Born in Rugby, England, poet and teacher R.F. Langley grew up in Staffordshire. He earned a BA from Jesus College, Cambridge. At school, Langley associated with the poets J.H. Prynne and Donald Davie, all of who were strongly influenced by Ezra Pound. Langley authored ten books, including Hem (Infernal Methods, 1978), Collected Poems (Carcanet, 2000), nominated for the Whitbread Book Award, and The Face of It (Carcanet, 2007). He also kept diaries throughout his life, and published them in the PN Review and as the collection Journals (2006). His poems appeared in PN Review, the London Review of Books, The Harvill Books of Twentieth-Century Poetry in English (1999), and elsewhere. In Langley’s obituary in the Guardian, Peter Riley says of his poetry: “The dazzling techniques of modernism are brought to bear on quiet rural pursuits: the patient inspection of spiders through a magnifying glass, a cluster of waxwings, a ruined minster—a collection of personal ‘sacred sites’ as he called them, treated with both wonder and precise, even scientific, attention.”
Langley posthumously received the 2011 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem for “To a Nightingale.” He taught English at grammar schools for 40 years and painting and art history in his home until his retirement in 1999. He spent his remaining years in rural Suffolk until his death.
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