A Conversation with Michael C. Ford

Click below to listen to the interview my MFA class did with Michael C. Ford, a local legend in the L.A. poetry scene.  Most of the hour-long audio clip is a conversation between Ford and Aram Saroyan, who I’ve mentioned here before.  Topics range from The Doors to the recent election of Barack Obama, but focus on the interplay of jazz and poetry.  Special appearances by Kenneth Patchen and the Chamber Jazz Sextet.  I thought you might enjoy.  I’ve permalinked this content at: http://timothy-green.org/blog/mcford/


A Conversation with Michael C. Ford

Michael C. Ford has been a fixture of the L.A. poetry and jazz scenes going back to the 1960s when he audited film classes at U.C.L.A. and got to know Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek, film students there just a few years before they would form The Doors. A fine performer of his own poetry and a sought-after Master of Ceremonies at poetry and music events around town, in 2005 Ford made a memorable theatrical debut in “At the Beach House” in an ensemble that included Orson Bean and Dina Deitrich. I invited him to talk with my Poetry class at USC because I long ago realized that among his other gifts, Ford has an encyclopedic knowledge of the literary, music, movie and theater scenes in Los Angeles going back more than half-a-century. A literary and jazz archivist with his own collections of artifacts and memorabilia, he projects an infectious relish for the cultural goings-on centered in, but by no means limited to Los Angeles, and a cultural historian’s sense of enduring value. His conversation with our class on Wednesday, November 12, 2008, was taped by Kyle MacKinnel and edited for CD transcription by Timothy Green.

–Aram Saroyan


MICHAEL C. FORD was born on the Illinois side of Lake Michigan. His debut spoken word vinyl {on SST} LANGUAGE COMMANDO earned a Grammy nomination in 1986. His book of Selected Poems EMERGENCY EXITS was honored by a 1998 Pulitzer Prize nomination. His last CD FIRE ESCAPES was bankrolled in 1995 by New Alliance: produced at Sonora by Michael Campagna. Click here for more info.

ARAM SAROYAN is an internationally known poet, novelist, biographer, memoirist and playwright. His poetry has been widely anthologized and appears in many textbooks. Among the collections of his poetry are ARAM SAROYAN and PAGES (both Random House). His largest collection, DAY AND NIGHT:BOLINAS POEMS, was published by Black Sparrow Press in 1999, and his latest, COMPLETE MINIMALIST POEMS, won the Poetry Society of America’s 2008 William Carlos Williams Award.

One thought on “A Conversation with Michael C. Ford

  1. hi tim,

    i’m a founding member of snowmonks. snowmonks is a poetry / music ensemble that teases and defies genre. i thought you might enjoy our work.

    check out myspace.com/snowmonksimprov
    you can find a free download at: http://www.oldportrecords.com

    over the summer, we recorded an album :”crimes against inhumanity”.

    if you’re so inspired, i would be eager to read your thoughts and consideration.

    best regards,
    gil helmick

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.