The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
"One of Bloom’s most annoying traits as a literary critic has been his abiding assumption that whatever an author may think he has written, Bloom knows better." Eric Ormsby New Criterion
"I knew Levis a little at Iowa, forty years ago. Stocky, a heavy smoker with wide-set eyes, he had a more than passing resemblance to Ernie Kovacs. His sad-sack manner belied a sardonic, dark intelligence—he moved in chiaroscuro with slothlike deliberation." William Logan New Criterion
"But the workshop poem is merely the aesthetic/cultural side of the financial/political annexation of the public." Tyrone Williams Lana Turner
"Art itself, including by implication, poetry, becomes a kind of ‘naming’ or ‘possession-ing’, a re-visioning of things. To delineate and describe is to ‘make known something.’" Ken Evans on Tom French Manchester Review
"The critic Kenneth Tynan had a sign on his desk that read: “Be light, stinging, insolent, and melancholy.” These seem to be Mr. Muldoon’s rules as well." Dwight Garner NYT "Few poets can write history into the margins of their work without being overwhelmed by it. In this book’s short lyrics and astonishing long poems, Muldoon manages." John McAuliffe Irish Times
"On the page, British Surrealism feels less committed than its European antecedents. It’s more jokey, for a start, and diluted. In the poems and drawings gathered in Thirteenth Stroke, Andre Breton’s highly sexed muses have mostly been banished and replaced with something closer to a vaudeville show or puppet theatre. (To many present-day readers this will come as a relief rather than a disappointment.)" Gregory O'Brien PN Review
"There is also a willingness to admit that much about Blake’s work remains perplexing and irreducible to simple interpretation. “Trying to Understand the Long Poems” is a disarmingly honest section heading, while some chapters end not with conclusions but with strings of further questions." James Ward DRB
"From the art criticism of Walter Pater to the reviews by Eileen Myles, the particular tenets of taste—works reclaimed, schools or movements endorsed, new authors celebrated—finally matter less than the critic’s attitude, or what was once called “sensibility.” With criticism, it’s best to reverse D.H. Lawrence’s famous motto: Trust the teller, not the tale." Nicholas Dames The Nation
"Brodsky was another Osya, or Iosef, or Joseph, who like the original Joseph of Genesis was tossed into a pit by his brethren, and just as Joseph did in Egypt, he finally won recognition outside of his native Canaan, outside his own land. " Hamid Ismailov • The Critical Flame
"Leonard Cohen was the poet laureate of the lack, the psalmist of the privation, who made imperfection gorgeous." Leon Wieseltier NYT "Leonard belonged to a rare category of writer insofar as his collected songs and his poems were indivisible. I have no hesitation in saying he was one of the great poets of the era." Paul Muldoon Guardian
"Poetry is not useful, and it is in every culture. Not only is it not endangered, it will outlast any number of species of living things on the face of the earth. It will only perish with our own. I worry about journalism. I don’t worry about Poetry." A.E. Stallings • TLS

"Bunting’s response was to re-tailor his life in accordance with the maxim he had adopted for poetry, “Dichten=condensare”. He bought a six-ton sailing boat and spent a year “harpooning congers and netting herring” off the south coast of England in a kind of maritime reprise of the life evoked in “Chomei at Toyama”; then hawked his seafaring skills around New York and Los Angeles before enlisting in the RAF at the outbreak of the Second World War." Mark Hutchinson• TLS

"Eurydice’s elegant dismissal of Orpheus mirrors H.D.’s dismissal of Orpheus as the mythopoetic icon." Dean Rader • Ploughshares
"The majority of the contemporary poetry industry, insofar as it has a business model, is based on extracting money from writers, not giving it to them. Every year, I have to work harder to make a comparable living." Clare Pollard Poetry Spotlight
"If prose is a house, poetry is a man on fire running quite fast through it." Anne Carson Observer
"Excessive talkativity is the condition that threatens all of Kennard’s writing, a pressure that he copes with by naming, embracing the problem." Dai George Poetry London "On reaching Book III [of Luke Kennard's Cain] I felt like I’d come out of a cinema into the brightness of a sunny afternoon and was struggling to see clearly. " Katherine Stansfield Magma
"On into his thirties, whenever Larkin had to take a train somewhere, he’d carry little notes of his own to hand to the ticket agent: a bad stammer would flare at the first shyness, and he couldn’t always count on being able to relay his destination. Then there was the poor eyesight marring his student days, which also kept him from military service. Is it idle to read Larkin’s turn to photography, of all pursuits, in light of these facts? Perhaps one of the early attractions of the camera, which he picked up in his youth (and we have this to thank for an endearingly comic picture of his father Sydney looking through a lens of his own at the eleven-year-old portraitist), was the way it allowed him to escape from the first difficulty and transcend the second." Tomas Unger Threepenny Review
"In 1995, Jon Stallworthy’s biography of the poet Louis MacNeice appeared to generally favourable reviews. It was recognised as an urbane, courteous study of a poet who had never quite escaped a reputation for playing second fiddle to WH Auden. For this reader, however, it did not manage to grasp how turbulent had been the life from which the poet’s marvellous poems had sprung." Terence Brown DRB
"The shadow of ballad or hymn meter haunts Riley’s fragmented parts, as does the spirit of song itself, which for all its elegiac purposes can never not be a sign of vitality. In an interview with the Web publication The Shearsman Review, Riley remarked of her career: “The only constant is a commitment to the thing that is song. This is in some way linked to the persistence of hope. Then as I get older this whole business of ‘song’ only becomes still more mysterious. It is a plain bright mystery.” Song is in dialogue with the “say” of Say Something Back, enacted between loftier rhyming stanzas and colloquial blank verse. Rhymes and rhythms assert themselves, then falter. It’s stop and go, this resumption of life after death." Ange Mlinko The Nation
"“His gift or genius is in his connection to the music of the spheres,” [Bob] Dylan went on. “In the song ‘Sisters of Mercy,’ for instance, the verses are four elemental lines which change and move at predictable intervals . . . but the tune is anything but predictable. The song just comes in and states a fact. And after that anything can happen and it does, and Leonard allows it to happen." David Remnick New Yorker
"Like NourbeSe Philip’s overlapping global perspectives, her book as a whole has the structure of a Venn diagram. Insofar as the title is an eponym of the last poem in the book, both title and poem frame the collection, giving it a circular shape from beginning to end." Tyrone Williams • Chicago Review
"So we have in this small book a complete picture of a human condition brought about by (but perhaps not unique to) a form of bereavement, elegantly and appealingly written, leaving us in no doubt as to its reality and terms of manifestation — you’d think that were enough. But it isn’t, because there is also the poetry, ‘A Part Song’." Peter Riley • Fortnightly Review of Books
"The Ireland Chair of Poetry, where a poet of national distinction is appointed for three years to a roving professorship, is one of those absolutely daft good things that the powers that be in Irish life come up with now and again." Thomas McCarthy • Dublin Review of Books
"But it does not take special pleading to say that this book is much more than an archaeology of British poetry and Roy Fisher’s contribution to it. The widespread admiration for Fisher’s writing is undoubtedly because, for over sixty years, Fisher has given his readers an exploration of the world which is not only deeply recognisable, but constantly different and effortlessly enthralling." Ian Pople Manchester Review
"“I don’t believe in narrative [songs] anymore, life’s not like that. Fractured narrative, time compressed, events stuck on events, or distressing logic is much more real”. Dismissing the prophetic nature of his lyrics, he admits that the anxiety and dread they have always featured can seem as if they foretell “certain events”." Nick Cave TLS
"If Moore’s borrowings allow for the characterization of her as a modern collage artist, a devil-may-care dialogic experimenter, Elizabeth Bishop had quite a different view. Helping Moore with her translations of La Fontaine, she comes to a sadly astonished awareness of her mentor’s difference from other people, linked to her inability to hear or write verse in conventional ways. It seems that Moore “was possessed of a unique, involuntary sense of rhythm, therefore of meter”; what else would one expect, given that “she looked like no one else” and “talked like no one else,” and that “her poems showed a mind not much like anyone else’s”?" Vidyan Ravinthiran Poetry
"Writing in English in Asia means writing from the edge, Wong explained: it’s a peripheral vantage that often leaves you gazing across to the UK or US for a wider readership. But he also recounted the writerly pleasure of occupying such an edge – now less a margin than a blade – to create poems postcolonial and queer and triumphantly hard-to-pin-down." Sarah Howe The Poetry Review
"Claude Péloquin was the bad boy of French-Canadian poetry, known for his stage antics and first published at the age of 19." Pierre-Mathieu Fortin • Red Bull Music Academy
"When, in ‘Another Part of the Wood’ (with a glance, this time, at As You Like It), Wright does ‘take issue’ with Davie, he does so as the editor of a string of influential anthologies, including The Faber Book of Twentieth-Century Verse (with Heath-Stubbs) and the classic Penguin, The Mid-Century: English Poetry 1940–60, and of two significant magazines, Nimbus (1951–58), with Tristram Hull and others, and X: A Quarterly Review (1959–62), with Swift. Despite his impatience with the way in which, in the mid-1970s, ‘the Arts Council and the universities were beginning to rig trampolines for the daring young men on the flying trochees’, Wright speaks with authority as a respected poet and curator of contemporary poetry; not as an outsider, a maverick or sniper, but as an equal, on equal terms." James Keery PN Review
"We all sat and listened, and the long eighteenth century windows were wide open to the horse chestnut trees in the Mirabelle Palace Gardens behind us, and there was simply nothing to say. He was the Real Thing. (Later, he would buy me a strudel in a pastry shop and I would discover he had absolutely nothing to say, either, once he put the violin down. But that’s another story.)" Fiona Sampson Agenda
"There is little glory for Irish-language writers. Yet we have a young poet like Séamas Barra Ó Súilleabháin, who will read poems from his début collection Beatha Dhónaill Dhuibh at this year’s IMRAM, fusing them with sonic effects from Czech sound sculptor Slavek Kwi. He is compelled to write in Irish because his voice and his thoughts are in Irish, not English." Liam Carson Irish Times
"Only when I counted did I realise that the book has nearly as many women as men speaking memorably and musically of the great human subjects: love, loss, wonder." William Sieghart • Guardian
"I’m not sure how many people in the academy had much idea of how very good the poetry was, and is. [Jay Macpherson] was the person that major American poets used to ask me about when I ran into them, people like the late Anthony Hecht or Mark Strand, Pulitzer-Prize winners both. A recent British editor called her one of the great poets of the twentieth century, and compared her with Stevie Smith, but her emotional range is far wider than Smith’s." Eleanor Cook • Brick Books
"But there are bad biographies that tell you nothing about their subject’s breakfast preferences, and The Whole Harmonium is one such. Stevens is one of those apparently fortunate, self-standing poets who are not greatly involved with the styles or personalities of their time, whose work sets no puzzles and makes a sufficiently vivid impression all by itself." Michael Hofmann • LRB
"It can seem, to those of us who teach poetry writing, that the only way to sell young poets on metrical effects is by contagion." Anthony Madrid • The Paris Review
"As a poet—he has written three books of poems, as well as two novels—Lerner is sensitive to the odd psychological transactions that tend to take place between poets and non-poets. The latter often regard the former with a blend of contempt and envy. The contempt is easy enough to understand—poetry is unprestigious, unremunerative, a form of play rather than grown-up work. But it is the envy that Lerner focuses on, the way people who don’t write poetry nevertheless feel the urge to stake a claim to it." Adam Kirsch • The Atlantic
"Like scientists and mathematicians, professional poets are entirely trained and largely employed within the university system, producing work primarily for each other while a very small contingent of outside enthusiasts looks on." Frank Guan • The Point
"In every generation there is a handful of poets who challenge the way we think about language and how it is used." John Yau • The Hyperallergic
"After a death, those remaining form a new order, their relation to each other forever changed. Indeed, it is by sensing that alteration that we realize greatness has passed—like the perturbations in the orbit of Uranus that marked the presence of an unknown planet." William Logan • The New Criterion
The Page is taking a break. JMcA, Sept 5, 16

"Poetry is like an old clock that stops ticking from time to time and needs to be violently shaken to get it running again, and if that doesn’t do the trick, opened up and disassembled, its wheels cleaned, lubricated, and its intricate moving parts made to run again. Unlike watchmakers, poets repair their poems by leaving parts behind that after centuries of use have turned out to be unnecessary to their workings. Hard as it is to believe, lyric poets are still tinkering with a contraption thousands of years old, mending it and reinventing it with no desire to call it quits. As they do that, poetry keeps changing while remaining the same." Charles Simic on Jana Prikryl NYRB
"In Stephen Dunn’s introduction to the volume, he writes that Cummings was “the Holden Caulfield of American poetry.” That’s partly right. Cummings’s two great interests were sex and sex—at least in the first part of his life." Micah Mattix • The Washington Free Beacon
"And if she got to know that he was giving a lecture somewhere in London she would stand outside the hall holding a placard that read, as I’ve always (and wrongly) remembered it: ‘This is the wife he abandoned.’ Sadly, but no doubt accurately, the various biographies substitute ‘I am’ for ‘This is’." Mary-Kay Wilmers LRB
"This phrase is but one example of her highly individual wrapping up of her poems in a final terse or laconic and intriguing statement of actual fact, which at the same time is almost more aware than the reader or writer can afford to deal with. It is a form of sabotage or inversion—I am telling you something but not quite the truth as it was. As ever with Ní Chuilleanáin’s vast intellectual compass, she makes valid connections between various different registers of language, her task being to hunt down somehow the meaning of a forgotten word that is well-nigh irrecoverable." Medbh McGuckian Breac
"On the back cover of This Big Face I wrote that the poems were ‘going for some kind of clarity.’ That’s certainly changed. Now I think life is mostly a great big shambles and I’m happy to go along with that. The earlier poems seem quite neat, as in tidily put together, whereas I think the recent poems have an unruly element to them." Jenny Bornholdt VUP
"Drawing likenesses together, setting things at odds, offering new unending sets of variations. These things kind of matter a lot." Sam Buchan-Watts on Matthew Welton Prac Crit
"Her example is a poetics of constant revision, movement, and the considerable courage it takes to maintain, even in times of necessary anger, the wonder that should make an artist intrepid." Karen Solie Brick
"My friend laughed. “You know your problem?” she said. “You thought that philosophy would be Truth and poetry would be Beauty.”" Ken Chen • New Republic
"The ‘confrontation with false universality’ that [Ben] Lerner uncovers as a way of understanding Rankine’s work is critical; though he only mentions it in passing, he in fact redefines poetry as a possibility for expressing political and other social conditions of those who create the art. But the idea isn’t new, of course." Nyla Matuk • The Literateur
"Sitting in the same classroom where Lowell had once curled over his desk, riffing on Milton before a group which then included Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and George Starbuck, it was now Derek delivering mesmerizing monlogues on Robert Graves’ The White Goddess, Auden, Braithwaite, Akhmatova, and Lorca to an intimate circle, which regularly accomodated visitors like Gertrude Schnackenberg, Rosanna Warren, and a shy bookstore clerk with a stentorian voice named Sven Birkerts. But the star of the class, clearly, was a young, sizzle-eyed poet named Melissa Green, with her frenzied hair and her impassioned staccato panegyrics on Horace’s Odes delivered, sometimes, apropos of nothing but the poet’s love of Horace." Askold Melnyczuk • Drunken Boat
"Reading The Beauty reminds me that Hirshfield spent eight years as a full-time Zen student, three of them in monastic silence. Speaking with Ilya Kaminsky and Katherine Towler, she refers to this time as “the diamond at the center of [her] life.””" Laura Donnelly • Kenyon Review

"Then, in the summer of 1964, Bunting received a phone call from the Newcastle poet Tom Pickard, who turned up at his house an hour later. “A boy of 18, long-haired and fairly ragged, with a fist full of manuscripts,” Bunting later recounted to Dorothy Pound. “He said: I heard you were the greatest living poet.”" Christopher Spaide • New Yorker
"So, at the end of the episode, Dwight is giving this monologue of the perfect crime, and I was just really struck by the rhythm and syntax of his monologue. Something about it struck me, so I transcribed it, and I did a sort of negative translation of that speech, and then I worked with that to produce this poem." Camille Rankine • Divedapper

"But the organising committee got more than they bargained for when Ms Higgins sent them her work. They had, perhaps, been expecting a paean to the many glories of Galway extolling its manifest virtues as a gateway to the Atlantic coast, and an unrepentant bastion of the arts, the native language, music, dance, theatre and literature." Jerome Reilly Sunday Independent
"Such was the import of a note that I recently found in a library copy of Mallarmé’s selected letters: “Please pray that God would give me the patience and perseverance to get through this next week.”" Alex Ross • New Yorker
"Those who expect poetry to be laid out in a traditional manner and with rhymes may be disappointed. I, too, love such poetry when it is done well. But please do not be put off." Nick Lezard • Guardian
"The presence of rhyme in ‘France Now’ is fooling and foolish. Making a neat couplet like, “It’s absurd in France to be a Jew / Because someone will want to murder you”, is galling in its trite, satisfying way, but it keeps the fact of the poem as something written and constructed as part of the poem. This is important – for Seidel, poetry is awkward and persistent but it does not make bad things good (even if it makes them rhyme)." Edwina Attlee The Poetry Review
"Maybe it was fine to try and write a sort of mesh of poems, to allow connections of seemingly disparate things, if it felt correct or if they leapt out. I think in the past I’d tried to keep my poems quite isolated from one another, seeing overlap as a weakness or laziness of sorts, or betraying a lack of imagination." Rebecca Perry The Poetry Review
"It is not Turkish Dada, in fact it hardly resembles Dada at all; there is no sense of being released into free play. It is 300 pages of writings concerning “things”, taking various strategies, some bizarre, to locate something like the meaning or essence, or perhaps thingness, of things. Whether it does locate anything like this, or even wants to, is an open question. The “things” are not necessarily objects; in fact any noun seems to qualify: water, stones, golden oriole, roundness, slug, bra, sentences, book, numbers, house… It is perhaps justified to call the pieces “meditations” on these things." Peter Riley Fortnightly Review
"So, as I sat before Galway Kinnell, Ruth Stone, Maxine Kumin, Robert Bly, Gerald Stern, Philip Levine, Jack Gilbert, Lucille Clifton, and Donald Hall on the figurative dirt floors of their respective book-filled huts during the interviews I conducted with them between 2008 and 2011, I learned like a fool that the truths they imparted were unteachable, despite their memorable "music," residing solely within them as unique, original expressions that they had forged in the darkness of their "deep wells." Their wisdom made memorable sense, but it wasn't mine, and yes I was often initially shocked by their answers." Chard deNiord Cortland Review
"It is from this camouflage that the superegoic injunction “learn and enjoy”—as Ian Parker has phrased it in his Psychoanalytic Mythologies—is revealed. Thus it is that we must take the author’s advice, as he discusses production—on which he is an emerging theoretical voice to watch (or rather listen) out for—of capitalist subjectivity through enjoyment, and be wary of enjoyocentrism: “the text ought always to be [read] against the grain of its enjoyment, our own enjoyment often showing not our resistance to the structures of our capitalist society but our complicity within it. The enjoyment therefore is productive of capitalist subjectivity.”" Daniel Bristow on Alfie Bown The Critical Flame
"Working this way allows the critic to “think less about completed products and more about text in process; less about individual authorship and more about collaboration; less about originality and more about remix….” One such tool may be Text Mechanic, a text manipulator. This simple website can sort lists alphabetically or by line length (in either ascending or descending order); it can reverse the order of the lines or shuffle them; it can add or remove line breaks." Ty Clever The Critical Flame
"This appeal to reality, traces of whose original perfection persist on earth and which it is the poet’s task to collect and reassemble, haunts Bonnefoy’s poetry and his attempt to recreate “le vrai lieu” – the real world – uncontaminated by any kind of intellectual interference." Andrew McCulloch TLS
"As for T. S. Eliot, Griffith’s assertion that Eliot had ‘no especial interest in science and possibly even a slight disdain for it’ deserves much closer attention. For example, on 31 December 1922, the month in which The Waste Land was published in book form (having previously appeared in October’s first edition of The Criterion) T. S. Eliot wrote to his brother that he regretted ‘innumerable gaps’ in his knowledge and that there was ‘so much that I should like to know in the various sciences’ – hardly disdainful.6 In November and early December, in letters to Pound, Eliot had already spoken of wanting The Criterion (his response to The Athenaeum’s decline following its amalgamation with The Nation in 1921) to be a review ‘as unliterary as possible’." Duncan MacKay PN Review
"I had judged the Foyle and run the course back in 2006, and seven years on, the Foyle young poets group I had taught were scything through Oxbridge, publishing poetry pamphlets with Faber, writing for the national press, and all the time networking frantically. By mixing together this group of exceptionally talented youngsters – many of them privileged but a few definitely not – that course had forcefully changed most of their lives. I wanted some of that for our students: not just the poetry, but the sense of entitlement, and, yes, the networking too." Kate Clanchy Guardian
"Groarke’s poetry has always been a singularly gorgeous one, and this volume follows the arc of that highly sensuous, highly attuned voice through its various incarnations." Caitriona O'Reilly Irish Times
"He himself believed that his scientific studies would eventually be seen as more significant than his literary output. Today, most would agree that the essence of his work will be found in his poetry and plays, but the search for the centre is complicated by seismic shifts in style and attitude." Osman Durrani TLS
"Although reading private letters and journals should feel like snooping, something about the immediacy of Byron’s prose makes it seem, as in his poetry, that he is sharing an intimate secret or amusing anecdote intended just for us. After his wedding, he wrote to his new aunt Lady Melbourne to say it went well apart from the uncomfortable cushions in the church, “which were stuffed with Peach-stones I believe – and made me make a face that passed for Piety”." Colin Throsby TLS
"The rebellious, innovative [Rita Ann] Higgins is one of his distinctive heirs. Like Joyce, she knows just how to beat up the English language and her use of mythology, Irish language and Ireland’s past put her own inimitable stamp on her bang up-to-date present." Martina Evans Irish Times
"So there is quite a lot of Bunting’s writing which will strike that contemporary ear as resolutely minor. But what Bunting does with this ‘sharp study and long toil’ of prosody is to produce the marvellous long poems, or, as Bunting calls them, ‘sonatas’, of which the most famous is ‘Briggflatts’." Ian Pople Manchester Review
"He’s a man who thinks it clever to rhyme “stool cards,” “prison guards,” “stool bards,” “drool hards,” and “school yards.” Byron wept! Yet if you don’t read him, for the rude fancy as well as the occasional flights of terror, you’ll have missed something crudely eccentric—no, carnivalesque—in contemporary poetry." William Logan • New Criterion
"The meanings of his poems are not easily accessible but increasingly in latter years they have harked back to his childhood and to Bromsgrove." Gema Bate • Bromsgrove Advertiser
"I slowly realised as we travelled farther and farther from Oxford and nearer and nearer our destination that we were on a nostalgia journey, into the realms of Goldengrove, into Offa’s territory, and the nearer it we got so he became more and more animated." Andrew McNeillie • Clutag
"One of the fascinating aspects of this anthology is to note the cross currents and influences that have shaped the poetry included in it and to see how a legitimate desire to preserve one’s roots does not necessarily cut one off from the wider world." David Cooke • Manchester Review
"Bonnefoy's prose and poetry constitute a two-track adventure that has few equals since Baudelaire and Leopardi." Anthony Rudolf • The Fortnightly Review
"Sir Geoffrey Hill, one of England’s few indisputably major post-war poets, has died. Hill was a longstanding TLS contributor, publishing poems and review-essays with us, most recently this Easter, with his piece on Charles Williams." Robert Potts • TLS
"Every poet has one party piece." Colm Toibin • Irish Times
"Now imagine that you’re a rat, two rats in fact, and you’ve been scavenging for scraps in a trench. And then you hear a pistol shot: your body and your ears explode with a sharp, percussive crack which, in its violence, seems cruel and absurdly disproportionate to whatever offence you’ve unwittingly given. You lie unmoving in the bottom of the trench, and wherever a rat’s spirit goes, that’s where your spirit goes." Tom Sleigh • Poetry Review
"I’m looking for poetry I can’t resist. Poetry that arrests me, reads me its riot act, signals my rights, detains me with its linguistic and thematic force (high volume or seductively subtle), and liberates me with a subtext of human culpability, vulnerability, acceptance, and possibility, what Emily Dickinson would call its “costumeless consciousness.”" Lisa Russ Spaar • VQR
"It’s a well-known poem, but seemed, in the wake of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, to take on new meaning. “We are closed in,” writes Yeats in stanza two, as though he were looking up the long dark corridor of history, “and the key is turned on our uncertainty.”" Tara Bergin Irish Times
"When it comes to interpreting the arts, intellectual seriousness demands that we accept the limits of any given system or structure." Jed Perl • NYRB
"I don’t think I intend to make the world strange myself (as it already is) but just put feelers out into the ice over the river, which is exciting. Our normal language is not very thick with new thoughts. I refer a lot to angels, as they are poetic bridges we have perhaps concocted to help us explore the before and after of our lives." Medbh McGuckian • Wake Forest
"Elsewhere, and to my mind, more successfully, [Amali] Rodrigo focuses more fully on things as opposed to ideas. ‘Ossuary’, for example begins with a lovely, atmospheric description of the passage of time in the ossuary, ‘One bone fell upon another/ as a loved body deranged,/ femur to humerus, mandible/ to radius, to lie apart from faint/ quakes of loincloth spill, tinsel/ voices gone inside out, as if/ small hands of ash dropped/ through skin into salt longings.’" Ian Pople • Manchester Review
"Popularity and posterity are not synonymous. A select few manage both. Most manage neither. Others manage the former, but not the latter. Pick up a poetry periodical from the early 1960s and you will find W.D. Snodgrass, often bracketed with Philip Larkin. Larkin remains on the shelves of any provincial Waterstones, but you never see someone reading The Führer Bunker in a doctor’s waiting room." Tom Jenks • The Wolf
"Other poems in Loop of Jade make clearer the various forms of power against which [Sarah] Howe hopes to pit the multifarious, illusory space of poetry. Sometimes it is state censorship by the Chinese government, as in the excellent poem ‘Having just broken the water pitcher’, where a dissident blogger “ponders” the subversive possibility of homophonic puns in Chinese characters." Hugh Foley • Oxonian Review
"Anthologies are fraught, question-begging enterprises, as are translations. Who is in? Who isn’t? Is this or that poem (not) included? Does this translation truly capture that great summit of X or Y’s writing? And de Paor’s book will prompt its share of healthy conversations on those topics, but the overwhelming response of most readers to this anthology will be that a brilliant and various century of writing has been assembled." John McAuliffe • Irish Times
"Oswald first mentions Anne Carson and Robert Bringhurst, but seems to set them apart from her idea of Canadian poetry, which is based more on Moosewood Sandhills — a book I haven’t read, but the title strikes me as a two-word compendium of ideas non-Canadians associate with Canada. Based on this book, Oswald describes Canadian poetry as “a quiet discipline — watchful and outdoor”." Brooke Clark • Wow -- Canada!
"Oswald first mentions Anne Carson and Robert Bringhurst, but seems to set them apart from her idea of Canadian poetry, which is based more on Moosewood Sandhills — a book I haven’t read, but the title strikes me as a two-word compendium of ideas non-Canadians associate with Canada. Based on this book, Oswald describes Canadian poetry as “a quiet discipline — watchful and outdoor”." Brooke Clark • Wow -- Canada!
"Canadian poets are interesting precisely when they steal the whole world for themselves and sing it in all its useless complexity." Michael Lista • The Walrus
"How they sound. What they’re like to read, for pleasure and instruction. Something like that. In other words, they would be poems that you read because you wanted to read poems. Rather than, say, [the gossip column] Page Six of the New York Post." Frederick Seidel • Guardian
"Amongst a tradition that values neat poignancy angling towards resolution, he is our foremost poet of the troublesome indeterminacy of sadness and embarrassment." Charles Whalley on Luke Kennard • Literateur
"In Gibbons’s most autobiographical chapter, the character of his teacher, the British-born Donald Davie (1922–1995), is dissected for those same qualities. Estranged from London literary culture as a Northerner and Baptist, Davie immigrated to California (of all places) to inherit Yvor Winters’s position as the traditionalist of the English-department faculty at Stanford University. Gibbons, and indeed the whole of late-’60s culture, were against Davie, who struggled against his conservativism and tried to train himself into a greater openness." Ange Mlinko • The Nation
"About the matter of poetic projects, I am, as about many things, agnostic — a diagnostic mark, some might say, of my lack of commitment, my being on the wrong team. As someone partial some days to Keats’s proclamation that, “if poetry comes not as naturally as the Leaves to a tree, it had better not come at all,” I find Lasky’s hostility to projects salutary." Maureen N McLane • LARB
"There’s also room for experimental work, with digital poetry now more widely known and a lot of visual or audio poetry installed in public places – and, as you mention, there is a wave of interesting new poets, including Rebecca Perry, Sam Riviere, Russell Jones, Harry Mann, Fiona Benson, et cetera. So I would say that poetry is thriving in its world – but there is a wider context, in which the arts are being undervalued in schools and universities and underfunded across the country. I do think our culture is suffering from the unequal education systems that now operate over here." Alice Oswald • Globe & Mail
"Few today have heard of [Lola] Ridge, but her impact on America society cannot be denied. She was that rarest of creature: a poet whose work brought real, tangible change. Ridge’s poem about Sacco and Vanzetti, for instance, was duplicated by the thousands, passed hand-to-hand among activists, and would help free the labor activist Tom Mooney from unjust incarceration." Zara Raab • The Critical Flame
"Like certain words in English poetry, he came to believe, Buddha faces could be regarded as expressing at least two and sometimes many different meanings at the same time; and the sculptural convention that allowed this was asymmetry, with the left and right sides of the Buddha’s face showing different emotions or spiritual states." Kevin Jackson • Literary Review
"Lerner is fascinated by the question of why people dislike poetry—and most important, why poets dislike potery. A wry, highly self-conscious guide, he lures us in by sharing with the reader that, at events, when he or another poet is introduced, the words I, too, dislike it run through his head. When he is teaching or discussing poetry, the phrase sometimes takes on “the feel of negative rumination and sometimes a kind of manic, mantric affirmation, as close as I get to unceasing prayer.”" Meghan O'Rourke • Bookforum
"All these adjectives point to a poet who is hard to categorize and not really like anyone else at all. They also, often, suggest a writer who has been marginalized as an oddity. Now, forty-five years after her death, bound inside this large annotated collection, she can be celebrated as a major English poet of the twentieth century. She is a writer of astonishing skill, range, comedy, and depth of feeling; she is inimitable, strange, and utterly original." Hermione Lee • NYRB
"So taken in are we by [Wallace Stevens'} conviction that the fates had dealt him a lousy hand that we’re thrown for a loop when, at age twenty-eight, Stevens—who at the time was working as a legal advisor for the Equitable Life Assurance Company—runs down to Washington, D.C., to meet with President Theodore Roosevelt to discuss getting “the country back on its feet in the wake of the financial downturn.” Pretty impressive. Why, then, wasn’t this level of achievement enough for him? How did he come by his sky-high expectations? To whose life was he comparing his own?" Bruce Bawer • Hudson Review
" But [Robert] Bridges’s effort had one welcome result. It influenced his daughter, Elizabeth Daryush, who understood from her father that the normal speech stresses of English syllables could offer an exciting sound, and one differing from traditional metric verse. She also realised that a breakdown in regulation could push her poems into a post-First-World-War society. Daryush is possibly the first English poet to write in modern syllabics." Claire Crowther • PN Review



New poems

Dean Young Threepenny Review

Janet Rogerson The Literateur

Rebecca Watts Guardian

Claudia Rankine Boston Review

Lisa Kelly PN Review

Derek Mahon Gallery

Les Murray PN Review

Dorothea Lasky The White Review

Daisy Fried Poetry

Rachel Boast The Compass

Thylias Moss Boston Review

Kiki Petrosino PEN America

Tom French The Honest Ulsterman

Frank Ormsby Poetry Ireland Review

Shane Neilson Canadian Notes & Queries

Nyla Matuk New Yorker

Vahni Capildeo Guardian

Chad Campbell The Puritan

Ross White Greensboro Review

A.E. Stallings The Atlantic

Monica Youn The Paris Review

JT Welsch The Literateur

Jenny Bornholdt The Spinoff

Justin Quinn New Yorker

Terrance Hayes Prairie Schooner

Sam Riviere Blackbox Manifold

Matthew Welton Prac Crit

Michael Longley Southword

Denise Riley Guardian

Lynne Hjelmgaard Guardian

James Richardson New Yorker

Monica Youn Paris Review

TR Hummer Blackbird

John Ashbery Boston Review

Harry Man Poems in Which

Ruth Ellen Kocher At Length

Claudia Emerson Blackbird

Peter Gizzi Poetry

James Womack PN Review

Leontia Flynn Poetry Ireland Review

Vona Groarke Irish Times

Geoffrey Hill Guardian

Kathryn Maris New Statesman

Doireann Ní Ghríofa Manchester Review

Rebecca Perry Poetry Review

Carmine Starnino The Manchester Review

Nyla Matuk Manchester Review

Patrick Mackie New Statesman

Harry Giles Guardian

Alicia Ostriker Massachusetts Review

Jana Prikryl Harpers

Nyla Matuk The Literateur

Nyla Matuk The Literateur

Brett Foster Kenyon Review

Mark Waldron Poetry London

AF Moritz The High Window

Tom Sleigh Threepenny Review

Andrea Cohen Cincinnati Review / Poetry Daily

John Ashbery Boston Review



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