In Fiery Letters

Mark Ford

  • Reading F.T. Prince by Will May
    Liverpool, 256 pp, £75.00, December 2016, ISBN 978 1 78138 333 9

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 both Hill and Ashbery have explored Prince’s possible influences on their early work. And yet, despite the eloquent advocacy of these two recently departed giants, his work remains a specialised taste. A YouTube video of him reciting his most famous poem has had just 585 hits; only 107 people have heard his reading of ‘Strambotti’.

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