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.

Born,​ out of wedlock, in Rome in 1880 to a high-spirited, convent-educated but unconventional young aristocrat of Russian, Polish and Italian descent, the poet Apollinaire was given no fewer than five prénoms by his mother: his full name, in its French version, was Guillaume-Albert-Wladimir-Alexandre-Apollinaire de Kostrowitzky. During his schooldays in Monaco he was known as...

Poem: ‘Love Triangle’

Mark Ford, 22 March 2018

Here – ahem – is a motif that has proved popular in many diverse cultures in many eras: think, for instance of Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere; or think if you dare, of your own turbid y-y-y-youth.

In Fiery Letters: F.T. Prince

Mark Ford, 8 February 2018

Although​ during his lifetime F.T. Prince (1912-2003) acquired a number of illustrious admirers – including those poetic polar opposites, Geoffrey Hill and John Ashbery – his poetry is still not widely known. ‘Soldiers Bathing’, it’s true, is likely to feature in any anthology or critical account of the poetry of the Second World War, and assiduous scholars of...

Poem: ‘Oxford, 1985’

Mark Ford, 5 October 2017

Oh to recapture the golden summer I met Allen Ginsberg! That tireless man! – he had within minutes, produced a whole box of photographs of himself, all shaggy and naked, in bed with a blond admirer. Had he taken these pictures himself? I inquired, marvelling at their composition … he had!

Poem: ‘Viewless Wings’

Mark Ford, 17 November 2016

What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops? – Isaiah 22:1

I (gulp) had to have a certain operation, and as I went under, found myself assailed by a flock of hostile pigeons, by a whole parliament of fowls, cooing hysterically – blackbirds and ospreys and screaming gulls. How daftare you! mocked a jackdaw, jabbing its beak at my groin. Vile droppings...

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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