babes: Four Centuries of Women's Poetry in English, c. 1500-1900, Bloodaxe Books (Newcastle upon Tyne, England), 2005.
Work represented in anthologies, including Gregory Awards Anthology, Carcanet Press, 1982; Poetry with an Edge, Bloodaxe Books (Newcastle upon Tyne, England), 1988; Larkin with Poetry, edited by Michael Baron, English Association, 1997; Contemporary Women's Poetry, edited by Alison Mark and Deryn Rees-Jones, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1999; and (under name Robyn Bolam) Staying Alive, Bloodaxe Books (Newcastle upon Tyne, England), 2002. Contributor of poetry, essays, and reviews to periodicals, including Poetry Review, Times Literary Supplement, London, and Writing Women; work published after the year 2000 appears under the name Robyn Bolam.
The Peepshow Girl is the first collection of verse by award-winning poet Marion Lomax, who now writes as Robyn Bolam. Comprised of forty-seven short poems, the book focuses on women protagonists who, as the title-poem suggests, are often objects of male voyeurism. Lomax, however, does not allow her female subjects to become helpless victims of those who exploit them. In "The Peepshow Girl," for example, after sitting as a model for a male painter, a woman fantasizes that she is in control of those who look upon her. "She will leave fully clothed—/ … Take the U-Bahn with tourists, / Schoolboys out after hours / The unmarriageable, the deserted, / The curious street artist—/ Disquieting them with avid eyes," writes Lomax, as cited by Bernard O'Donoghue in the Times Literary Supplement. "By the end," observed O'Donoghue, "the voyeuristic classes are made pathetic in both senses of the word." In addition to its concern with women's issues, Lomax's poetry is noted for its highly personal and emotional nature. Richard Jones concluded in Poetry Wales that Lomax "displays a range of emotion and characterization with both versatility and understanding. Her poetry is felt and the meanings master the words." Deciding that The Peepshow Girl is a "compelling and accomplished debut," O'Donoghue concluded his review by stating: "This book immediately establishes Marion Lomax as a poet of unusual talent."
Bolam once told CA: "I frequently adopt a persona in my poems—usually someone who is a survivor in a difficult situation—very often it is a woman. I want to write about people who do not give in, no matter what confronts them. I see The Peepshow Girl in this light. Raiding the Borders has much to do, though indirectly, with being a northerner living in the south of England. I'm concerned with divisions (emotional, physical, sexual, and social) and how we all live with them."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Newbury Weekly News, November 28, 1996.
Poetry Review, summer, 1996, Alison Combes, review of Raiding the Borders, pp. 88-89.
Poetry Wales, Volume 25, 1989, Richard Jones, review of Peepshow Girl.
Times Literary Supplement, December 1, 1989, Bernard O'Donoghue, review of Peepshow Girl.
Contemporary Writers Web site,http://www.contemporarywriters.com/ (May 22, 2006), author profile of Robyn Bolam.
St. Mary's College Web site: Robyn Bolam Home Page,http://www.smuc.ac.uk/ (May 31, 2006).