Mark Ford

Mark Ford teaches English at UCL and presents the LRB podcast series Close Readings with Seamus Perry. His fourth collection of poetry, Enter, Fleeing, was published in 2018.

‘Too many dreams have been deferred for too long,’ Joe Biden announced in his acceptance speech of 7 November 2020. It isn’t unusual for American politicians to talk about dreams in their speeches, but they don’t often quote from Langston Hughes, famous for his communist sympathies and irreverent poems (‘Listen Christ,/You did alright in your day, I reckon...

From The Blog
25 September 2023

Ted Hughes was among the earliest contributors to the London Review of Books; his poem ‘Night Arrival of Sea-Trout’ appeared in the very first issue of 25 October 1979.

‘Is there anybody there?’ the Traveller asks in ‘The Listeners’, Walter de la Mare’s poem from 1912. It’s a question that at first seems to go unanswered, for the mysterious silent inhabitants sequestered behind the moonlit door on which he raps refuse to reveal themselves or to respond to him out loud. As often happens in the recessed, shadowy, fugitive...

Of Philip Larkin’s​ many ostentatiously ‘less deceived’ accounts of family life, among my favourites is the soaring riff that concludes his introduction to All What Jazz (1970), a collection of mainly unimpressed reviews of John Coltrane, Miles Davis et al that initially appeared in the Telegraph. ‘Sometimes I imagine them,’ he muses of the readers of his...


Voltaire’s Skull

8 November 2018

Fredric Jameson, in his illuminating piece on Karl Ove Knausgaard, asks us to ‘recall the story by Raymond Roussel of his discovery, in a dusty provincial museum, under glass, of the skull of Voltaire as a child’ (LRB, 8 November). A story concerning Voltaire features, along with the reanimated skull of the great orator Danton, in Chapter 3 of Roussel’s Locus Solus (1914), and Voltaire is prominent...

If Hardy was half a modern Londoner, the other half had a weakness for the pastoral-oracular. The two halves changed shape, feeding and modifying each other.

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Earthworm on Zither: Raymond Roussel

Paul Grimstad, 26 April 2012

‘I have travelled a great deal,’ Raymond Roussel wrote towards the end of his life, ‘but from all these travels I never took anything for my books.’ It’s an odd...

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Fronds and Tenrils: Mark Ford

Helen Vendler, 29 November 2001

Suppose, having been betrayed – ‘hooked/then thrown back’ – you decide to let your instant reflex, a desire for revenge, cool off overnight; then suppose you wake up the...

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In the Anti-World: Raymond Roussel

Nicholas Jenkins, 6 September 2001

In 1924 the Surrealist Benjamin Péret was eager, like many artists then and since, to relate his own interests to the works of the rich, bizarre and innovative French poet, novelist and...

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Eternal Feminine

Ian Gregson, 7 January 1993

The excitable, exuberant surface of Mark Ford’s poems makes them instantly attractive. They speak with a bewildered urgency: See, no hands! she cried Sailing down the turnpike, And flapped...

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