PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Kei Millerthe Fat Black Woman
In Praise of the Fat Black Woman & Volume

(PN Review 241)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Next Issue Jen Schmitt on Ekphrasis Rachel Hadas on Text and Pandemic Kirsty Gunn Essaying two Jee Leong Koh Palinodes in the Voice of my Dead Father Maureen Mclane Correspondent Breeze
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review Blog

This review is taken from PN Review 169, Volume 32 Number 5, May - June 2006.

KINDS OF DISSONANCE MARK FORD, A Driftwood Altar: Essays and Reviews (Waywiser) £10.95
ROSMARIE WALDROP, Dissonance (if you are interested)(University of Alabama Press) £28.50

If you turn to A Driftwood Altar seeking a fix on the distant excitement of Mark Ford's poems, it will eventually supply one: 'Like too many of my poems, this one ends up being about empires, their rise and fall...' Ford perhaps was making the same discovery as Rosmarie Waldrop did when her collage-poems still ended up being about her mother. She comments:

Tristan Tzara has a famous recipe for making a Dada poem by cutting words out of a newspaper and tossing them in a hat. He ends with: 'The poem will resemble you.'

Besides this, the character of the connection between Ford's own poems and (especially) Raymond Roussel is surely a tacit sub-theme of his major essay 'Mont d'Espoir or Mount Despair: Early Bishop, Early Ashbery, and the French'. It sheds its light on Bishop and Ashbery, too: a fairly timely reminder of just how 'explosive' The Tennis Court Oath was and remains; also a reminder that Bishop's poems have a radically different resonance once you forget about New England.

Elsewhere, Ford is sympathetically concerned with his subjects and keeps himself out of the picture; his imperial obsessions perhaps manifesting themselves only in an odd phrase such as 'the French' and in his relish for the kind of journalistic challenge presented by reviewing Weldon Kees for the LRB: addressing, as it were, ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image