The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
"It was on a whim that he went to a weekend conference on Turing around the time of his centenary in 2012, and then began reading about philosophy of mind. This was a difficult time for Eaves. He had been arts editor at the TLS for 17 years, where it was a struggle to carve out imaginative space to write fiction. He left in 2011 to teach English and creative writing at the University of Warwick, but though his third novel, the family saga This Is Paradise, and a poetry collection [Sound Houses (Carcanet)] were coming out, he felt that creatively he had “nothing else in the tank at all”." Justine Jordan Guardian
"There are lyrical touches in essays such as “Rogue Thoughts in Coole Park”, in which [Rita Ann Higgins] writes: “An adjective like blissful was swanning around in my head but I never let it out for fear of shattering the stillness.” There is a sense that the lyrical cannot be indulged in until the problems of the world have been tackled first." Amanda Bell DRB
"The British reader is reminded, here, of J. H. Prynne’s writing, the exotic, technical language exactly placed, the sense of a precisely visualized scene, both present and also seen slightly out of the corner of one’s layman’s eye. [Forrest] Gander is perhaps different to Prynne in that the title of the sequence, the fact that its sections are named alternately, ‘Entrance’ and ‘Exit’, and the black and white photographs which accompany the poems, all point towards a closely particularised trajectory for the sequence." Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"if the wider tone of his oration was designed to get up the nose of those in the audience, it seems to have worked; I.A. Richards was reported as saying that it would take poetry twelve years to mend the damage that Housman had caused in an hour, an anecdote Housman was pleased to record and repeat." Simon Armitage The Poetry Review
"There are autobiographical pieces, poems of history and imagination and, in The Great Unburned, there are witches overhead: “Slow at first, over fields and fences, / over the god-fearing steeples we’ll climb, our broomsticks / tight in the grip of our shameless, fantastical thighs.” It is a poem of formidable skill (that “fantastical” perversely and satisfyingly makes the witches real) and written in the hinged form Copus invented (she dubbed it the “specular”). The second half of the poem mirrors the first, and yet the doubling back is not straightforward – the punctuation changes and you lose some italics. You never enter the same poem/ river/ flight path twice." Kate Kellaway Observer
"Today, with 28 collections to his name, Armitage is part of the national curriculum and his work deeply embedded in the British psyche – as well as carved into the Pennines, where poems appear on six “Stanza Stones” between Marsden and Ilkley. Having produced everything from a translation of the Middle English poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to a more recent poetic look at a world in meltdown, The Unaccompanied, he is one of the UK’s bestselling poets." Alison Flood Guardian
"At sixteen, waiting out a bomb scare at her high school while next to a display of dissected insects, Souvankham Thammavongsa wrote a poem called “Frogs.” She treated the poem as if it would be her last. “I didn’t want to go out without it being my choice—or at least without an argument,” she said in an interview. “I was angry.”" Anita Lahey • The Walrus

"I had been a nun for almost 20 years and was facing both my 40th birthday and a major life decision when I first encountered Bishop’s poetry in my doctoral program at George Washington University in DC." Patricia Dwyer • Lit Hub

"Murray struck against what he called the “imperial trap of exclusion”. He wrote within a tradition defined by the Scottish writers Hugh MacDiarmid and Sorley MacLean (he had a strong poetic and ancestral link to Scotland); by Robert Frost and Robinson Jeffers; by a host of poets he celebrated in essays and tributes. Only, not the Anglo-American modernists. His impatience with Ezra Pound and TS Eliot was unwobbling." Michael Schmidt Guardian
"What we now have here is the collected poetry of a singular and driven voice. A poet who travelled widely both literally and imaginatively into some of the most difficult corners of the late twentieth century world; from Wormwood Scrubs prison, to the moors of his northern England, from Amish Pennsylvania to ‘a Sarajevo bread queue’. Part of Smith’s drive is to inhabit these places as nakedly and fully as he possibly could, and to write as clearly and unsparingly as he could about that inhabiting. Sometimes, therefore, he can remind the reader of an entirely different poet, someone like Keith Douglas, a poet whose voice and writing seems of another kind to that of his contemporaries. This book shows how hugely successful Smith was as a poet, and what a resource he provides for those writing in his wake." Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"The world could come to Bunyah, New South Wales, as he went out and read his poems to an international audience. A traveller who could bring a “bat’s ultrasound” right into the room (via his poem of that name), Les had one of the most fervent and avid intellects I have encountered. Although university educated, he was a fierce autodidact, whose facility for foreign languages informed the etymological plays and departures of his poetry." John Kinsella Guardian "Les Murray, celebrated Australian writer and Carcanet poet, has passed away at the age of 80. We have published his work for well over 30 years, and he was a true friend of Carcanet." Carcanet
"He effectively sets the tone of emergency with an essay on Scott Timberg’s lament Culture Crash: The killing of the creative class. The numbers are indeed dismal. Eighty per cent of American newspaper and magazine cultural critics have been fired in the twenty-first century. This is partly what Giraldi means when he says the danger is real. The material conditions that created our inherited idea of a thriving literary culture – that is, the mid-twentieth-century idea – are vanishing." Michael LaPointe TLS
"Sometimes, when it is time for them to go out again, they don’t wish to leave. Eddie, the youngest and largest at eighteen months old, will reluctantly sit on a glove and let me take him back out to the aviary, but Charlie and Max, more than four years old, don’t like the glove. So, I point at the open door, I tell them “bedtime” and stroke their tailfeathers. This is their signal to go." Frieda Hughes TLS
"[T]he only part of the AWP conference worth attending is the part that is not the AWP conference." Jasper Bernes, Joshua Clover, and Juliana Spahr • Jacket2
"Stanley Plumly, a poet and University of Maryland professor who served as the state’s poet laureate for nine years and also published well-regarded nonfiction studies on literary and artistic subjects, died April 11 at his home in Frederick, Md. He was 79." Matt Schudel • Washington Post

"It’s as though Minnis’s newest work is accidentally political, just as her early work was accidentally feminist." Sandra Simonds Poetry
"I like to look at the words in a poem I’m translating as if they were objects: specifically, objects on display in a market stall in a foreign country." Annie Muir LAFF
"Formal poetry, narrative verse, satirical verse or light verse, dramatic verse—all these options have, with a few exceptions, largely vanished from mainstream poetry. Poems now are almost exclusively concerned with the feelings of a speaker who appears to be, at most, a slightly distanced version of the poet." Brooke Clark • The Walrus

"The business of poetry is remarkably good at devaluing the art of poetry.”" Jonathan Ebersole • Tourniquet Review

"From the intertwining anecdotes of the etymological, historical, botanical and political, [CD] Wright’s germinal thesis branches out with a bold statement that “minus the expectations, trees and humans do manifest a common gestalt.” What is it? In a typically learned and wide-ranging reference, Wright enlists Simone Weil to explain: “To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul.”" Carol Muske-Dukes NYT
"In a country prone to disaster and rife with atrocity, the Filipino poet, myself included, responds to disaster or atrocity by writing poetry about it. In some instances, the magnitude of the death toll, or the extent of the violence, can drive a poet to mobilize other poets to write more poems, to post the poems on social media to reach a wider audience, perhaps put together an anthology, perhaps donate the sales from the anthology to the victims. Such gestures seem to restate even as they conceal the division between aesthetics and politics. There is something amiss in collective action when all that comes out of it is more poetry." Conchitina Cruz • Bloomsbury
"The gorge was the secondary location for the Games. There was hunting with eagles, bone tossing, horseback archery and dog racing, contests for singing and weaving, oral narration. One event was simply called “honouring a grandmother”. The quickest way between events was to take a horse. It was easy to feel at home in this faux-medieval world. Loudspeakers hidden in wooden towers intermittently played epic movie-soundtrack music. Hungarian archers wandered about looking for a place to charge their phones. A couple of Saudi falconers sat on the ground, drinking coffee. Yaks grazed behind them. Tall Kyrgyz wolf-hunting dogs were led to their starting traps for a race. Golden eagles slept, tied to a post or resting on the back of a stationary horse. As night fell, wedding parties started up, complete with feasting and dancing. Over the five-day festival, more than twenty marriage ceremonies were held in Kyrchyn gorge." Peter Frederick Matthews TLS
"The cry instances and surpasses Eliot’s formulation in ‘Marina’ – “Living to live in a world of time beyond me” – for Seferis makes time and self into something beyond, and that beyond is, again, the marvellous real. Because the poet finally is not interested in documentation but exaltation." Ishion Hutchinson on George Seferis The Poetry Review
"Paul Klee said that ‘[a]rt does not reproduce the visible; it makes visible’. Murray may have written about ‘inlocked worlds’ and ‘inlocked hands’, of an anchorite living in an irreversible reclusory complete with a walled-up door, but she continually pushed against those boundaries and limitations, against the unknown. It is little wonder, then, that in Murray’s world the body becomes the landscape, something more substantially durable and enduring. ‘It is a bit worrying that I so rarely feel even a momentary belonging’, she confides in Auden. While Yeats talked about poetry as the thinking of the body, there is also a sense of what Emerson called ‘alienated majesty’ in Murray’s writing, suffused as it is with veils and sphinxes, hieroglyphs and symbols, seals and bones, something Delphic, distinguished, mysterious, that needs deciphering: ‘An illusion of dream veils the symbol of the symbol, / Puts its seal upon the head, a birthmark to the bone.’" Jena Schmitt on Joan Murray PN Review
"Thus, one way into Koethe’s writing is the sense that it is discursive; that it explores issues verbally. In Koethe’s case this means, to some extent, moving away from description to an exploration of, particularly, relationships, emotions, inner states. Koethe, himself, in his book of essays on poetry, Poetry at One Remove, published in 2000, comments, ‘an overly narrow view of [poetry’s] range and possibilities, one that insists on the concrete and particular and proscribes the abstract and discursive … strikes me as pernicious…’" Ian Pople Manchester Review
"What went unmentioned was the pile of seventeen steamer trunks, each bound in twine with sealed knots, lying between two basement elevators. These mysterious, unlabeled trunks were surrounded by the fog of forbidden knowledge that gathers about the surviving blocks of Plato’s Academy and the ruins of the ruins of Palmyra. At last I had the courage to ask. They contained Ezra Pound’s papers, awaiting the end of a lawsuit over ownership.”" Willian Logan • The New Criterion

"Discover, omit, place, genuine, imaginary, garden, real, toads, poetry, reading, contempt. I write these terms on the board and we turn them over in our mouths and minds. We mix and match. We play. We discover. We omit." Jacquelyn Ardam • LARB
"The pleasure in A Violent Streak is knowing [Stephanie] Warner will push the limit; just short of a game of literary chicken, she is never out of control.”" Elee Kraljii Gardiner • BCBOOKLOOK

"Lines such as ‘You are greatly disappointed in Obama’s foreign policy / You think the great American novelist in David Foster Wallace’ could have come directly from the Guy In Your MFA twitter account.”" Nell Osbourne • The Compass

"This past Super Moon Vernal Equinox, America lost one of its greatest poets. Linda Alouise Gregg was born on September 9, 1942, in Suffern, NY, with her twin sister, Louise Belinda Gregg. They subsequently grew up on the west coast in Marin County, riding horses in a camp their father ran, running with deer on hills that rolled from Forest Knolls all the way down to Point Reyes. Such paradisiacal landscapes figure prominently throughout Linda’s body of work.”" Timothy Liu • Literary Hub

"The limestone headstone bears the epitaph WB Yeats composed himself: 'Cast a cold Eye On Life, on death. Horseman, pass by!' Now, over 70 years after the burial, previously unseen colour film of the event has emerged which had lain in a box in attics and wardrobes in several different houses around the country." Eileen Magnier RTE
"When asked by a newspaper what I felt about the [UNESCO City of Literature] designation I mumbled something about not being sure what it meant but that if it resulted in practical initiatives that promoted literature then it would be a good thing. But even as I spoke the words I felt as if I had taken a mouthful of corporate chewing gum. It was as if the weight of official approval, of municipal and ministerial good cheer was somehow too much." Peter Sirr DRB
"This is Michelle O’Sullivan’s third collection; her first appeared in 2012. I had been attracted by single poems before then, but the weight of her three books, and especially this one, convinces me that her work deserves to find its way to attentive readers. Readers who will not try to fit her into any boxes narrower than the big one marked “poets”, who will appreciate her skill with language, her alertness to the deep music of the world." Eilean Ni Chuilleanain DRB
"Merwin was one of the world's greatest poets of loss, chronicling the human condition as well as the destruction of the environment wrought by industrialization with immense feeling as well as an ascetic sense of acceptance, inflected by his Buddhist practice. “One of the things that’s hard to talk to people about is that knowledge is all that we know—which is admirable and impressive and fantastic and unique—is nothing in comparison with what we don’t know," he wrote. "And it will always be nothing—the unknown is always going to be far greater. If you focus on anger, you lose touch with why you’re defending something in the first place: that you revere it and love it and respect it."" Bridget Read Vogue "Merwin was also a lifelong environmentalist. Over decades, he slowly transformed a plot of land on Maui’s north shore into a thriving, 19-acre palm forest." Hawaii News Now
"In an early formulation—a 1933 letter to R. P. Blackmur—he referred to “the Whitmanian trick of writing loose poetry about a loose country, or the Joycian trick of going crazy to express madness.”" Leo Robson • The New Yorker

"The differing accounts that readers form of Collins’s poetry cannot be proven false. One reader may find the collection entirely personal; another might find it remote as deep space. Who Is Mary Sue? will speak in as many voices as it has readers. Male writers have long been offered this multiplicity. Who Is Mary Sue? is a welcome example of a female writer claiming it for herself and for others." Lily Meyer Poetry
"There is a main axiom in art: you should respect the audience. I do not care about all this, nor do they bother me. You know the picture swallows us. I attempt my own images not to overlap reality. For me, poetry evolves formally through new language appointments. In fact, verbal, syntactic and formal experimentation is of great interest, but I do not consider poetry the theatricalisation of cliché." Yiannis Antiochou • Greek News Agenda

"He just wasn’t interested in the abstract. He wanted to get down to cases. I’m just thinking of his teaching twentieth-century poetry. He loved the thing itself. He loved the poems. He probably loved the poets, too. But as far as turning it into some wonderful philosophical something, no, not at all. He wasn’t interested in that." Nancy Gardner Williams Paris Review
"In Baxter’s rejection of Brasch’s aestheticism we can see how far away he is, not just from the refined and somewhat snobbish editor of Landfall, but from the modernist assumptions of the nationalist mainstream – elders like Curnow and Sargeson, but also his key contemporaries (Frame, Duggan, Smithyman et al). To Baxter as a humanist, a Christian and activist there are always more important things to worry about than poetry." John Newton The Spinoff
"“lips-gear scalpel batter, ” for instance, or “love droid voice ”; “global badger-tetanus, ” “lie flan debit mash liability, ” “beauty vanilla bonds, ” “Yakult / spine cooler, ” “carnauba wax rissole, ” and “elf neon crossbar. ” The ploy is at once hysterically funny and deadly serious; it shakes an apotropaic totem of verbal absurdity at capital’ s pitiless extinction of true names, even as it bundles nouns into new, untold composites that the poem’ s light must bend around. [...] [The ode] is the mode in which he has actuated the remarkable (and as yet unheralded) shift from coterie poet to public poet, honing a voice through which increasingly to inveigh, accuse, and anathematize the enemy, but also to celebrate, inspire, and commemorate the resistance. " Julian Murphet Chicago Review
"My memory is that we were on that gently descending path for an hour but I found out later that it’s only about 400 feet long. The slowness was in the time it took for me to adjust to the unfolding scale of this journey and my need to keep re-making the decision that I was not going to turn back, which had the effect of returning me in my mind to the start." Lavinia Greenlaw The White Review
"I have only one criticism and one request of the editors and publishers. Volume four of these letters appeared 13 years ago. When the first few volumes appeared, in the 1980s and 1990s, the poet’s daughter, Anne Yeats, remarked to me that she’d be dead before they all appeared. I replied: “Miss Yeats, we’ll all be dead before they appear.”" Anthony Roche Irish Times
" That day, we were back with Donne again: “The Sun Rising”, one of the language’s greatest love poems, as fresh and exultant now as it was when it was written four centuries ago. But rather than scouring the work of Forward or Pulitzer prize winners to find something to read with it, this time I turned to YouTube. The poem I chose was Hollie McNish’s “Watching Miserable-Looking Couples in the Supermarket”." Sarah Crown Guardian
"Thynne likes Duffy, but works by contemporary young poets like Helen Mort, Caroline Bird, Sarah Howe and Rebecca Perry particularly struck a chord. “You read that you’re not alone, that what you’re going through is normal,” she says." Donna Ferguson Guardian
"Many of us find ourselves seeming like we’re fighting for the interests of the artist, but we’re really fighting for the interests of the economy, or in the interest of performative personality." Hanif Abdurraqib in conversation with Nawal Arjini • The Nation
"England is to be re-found in the encapsulation of its qualities by acts of enlightenment, in which landscape, geology and language are united in an individual experience felt as a kind of epiphany or a glimpse of the total, also an authentic re-mapping to counter the falsity of the decadent late Romantic and ironic versions. It is important that these acts, be they writing, painting, music or whatever, are not mere representations; they are direct creation of the other and real place in its other world, which is the only way there is to reach and restore the one we live in. The discourse is exhortatory rather than analytical, operating at two extremes: the particular and individual or “local”, and the most ambitious bid for remote distance, the tension between these two forming the total. Realisations of the present and of ancient time, prehistoric or geological, are the bases of an over-arching juncture which is a refuge, a shelter making the work possible, and a protection from alien temptations into the pastoral dream. The English focus protects, for instance, from the pseudo-heroic false colours of Scotland or Ireland because it is where you are." Peter Riley Fortnightly Review
"Reading [James] Lord's claim in Plausible Portraits that "From the beginnings of civilization, it has been the human likeness which has most preoccupied man," Cole is moved to express his desire that poetry should be a kind of intense portrait: "I want to write poems that are X-rays of the soul in moments of being and seeing. This includes the ghastly, the insane, and the cruel, but also beauty, Eros, and wonder."" V Joshua Adams Pop Matters
"But then thoughts are sometimes so delicious precisely because they can’t be expressed, their complexity does not permit them to exist. Such thoughts in their dark ingenuity parallel the work of the Soviet paper architects (the followers of Piranesi’s Imaginary Prisons) whose baroque and unconstructable designs were an antidote to Soviet planned architecture with its permitted ceiling heights and mandatory rubbish chutes. Paper architecture was the victory of the dreamer over the builder, the idler over the achiever." Sasha Dugdale PN Review
"Scholarly purists prefer the laconic Latin title Petrarch himself gave it: Rerum vulgarium fragmenta. The adjective vulgaris is a lexical description, referring to the fact that the poems are in Tuscan rather than Latin, so the title translates roughly as ‘Fragments of Things in the Vernacular’. The more obvious meaning, ‘Fragments of Everyday Things’, is also present, and perhaps ironic – to be disappointed in love is indeed a common experience, though when viewed through the distorting lens of 14th-century poetry it becomes something complicated and metaphysical. After Petrarch’s death in 1374 the collection acquired more aptly Italian titles. Rime sparse (‘Scattered Rhymes’) is taken from the opening lines of its first poem: ‘Voi ch’ascoltate in rime sparse il suono/di quei sospiri ond’io nudriva ’l core’ (‘You who hear in scattered rhymes the sound of those sighs I fed my heart with’). The most popular title is even simpler: Il Canzoniere (‘The Songbook’), which seems to express a sense of the work’s definitiveness as a collection of lyric poetry." Charles Nicholl LRB
"What to talk about to Ned Rorem? Frank O'Hara." Bill Berkson Poetry
"There are poignant metaphors for the rareness of a human birth. A needle thrown from the earth and a needle thrown from the sky. A blind turtle surfacing once a century and a yoke floating over the five oceans of the world. The needles meet mid air and the turtle lifts its head through the yoke. This is how we are all conceived." Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint • Territory

"Poetry can provide a necessary circular path, especially if you’re like me, where the page offers a place to think out loud. But poetry, simultaneously, provides a way OUT of the circularity and the spin. It can provide unexpected resolution—a quick turn, surprise, a daring jump, or rupture." Layli Long Soldier in conversation with Stephanie Sy-Quia • Review 31
"Saying that a poem always remains a question means that there will always be an infinite number of answers. Once there is an answer, the value of the question is a bit exhausted. But if a poem is constantly asking and constantly garnering different answers, different solutions, it remains something very fruitful. I think there can be many different answers to one poem, one question." Emily Jungmin Yoon in conversation with Lauren Kane • Paris Review
"[T]he issue of literary autonomy was among the deepest fault lines in the cultural cold war. Leftist thinkers, in the Arab world as elsewhere, formulated their own poetics and erected their own artistic canons, which emphasized the intrinsically political nature of literary activity. This helps explain why the tone of the Beiruti Modernists is so often embattled and even shrill. As opposed to their late-Modernist peers in Europe and America, the Arab poets could rarely afford the postures of polished certitude. Their anguish arose from the feeling that they had not only to preserve their museum of civilization but also to build one in the face of determined antagonists." Robyn Creswell • Paris Review
"Unlike most other contemporary writers, [Padraic] Fiacc had experienced life as a vulnerable emigrant, having been raised in New York in the 1920s and early 30s, and then uprooted from his family home and all its familiar securities. He embodied the diaspora condition in an intense and clearly unreconciled form. His work was often viewed with suspicion and, with equal measure, he was at times viewed as an unfathomable, unpredictable presence in the wider community." Gerald Dawe Irish Times
"[Aimee] Nezhukumatathil’s poems are like the ocean on a calm day: glittering, lovely, and eminently accessible on the surface. However, if you venture deeper into them they ask for all the dexterity and courage you can muster." Tamiko Beyer • Georgia Review
"People responded to [Martin Luther] King’s calls for peaceful protest not because they imagined they were invincible, [Nikki] Giovanni said, but because they knew they were imperiled. 'It was a dangerous time,' the poet recalled of the ’50s and’60s, especially for black Americans. 'You woke up everyday being surprised that you were alive.'" Emily Lordi • Atlantic
"Echoing [Charles] Olson’s metaphoric mapping of the social space of the magazine, Jack Spicer declared, in his lecture on 'Poetry and Politics' at the Berkeley Poetry Conference of 1965, that 'a magazine is a society.'" Mande Zecca • Jacket2
"[Y]our question makes me think about the difference between 'a walk' and 'walking'—something that this book project had me thinking about constantly as well. They are different. 'Walking' is goal-oriented, and I have a gait that I think of as 'transportation speed'—its purpose is to get you there, and it often does so faster than the metro or the bus. But when taking a walk, the walk and the walking are themselves the goals, and it's on those occasions that I incorporate chance or a constraint—though I'm often just led by whim." Cole Swensen in conversation with Maria Anderson • Rumpus
"People get to the easy line and they think that’s the end. But that’s actually the beginning. That’s where you know, 'Oh shit, now I gotta tell the truth because I just lied.'" Jericho Brown in conversation with Aaron Coleman • The Spectacle
"Guided by a mistrust of pastoral traditions which developed from this origin until they sentimentally omitted even the real conditions of a place or the material foundations of their tropes, [Nuala] Ní Dhomhnaill insists upon ‘the importance of literary activity in situ’ which can reclaim literary activity in Irish for popular culture rather than leaving it ‘to the devices of the scholarly elite’. In other words, place becomes vital here because it is quite literally accessible and tangible in a way that ‘tradition’ can never be." Hal Coase PN Review
"Despite being trans, [Ari Banias's] speaker is protected by whiteness, and by addressing this privilege, they can start working against white supremacy. The poem does the work of addressing other white people, and asking: Why are you complacent? Why do you feel safe?
" Eli Lynch-El Bechelany • EOAGH
"Maybe my favourite part of this story is when Hipparchia went with Crates to a dinner party. There she meets her nemesis: Theodoros the atheist. ‘Who is the woman who has left behind the shuttles of the loom?’ he asked, affronted. Anti-Penelope. Unnatural monster." Helen Rickerby • Turbine / Kapahau
"[A] writer needn’t think in rhyme and meter in order to produce a formal poem. If you make a habit of writing in form, however, you may begin to think in form." Elisa Gabbert • New York Review of Books
"It is when we consider the distance travelled between poems in terms of style, register and subject, that we realise how challenging Capildeo’s work is. The stark differences comprised between the two covers at times put the coherence and stability of the collection in danger. But thinking twice, who would want a book that thrives from radically embracing plurality to be fully unified?" Helena Fornells • The Scores
"[Ralph] Ellison --> Charles Johnson --> Robert Olen Butler --> Sam Lipsyte --> Wesley Stace --> Joshua Ferris --> [Eleanor] Catton[.]" Michael Maguire • Post45
"David Constantine’s elegant and moving translations are accompanied by a very useful set of annotations for most of the poems, and a glossary of the Greek names for those of us with post-classical educations. Holderlin has inspired a range of translators from Michael Hamburger, whom Constantine generously acknowledges at various times in the book, to Edwin Muir, John Riley and Daniel Bosch. This Selected clearly shows why. Holderlin’s endless search for the nature of that poetic truth seems as relevant to the baffled twenty-first century as it would have been to the young German at the end of the eighteenth century bathing in the heady waters of nascent German romanticism." Ian Pople • Manchester Review
"I have noticed that students, in reading and analysing literature, often gravitate toward symbols, and many of them, in writing fiction, strive to create characters and actions that can be elevated to a symbolic level. These inclinations come at a cost. Characters conscripted to serve, and to serve as, symbols are obliged to follow a more predictable script. In a chapter titled 'Symbolon', in Anne Carson's Eros the Bittersweet, she writes: 'To give names to nameless things by transference [metaphora] from things kindred or similar in appearance' is how Aristotle describes the function of metaphor.' To approximate what cannot be achieved is a gesture of humility, but symbols, we often see now, serve too eloquently the already named." Yiyun Li • Guardian
"With prose, all I need is time to think and I can generate it pretty easily; a lot of my thoughts are already in prose. Poetry is harder. I feel like I have less material, and I can’t waste it, so it’s this delicate, concentrated operation not to screw it up. It feels like there’s some required resource I deplete. And I have to change my process entirely every three or four years if I’m going to write poems at all." Elisa Gabbert • Poets and Writers
"[Eric] Bennett’s argument is a persuasive reminder that certain seemingly timeless criteria of good writing are actually the product of historically bound political agendas, and it will be especially useful to anyone seeking to expand the repertoire of stylistic strategies taught within creative-writing programs." Timothy Aubry • New York Times
"Even though I felt like I didn’t have time for anything, I found the time to do a lot of karaoke, which is a very good way to stay out too late and ignore your problems. I do karaoke so often that I barely even have a go-to song. Here is a selection (seriously! not exhaustive!) of the songs I sang at karaoke over the past couple of years, while I was writing many of the essays that ended up in The Word Pretty." Elisa Gabbert • largehearted boy
"Constructed in the tradition of dos-à-dos or tête-bêche binding, the edition has two front covers: lo terciario and the tertiary. The Spanish and English texts are rotated 180° relative to one another, such that the bilingual reader, halfway in, would rotate the book upside down to read the collection in its entirety. Or—if you are an anglophone reader, like myself—you are made literally aware that you are reading only one half of the book." Amy Paeth • Jacket2
"Like Emily Dickinson’s, these pinpoint-accurate, visionary structures coalesce into a remarkable body of work – from the early poems recounting travel in Pakistan and Tibet, to the more local concerns of The Queen of Sheba (1994) where you can almost hear Jamie hitting her stride: something mysterious happens in her work around this time, a quickening of vision, a greater confidence perhaps; whatever it is, it reaches a climax in Jizzen and the stunning nature poems of The Tree House (2004)." Caitriona O'Reilly The Irish Times
"The price of [Ezra] Pound’s survival, as [Daniel] Swift sees it, was a public renunciation of his authority as a writer and thinker. Having spent decades setting himself up as an expert not only in literature but in politics, economics, history, anthropology, and Sinology, among other fields, Pound was now admitting that he lacked the mental competence to stand trial. The Cantos was meant to be 'a poem containing history' that synthesized all Pound knew and believed into an epic masterpiece that would help put civilization on the right track in the 20th century. Now it was used as an exhibit demonstrating its author’s incoherence." Evan Kindley • The Nation
"[T]he poem has the busy, fragmented look of one of Ezra Pound’s cantos, but where Pound needed to stitch together textual quotations 'by hand,' as it were, in order to achieve the same effect, [Allen] Ginsberg lets the machine collect evidence for him." Evan Kindley • Poetry
"Poetry is as intimate as it is non-remunerative, a tiny part of the small word of books where writers lay themselves bare and mine the darkest corners of their lives for art. To steal the words of another poet isn’t just theft, but violation." Kat Rosenfield • Vulture
"By memorizing the spatial layout of a building and assigning images or ideas to its various rooms, one could 'walk' through the imaginary building and retrieve the ideas relegated to the separate parts." Aysegul Savas • Paris Review
"His son William (Butler Yeats) diagnosed “infirmity of will” as the ailment that prevented him from finishing his pictures: “He even hates the sign of will in others…the qualities which I thought necessary to success in art or in life seemed to him ‘egotism’ or ‘selfishness’ or ‘brutality.’”" Clair Wills NYRB
"As Moore and Bishop roamed New York together, visiting museums or the circus, Bishop absorbed her mentor’s faith in accuracy profoundly. She came to resist metaphor and what she referred to as “the terrible generalizing of emotion”, and stick to simile and “plain facts”." Lucy Ingrams Magma
"[Miles] Champion’s poetry is much more varied than just the language-oriented writing. And often there is a gentle wit running through these poems which makes them warm and involving in a way that’s unusual in much of this kind of poetry." Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"Is artistry the right word? At one level, I suppose it has to be, but artistry suggests to me a consciousness of what one is doing. But that isn’t, in my experience, how poems get written. Rather, I just write my poems–and sure, there’s revision, I might rearrange words to avoid redundant sound patterns, or revise unneeded language away." Carl Phillips At Length
"[MSS] only lasted three issues: when [John] Gardner published “The Pedersen Kid” by his part-friend, part-foe [William] Gass, the United States Postal Service threatened a 30-count obscenity lawsuit because of the story. He couldn’t afford it." Nick Ripatrazone * Lit Hub
"I have become an advocate—I dare say an activist—for the inclusion of non-Anglophone works of 'World Literature' in English translation alongside works of 'Global Anglophone' literature in our seminars and Masters exam lists. Why? Because we cannot teach and administer exams as if Chinua Achebe (a usual suspect) is only in conversation with Joseph Conrad, as if Things Fall Apart has nothing to say to Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North (translated from Arabic). Because graduate students reading Rushdie and Roy (more usual suspects) should very well know Intizar Hussain (translated from Urdu) and Kamala Suraya (translated from Malayalam). Because, as Roanne Kantor puts it, 'no coherent historiography of the Global Anglophone can be built within the ‘Anglophone’ itself.'" Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan • b2o
"The problem with digital-tech metaphors is that what's left out is usually what’s most important. They obscure more than they reveal and generate power by distorting conversations, expectations and understanding of the relationships between technology and humanity." Brett Frischmann • Scientific American
"I read the archive of male desire and I write an archive of the spit in my mouth, an archive of my mother’s mouth, opening for the spoon, of my daughter’s mouth calling from the bed. I entered 'the academy' pregnant." Julie Carr • Jacket2
"When I was an undergraduate way back in the ’80s, colleges and universities tended to treat creative writing classes like candy; too many would make you sick and weak." Juliana Spahr • Jacket2
"Like most superpowers, list-making is a mixed blessing. To put something on a list is also to pull it from its native context, where it makes its fullest sense, and suspend it in a test tube with other displaced things. To list Gladys Knight among the world’s greatest singers is to deprive her of her Pips." Sam Anderson on John Ashbery • New York Times Magazine
"Autonomy, for [Josué Guébo], is a state of mind that begins with repossessing one’s powers of articulation; first, through mimesis. It culminates in the decision to fight for ever-expanding political freedoms." Virginia Konchan • Boston Review
"There's a great interview with Claudia Rankine on KCRW's Bookworm where she insists on calling herself a 'poet' even though her book Citizen was nominated for awards in criticism and poetry. So sometimes what a writer calls themselves may have baring on how their work is marketed. I would call Citizen a hybrid book because of how it plays with interview, observation, anecdote, and found footage. It actually might be apt to call it collage. Because there are a multiplicity of approaches to the work in terms of modes of discourse, I would call that a book with hybrid forms." Oliver de la Paz • Ghost Proposal
"For some poets, the second book is a natural extension of the first, thematically and formally. In other instances, a second book can represent a radical departure. It can help writers feel they have a 'career,' a future, a life as a poet beyond the one-hit wonder of the inaugural book. Whether much anticipated or overlooked by readers and reviewers, second books move beyond the crucible of the first book. They signal movement." Lisa Russ Spaar • Los Angeles Review of Books
"LANGUAGE poets uncovered some really beneficial weapons to use. The problem is, I think they were more interested in sharpening them than using them, as you hint. To me, their work often becomes esoteric at best and, at worst, grotesquely incestual. I’m thinking specifically of a reading a former LANGUAGE poet extraordinaire gave in Athens last year, in which they read 'white dialect poems.' I was embarrassed to be in the room. It was a perfect example of what I find frustrating at the core of a lot of LANGUAGE poetics and their conceptualist counterparts: a game that turns into self-aggrandizement for the sake of empowering an already too-prolific voice, usually in the name of 'irony.'" Jake Syersak in conversation with James Eidson • Ghost Proposal


"I wonder how much Smith dwells on how they’ve been received, whether by the black boys and queer communities they speak to and for or by the nation they call out in 'dear white america'–a 2014 recording of that poem, produced by the Minneapolis-based performance-poetry organization Button Poetry, is Smith’s most watched performance, with over three hundred thousand views. In the United Kingdom, for instance, Smith has been framed, alternatively, as instructively representative or startlingly exceptional, as a symptom of the United States’ 'insatiable gun battle with itself' or a 'YouTube star.' Incessantly, tiresomely, readers in both countries have pitted performance poetry (where Smith got their start) against page-bound poetry (where they’re currently thriving). There are, to be sure, plenty of actual differences between performance and the page—plenty to say about technique and embodiment, about demographics and cultural recognition (you are not reading the Yale Review of YouTube Videos)–but all too often those differences are elided in favor of coded evaluations about class, race, gender, and sexuality, or of supposedly self-evident judgments about what could (or could never) deserve to be termed 'poetic,' 'artistic,' 'intellectual.'" Christopher Spaide • Yale Review
"It should be awarded to a poet of true recognition, a poet admired by both their fellow poets and by the public, a poet who is both expert and enthusiast, and a poet who is an accomplished practitioner of the art as well as its champion and ambassador." Simon Armitage Guardian
"I hope that the endings of my poems will act as a refresh button, sending the reader back into the loop. But sometimes they don’t." Montreux Rotholtz in conversation with Kallie Falandays • Entropy
"These poems avoid the kind of mushily Heideggerean ecopoetics that seeks to regain our rootedness within nature by recovering particular lost words for it. There is as much enchantment here in the technical or informative as there is in the conventionally poetic: cross-referencing when a curlew was ‘required in the books’ to migrate is just as much a part of looking for it as the actual sighting. The pleasure that comes with our failed naming of the beasts reaches its zenith in our pets, the animals we know we can’t name into loving us." Jack Belloli Review31
"Poetry has changed a great deal in the 10 years of her tenure: “We have Instagram poets, performance poetry has exploded, there’s much more diversity.”" Lisa Allardice profiles Carol Ann Duffy Guardian
"The increasing note of desperation might have been triggered by the fact that Beuscher hardly ever replied. This was something that Sylvia seems to have feared from the start, and explains why she repeatedly proposes “paid-letter sessions” in three letters from July. On September 4, she writes: 'I’d be awfully grateful just to have a postcard from you saying you think any paid letter sessions between us are impractical or unhelpful or whatever . . . . It is the feeling of writing into a void that never answers, or may at any moment answer, that is difficult.' In total, Sylvia sent fourteen letters and seems to have received only two. But the editors do not make the pattern of correspondence easy to reconstruct." Hannah Sullivan • TLS "Plath’s letters to Beuscher, whom she stiffly addresses as 'Dr.' throughout, sometimes assume the tone of a psychiatric appointment, where candor and speculation, fact and hunch, are twinned. But their transparency is arresting; these are the only letters in the book where Plath sets aside the kaleidoscopic genius of her style in favor of the plainest possible account. And it is fully consistent with what has long been suspected about Hughes and Plath’s relationship that he might have assaulted her." Dan Chiasson • New Yorker
"Indeed, what is often striking about Adrienne Rich’s concept of 'transformative writing,' to borrow Claudia Rankine’s formulation, is its Whitmanian inclusiveness, as well as its use of rhetorical strategies derived from one of her earliest enthusiasms, Wallace Stevens. 'Not Ideas About the Thing But the Thing Itself' runs a typical Stevens title, and crucial to Rich’s redemptive vision of poetry is the act of clearing away the mythical accretions, the inherited narratives, that prevent analysis and understanding and liberation." Mark Ford • NYRB
"It is one of the collection’s many virtues that it doesn’t allow us the redemptive enjoyment of knowing that this person escapes at all, even though the pacing and the narrative voice imply that he is speaking, at some level, from the other side of exile – the safer side, if not necessarily the happier side." Dai George on Nick Makoha The White Review
"What if, on the other hand, Tony Hoagland’s speaker were a clownishly reactionary bigot spewing racial slurs, someone clearly not the poet. How easy it would be to put that character where he belonged: not me. Nothing to do with me. No, this poem is about a much more prevalent, more insidious sort of racism—white, liberal, emotional, infrastructural—mostly hidden—racism." Daisy Fried Poetry
"In poetry—and elsewhere—epiphanies have gone out of style. Make no mistake, though, we read looking for the same catharsis, the same edifying sense of being connected to something beyond ourselves we’ve always wanted—and literature still offers that experience, however carefully disguised." Tom Andes • Sink


New poems

Frances Leviston New Yorker

Simon Armitage The Poetry Review

Rita Ann Higgins Irish Times

Brooke Clark Better Than Starbucks

Jason Guriel The Hopkins Review

Ken Smith Poetry Archive

Les Murray PN Review

Jennifer Martelli Tinderbox

Beverley Bie Brahic New Yorker

Karl O'Hanlon Wild Court

Aaron Kunin Titanic Operas

David Ferry Threepenny Review

Jana Prikryl Poetry

Wendy Trevino Poetry Project

Linda Gregg Literary Hub

Dianne Seuss Scoundrel Time

WS Merwin New Yorker

Aaron Poochigian New Criterion

Joshua Weiner The Manchester Review

Sheri Benning Manchester Review

Deryn Rees-Jones Manchester Review

Vona Groarke The Irish Times

Liz Quirke The Manchester Review

August Kleinzahler Bars and guitars

Iain Twiddy The Manchester Review

Sam Riviere Poetry

Hugh Foley White Review

Jericho Brown Nation

Catherine Barnett Poets.org

Dorothy Chan Nightblock

Justin Quinn B O D Y

Alexis Almeida Apartment

Romalyn Ante Poetry London

George Abraham The Shallow Ends

Robin Blaser Floating Bear

Sean Singer Memorious

Adrienne Su Poetry

Joseph Lease EOAGH

Annie Freud The Scores

Louise Glück Threepenny Review

Jason Bayani World Literature Today

Pattie McCarthy The Tiny

Mark Anthony Cayanan Lana Turner

Hal Coase the White Review

Sarah Carson Boxcar

Anthony Frame Boxcar

B P P Hosmillo Cordite

Diana Clarke DIAGRAM

Jenny Boully Ghost Proposal

Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint Ghost Proposal

Don Bogen Yale Review

Henri Cole Yuan Yang

C Dale Young Scoundrel Time

Bill Manhire Sport

Maggie Smith Baffler

Vona Groarke Yale Review



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