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Ford, Charles Henri 1908-2002

FORD, Charles Henri 1908-2002

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born February 10, 1908, in Hazlehurst, MS; died September 27, 2002, in New York, NY. Artist, editor, and author. Ford was a surrealist poet, photographer, and painter best known as the editor of the influential literary publication Blues: A Magazine of New Rhythms and the art and literature magazine View. Ford was interested in editing from an early age, creating his first broadside when he was in grammar school. After reading the magazine The Exile, edited by Ezra Pound, he decided to starts his own magazine, Blues, in 1929. Though he only edited the publication for a year, within its pages Ford was able to publish the early works of such renowned writers as Erskine Caldwell, Gertrude Stein, and William Carlos Williams, an impressive feat for a young man who was still living with his parents at the time. Moving to New York, then Paris, and then back to the United States, Ford led a peripatetic life, socializing within his literary circle of friends and establishing himself as a poet in his own right. He caused a stir in 1933 when he cowrote the novel The Young and Evil with Parker Tyler. The book was published in Paris, but its gay themes caused it to be banned in the United States until the 1960s. During the 1940s Ford founded and edited View, and in the 1950s he became increasingly interested in photography and film. He is credited by some with introducing Andy Warhol to underground movies; Ford wrote the screenplay Johnny Minotaur, released in 1973. He exhibited his photographs in the United States and Europe, with his final showing as part of the "Poem Posters" exhibit in New York City in 1999, and was also interested in the artform of collage. Though much of his poetry is surrealistic in nature, late in his writing career he explored haiku, a poetic form that captured his interest following a trip to Katmandu. Among Ford's thirteen collections of poems are Silver Flower Coo (1968), Secret Haiku: Om Krishna 111 (1982), and Out of the Labyrinth: Selected Poems (1990). Ford was also the author of the autobiographical I Will Become What I Am and Water from a Bucket: A Diary, 1948-1957 (2001).



Contemporary Poets, seventh edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2001.


Los Angeles Times October 4, 2002, p. B15. New York Times, September 30, 2002, p. A31. Times (London, England), October 1, 2002. Washington Post, October 1, 2002, p. B7.

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