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Rod Mengham

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  • Rod Mengham is the author of several poetry publications, including Unsung (Salt, 2006), Chance of a Storm (Carcanet, 2015), Grimspound & Inhabiting Art (Carcanet, 2018), 2019 the vase in pieces (Oystercatcher) and of translations Speedometry [poems by Andrzej Sosnowski] (Contraband, 2014) and Flatsharing [poems by Anne Portugal] (Equipage, 2021). He was also co-editor and co-translator of the anthology Altered State: the New Polish Poetry (Arc, 2003) and co-editor with John Kinsella of the anthology Vanishing Points: New Modernist Poems (Salt, 2005).  Between 1992 and 2002, he was co-organiser of the annual Cambridge Conference of Contemporary Poetry and since 1992 has been the publisher of Equipage, which has published over 120 pamphlets of contemporary poetry. Rod is Reader in Modern English Literature at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Jesus College. He has published monographs on Charles Dickens, Emily Bronte and Henry Green; and The Descent of Language (1993); has co-written with Sophie Gilmartin Thomas Hardy's Shorter Fiction (EUP, 2007); has edited essay collections on contemporary fiction, violence and avant-garde art, fiction of the 1940s, and Australian poetry. He has also curated many exhibitions of contemporary art since 2003, and has made several films with the artist Marc Atkins (soundingpolefilms) as well as the text + image publication Still Moving (Veer, 2014). He was a recipient of the Cholmondely Award for Poetry in 2020.      
    Praise for Rod Mengham 'Lucid, percipient essays... Despite its limpid style, Mengham's writing is not always easy - but nor are the ramifications of the works he is engaging with. Most of the essays are only a few pages long, but within a compressed space, he plumbs vertiginous depths of meaning.'

    James Cahill, Times Literary Supplement

    'Some of the worst contemporary art criticism hides behind a nebulous idea of poetic sensibility. One of the many reasons that Rod Mengham is such a compelling writer on art is the clarity of thought and the fine-tuned nature of his sensibilities as both poet and critic. I've never read a dull sentence of his and I've always wanted to read whatever he has to say about artists - from those I admire deeply to those about whom I know little or nothing. He's amongst the very best (and equally one of the most under-rated) writers on art of his generation.'

    Tim Marlow

    'He is particularly adept at discovering one place in another: finding Albania in Uxbridge... mapping ancient walkways of southern England onto the Australian Bush, or viewing Polish Constructivism in Cambridge... Inhabiting Art makes for an out-of-the-way tour in the company of a guide who is unusually scrupulous, keen-sighted and alive to the less routinely observed.' 

    William Wooten, TLS


    'We make a world and in turn it makes us. Mengham's understanding of history as a living, evolving, ever present material template onto which experience can be inscribed and evaluated makes this collection of essays and his evocation of Grimspound so special.'
    Antony Gormley
    'What's moving about Chance of a Storm is the way the title probes into each poem and each poem illuminates the title, across a very  wide landscape of despair and hope. What chance is there of a storm when we see only what we see? These poems exist to create that chance, and the hope of cracking complacency open. They have an angry but generous ear for past echoes, and the sound of them being sealed airtight in the moments we're living.'
    Timothy Mathews, Professor of French and Comparative Criticism, University College London
    'These careful and intriguing poems will require turning over and over before they give up their secrets.'
    David Wheatley, TLS
    'Mengham is an extraordinary flâneur. The astonishing detail he collates as he wanders confers Art and artfulness in the ordinary.... A fluid and convincing conduit to recognition as much as to understanding, his sentences are a joy to relish'
    Steve Whitaker, The Yorkshire Times
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