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R.F. Langley (1938 - 2011)

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  • R.F. LANGLEY was born in Rugby in 1938. He was educated at Jesus College, Cambridge and went on to teach English and Art History in secondary schools. He has lived in Staffordshire for most of his life, but the inspiration for much of his work comes from the landscapes of Suffolk. He has published pamphlets and his work has appeared in many journals and anthologies, most recently The Harvill Book of Twentieth-Century Poetry in English (1999). He died in 2011. He was posthumously awarded the 2011 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem, for 'To a Nightingale'.

    Click here to read a full obituary of R.F. Langley.


    'The quality of Langley's writing is extraordinary. On first reading I  found myself bolt upright, the book falling from my hands as his poetry  tore through me.'
    Randolph Healey
    'I recommend you read R.F. Langley's magnificent poems, and his prose journals too, sparingly and for the rest of your life, as you might read a book of meditations'
    'Ghostly Mentor', Claire Crowther.
    'R.F. Langley's Complete Poems (Carcanet), edited by Jeremy Noel-Tod, preserves the work of a comparatively neglected figure, who died in 2011 and whose reputation is bound to rise. It's not a log book, but every single poem is exceptionally watchful and scrupulous. A life's work, to last its readers a lifetime'
    The Guardian, 28.11.2015.
    '[R.F. Langley} was attentive to the natural world and to the textures of the English language, and his Complete Poems is a gem of a book'
    Paul Batchelor, Times Literary Supplement, 27.11.2015.
     Langley's meditations on the natural world make English strange with Shakespearean animation, jumping from rhyme to rhyme and thought to thought. As TS Eliot also said, 'there is a logic of the imagination as well as a logic of concepts' and it can follow patterns as involved as 50 swifts on a summer evening.'
    Jeremy Noel-Tod, the Daily Telegraph, 24 January 2009


    Awards won by R.F. Langley (1938 - 2011) Short-listed, 2000 Whitbread Prize (Complete Poems )
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