By Mark Ford
Essays on Poets from John Donne to Joan Murray
This Dialogue of One collects thirteen essays on English, French and American poets by one of the era’s most engaging and highly esteemed poet-critics. Like Randall Jarrell, whose achievement is assessed here, Ford combines a refreshing openness to innovation with an authoritative awareness of what makes a poem stand the test of time. Witty, astute and wide-ranging, Ford demonstrates his formidable gifts as a close reader of poetry, whether exploring canonical works by the likes of Whitman, Dickinson, Baudelaire and T.S. Eliot, or championing the cause of neglected figures such as James Thomson, Samuel Greenberg and Joan Murray. As John Lanchester once observed of Ford’s essays, ‘If more literary criticism were like this, more people would read it.’
Few people write poetry well; fewer write well about poetry; and fewer again manage to do both. By this yardstick, Mark Ford’s This Dialogue of One ... [looks] to have it all sown up – David Wheatley, Poetry Magazine
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