If Olympic medals were awarded for anthology making, this year's gold would surely go to Mark Ford, whose London: A History in Verse (Harvard University Press) has hit UK bookstores and will soon be available in the US.
Here's what The Economist says:
NO OTHER city so inspires and infuriates poets like London. For Percy Bysshe Shelley, an early 19th-century romantic, “Hell is a city much like London.” A century before, Alexander Pope was similarly grim, writing from the safety of leafy Twickenham: “Dear, damned, distracting town, farewell!” William Wordsworth once marvelled of the view from Westminster Bridge, “Earth has not anything to show more fair.” But he was also baffled that in London “next-door neighbours” can be “yet still/Strangers, and knowing not each other’s names.”
Despite such complaints, London hooks the imagination, as can be seen in “London: A History in Verse”. Spanning seven centuries, this fascinating new collection features Wordsworth and Pope alongside lesser-known and even anonymous poets, all of them moved by the city’s labyrinthine streets and smells, sounds and textures. The volume includes an outbreak of plague, the Great Fire, the deposition of Charles I, the crowning of Charles II, two world wars and the introduction of the London Underground, all of it conveyed through the prism of poetry. It makes for a thrilling read. Continue reading here.
Read Mark Ford's BAP blog posts here.
Find out more about and order London: A History in Verse here.