By news editor, on 10 May 2013
As part of UCL’s Festival of the Arts, UCL English demonstrated its contribution to the arts by hosting a lunchtime poetry reading event featuring the work of two alumni, a current PhD student and published author Professor Mark Ford.
Professor Ford opened the readings with his poem ‘Christmas’, published in 2011. It was a sharp contrast to the usual experiences of happiness, warmth and celebrations associated with the festive period. Instead, Ford told a story of a fateful slip on hazardous winter ice.
The character sees his friend fall whilst enjoying a pastrami sandwich in town, but despite scaremongering attempts to raise his friend, his body lies still.
Professor Ford’s poem was unexpected; what started out as the depiction of a last-minute Christmas shop turned into a situation you desperately hope has a happy ending. As Ford described the hurried passing of time, any naïve thoughts of survival are confronted with the unfortunate realisation that it isn’t be the ending you hoped for.
Professor Ford has published three collections of poetry and his interests lie in the fields of the city, editions, and life stories.
Dante Micheaux, UCL Union’s Postgraduate Sabbatical Officer, was supervised by Mark Ford whilst studying for his PhD at UCL and has written for the Poetry Society of America.
Micheaux beautifully read a selection of short poems from his favourite authors and his own writings. He chose themes of Greek mythology and ‘raunchy’ themes that reflect the historical contexts in which they are often set.
Harriet Moore, who often writes from the perspective of an old man, is a poet with a particular reading style. She writes in a nostalgic tone that reflects, captures and invites you into the world of an elderly man alone with his thoughts, and reads in a fluent and rhythmic tone, painting a scenic image with her words.
Moore’s poem ‘My First Parcel’ is a wonderful example of her writing as an old man, and the steady rhythm in which she reads, allowing you to feel as though you are him; tired, heavy and weary from the world. Moore graduated from UCL in 2011. She has since had work published in The Best British Short Stories 2012 and has shared her work at Dulwich Books in London.
Declan Ryan shared a selection of his work inspired by the lives, love and losses of historic men, as well as personal experiences. His poem ‘Accident’ explores his memories, emotions and reactions to his father losing a finger.
Ryan, currently studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, graduated from UCL in 2009 and his poem ‘From Alun Lewis’ has been published in Poetry Review.
Georgie Chesman is a Graduate Trainee in the UCL Communications team