Selected Poems

Poetry by Mark Ford

April 1, 2014 • 5.5 x 8.25 • 150 pages • 978-1-56689-362-6

An exuberant, versatile, and complex debut US collection from one of the United Kingdom’s most respected poets.

Mark Ford is widely recognized as one of the UK’s most innovative and exciting poets. This volume, culled from the work of three decades, reveals the full range of his experiments in language and form. Myth, history, and the everyday are entwined in complex, moving poems that deliver, in the words of John Ashbery, “waves and waves of refreshment.” Witty, eloquent, versatile, Ford charts the losses and gains of modern life in poetry of startling beauty and irrepressible humor.

About the Author

Mark Ford was born in Nairobi, Kenya 1962. He has published three collections of poetry, and a biography of the French writer Raymond Roussel. He was awarded the 2015 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism by the Poetry Foundation for his book This Dialogue of One: Essays on Poets from John Donne to Joan Murray (Eyewear, 2014). He has also translated Roussel’s New Impressions of Africa, and is the editor of London: A History in Verse. He lives in London.

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Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year

“[Mark Ford’s] work opens up emotionally, like a rolling vista that unfurls after a long hike through dense woods. . . . He has a stethoscopic ear for the sounds disappointment can squeeze from a human heart.” New York Times

“Mark Ford, perhaps [Nicholas] Moore’s most brilliant disciple, has recently published his own Selected Poems . . . among my favorite poetry publications this year.” New York Times Literary Supplement

“If there is an unspoken limit on how many exclamation marks a poet should use during their career, British poet Ford has surpassed it with bursting, exuberant abandon. . . . These selected poems are an exercise in play that energetically flaps against time. . . . This collection should make Ford’s name a familiar one to more American readers.” Publishers Weekly

“Intelligent, restless originality.” The Guardian

“This is not a poetry of incident and handily derived précis but rather of choreographed tension and inspired utterance.” New York Times

“Ford’s poems, elaborated from a witty and sinister imagination, ‘work’ in that instinctual way, allowing details to rise into salient being and beautiful formal shape for the reader as for the poet.” New York Review of Books

“Ford helps American readers take pleasure in seeing with fresh eyes a country they know too well to notice. . . . Poetry this strange, felt, terrifying, physical, cerebral, and real is indeed a conjuring act.” Boston Review

“His poems are nothing short of carefully contained energy.” Cleaver Magazine

“Ford is at once a veteran of pop culture and a connoisseur of the desperation of high culture, an indoor reader of the past but also an outdoor breather of physically felt atmospheres. His generation of English poets is still in formation but I believe Ford to be one of its eventual definers, as Ashbery was crucial to postwar writing in the United States.” —Helen Vendler

“Ford’s poetry is light and agile and sometimes sweet, but it also has a disconcerting way of turning sharp and naughty and even sinister.” —John Ashbery

“Readers who like some puzzles along with their pleasures, and who admire sophisticated thinking in verse, will find Ford one of the best young poets we have—one attuned in sad, clever, intricate ways to how we speak now, and what we suspect of ourselves.” —Stephen Burt, Times Literary Supplement

“[Ford’s] dark episodes—slightly surreal, unnerving, and often farcical—unroll before us, as on a screen of rapidly changing images, while an enchanting voice-over, in a diction all its own, tells its painful, accurate and self-mocking tale.” London Review of Books

“Through the years British poet Mark Ford has developed a singular and spirited body of work that has a winning combination of erudition and whimsy. He is a 21st French century fantast with deep roots in romanticism and modernity. How fortunate now to have this generous selection of his life poetry.” —Peter Gizzi

“This generous Selected Poems is the ideal introduction to the work of Mark Ford, a British poet who is, thankfully, no respecter of literary or geographical boundaries.” Friday Night Boys

“At long last, American readers can possess a substantial selection of Mark Ford’s poetry. These are poems of serious play, relentlessly experimental but grounded in quotidian specifics, characterized by a consummate strangeness and an oddball ferocity that never stoops to mere whimsy or the easy tour-de-force. Mark Ford is, quite simply, one of the most singular talents at work today—on either side of the Atlantic.” —David Wojahn