The latest of our ‘In Town Tonight’ events, where we welcome a visiting writer to The Poetry Cafe and they in turn invite a local favourite to read alongside them. As well as an opportunity to immerse yourselves in the worlds of Mark Ford and Phillis Levin’s latest collections, tonight’s event is a rare chance for you to hear this pair of poet critics in discussion about what makes a good poem, and considering, what contemporary British and American poets can learn from each other in relation to matters such as form and voice. Bring your questions and your answers to join in the discussion.
We’ll gather at 7pm for drinking and chatting, and the readings will begin at 7.30pm. Thank you to The Poetry Foundation, whose biographies we’ve borrowed for this listing!
Born in Paterson, New Jersey, Phillis Levin is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. She is the author of five poetry collections: Temples and Fields (University of Georgia Press, 1988), winner of the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award; The Afterimage (Copper Beech Press, 1995); Mercury (Penguin, 2001); May Day (Penguin, 2008); and Mr. Memory & Other Poems (Penguin, 2016 – a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize). She is the editor of The Penguin Book of the Sonnet: 500 Years of a Classic Tradition in English (Penguin, 2001). Levin has taught at The University of Maryland, the Unterberg Poetry Center, the New School, and New York University, and currently is professor of English and poet-in-residence at Hofstra University. She lives in New York.
Mark Ford was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and earned both his BA and DPhil from the University of Oxford. His collections of poetry include Landlocked (1991), Soft Sift (2001), Six Children (2011), Selected Poems (2014), and Enter, Fleeing (2018). He is the author of a biography, Raymond Roussel and the Republic of Dreams (2000), and a parallel text translation of Roussel’s last poem, Nouvelles Impressions d’Afrique (New Impressions of Africa) (2011), which was the runner-up for a PEN Award for Poetry in Translation from the PEN American Center. Ford’s criticism and essays have appeared widely in journals such as the New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books. He has published two collections of criticism, A Driftwood Altar (2005) and Mr and Mrs Stevens and Other Essays (2011), and edited the anthology London: A History in Verse (2012). His honors and awards include a Kennedy Scholarship at Harvard University and a visiting lectureship at the University of Kyoto. Ford lives in London and teaches at University College, London.
Please note – we’ve taken ticket sales off the website now (5pm, Friday 22nd) but they will be available on the door tonight.