The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
"The bland, uninflected nature of [Morgan] Parker’s writing here is part of the devastating critique of White liberalism. Had the writing been less measured the point would have been lost. Parker’s writing is couched a kind of politeness which, in itself, ironises the statement." Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"Cows – denigrated symbols of motherhood – are the most endearing of Hill’s signature animals. Refigured and transfigured throughout her collections – here they are made of roses or rubies – they never become tired perhaps because the urgency never goes away: we need to really see them in the same way as we need to see her oddball narrators who are so clear-sighted even if they might toss a “big head like a caber” or “swing the sweetcorn by its hair”." Martina Evans The Poetry Review
"I’m drawn to the seriousness and relentlessness of Bidart’s work—the sense that he is using the best tools he has, and inventing new tools, to ask the most important and difficult questions he can of life and of himself. To read him is to experience someone writing utterly without defense, with a kind of lacerating honesty." Garth Greenwell • The Atlantic

"Riley remark[s] on how the “tension between exposure and the wish not to be seen at all” is “held especially sharply” by the lyric poem." Maria Johnston The Poetry Review
"The two poets, with a history of a ten-year friendship, were at each other’s throats, discussing recent Polish history and, particularly, the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. The Uprising, to Herbert, was the moment of national heroism. To Miłosz – an example of political idiocy. When on the warm summer night in Berkeley the two poets got heavily drunk, Miłosz provocatively said that for a nation so deprived of sense, it would be better to be under the Soviet rule. Herbert reacted, in the most unparliamentary language, by accusing Miłosz of cowardice during the war and of conformism under Stalinism (Miłosz, for a while, worked a diplomat in Stalinist Poland)." Jerzy Jarniewicz Arete
"Scottish poet Roddy Lumsden, who has died at the age of 53, had a profound influence on the course of British poetry." A.B. Jackson • The Scotsman

"For these poets, “lineage” is not an abstract concept. As Szymaszek says in a 2018 interview with Cutbank, her affiliation with the Poetry Project made her “part of a lineage” of “active poets” who are “interested in the history of poetry, and what needs to be passed on.” As hallowed poetic ground rich with history that continues to host and support young poets, the Project is at the heart of this lineage-building. “I don’t really describe my own lineage in a particular way,” Szymaszek says, “though I will say I worship at the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church.”" Nick Sturm The Georgia Review
"In his early poems, one hears the echoes of Yeats, and a search for an archetypal medium for a sort of dark pastoral. Here, [John] Montague (in his own words) “felt their shadows pass // Into that dark permanence of ancient forms”." Sean Hewitt Irish Times
"Here, the redactions, the gaps within lines, the slashes, the lyrical essays and the syntactical disruptions feel like assurances of the author’s up-to-dateness. Are these devices signals, or are they deployed with authenticity and skill?" Kathryn Maris TLS
"[T]his is not merely highbrow fan fiction for Odyssey enthusiasts." Declan Ryan on Alice Oswald TLS
"MacGreevy’s Poems, Beckett’s Echo’s Bones and Other Precipitates and Devlin’s Intercessions – expressed a kind of militant syntactical anger in defiance of the more traditional airs and graces of leading poets such as FR Higgins; the same in relation to art and artists. But it would be a misreading to think that these men and women constituted a self-conscious “group” as MacGreevy more than anything else shows, his commitment to Ireland and Irish art as a national concept was as a passionate European." Gerald Dawe Irish Times
"The fallout is captured in real time in the hundreds of letters that follow—Hardwick’s bitter discovery and recrimination, Lowell’s self-serving evasiveness, their separation and divorce, the unexpected period of creative output that followed, the incredible damage wrought by The Dolphin, and their eventual unlikely reconciliation." Dustin Illingworth • The Nation

"Over more than three decades and thirteen books of poems, Carl Phillips has been conducting an inquiry into intimacy, especially sexual intimacy, that is as daring, as wild, and as reverent—as unflinching—as the inquiry I read in Haring’s mural." Garth Greenwell • Sewanee Review

"Of course, the lyric poet in the twentieth century lives with the legacy of objectivism and modernism. But [Amanda] Berenguer’s determined gaze creates portraits of considerable depth and beauty. And she creates a seemingly effortless combination of space and intimacy." Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"Just occasionally, one discovers a new poet who is indisputably in the first rank, a poet who seems, almost effortlessly, to be able to move and challenge the reader. Dario Jaramillo is such a poet and one who has been lucky to find a translator as self-effacing and skilful as Stephen Gwyn, whose versions are rhythmically adroit, musical, and true to the text and the spirit of their originals." David Cooke The Manchester Review
"There’s a message in this poem, I guess, but it’s not transformative. The likes take us nowhere, and nothing can ever change again for Eric Garner—he can go nowhere now. What we see at the end is just a man who (unlike us) is no longer breathing. The poem’s flat language is an act of trust, and what makes this an idealistic poem. Instead of trusting metaphoric leaps or originality or any sort of verbal sparks, it trusts flat, banal, utterly normal language. Maybe that makes it seem possible that banal, flat, normal humans can do better than we have been doing." Daisy Fried Plume
"Somewhere, right now, someone will be preparing to attack those sentences. There have always been gangs in poetry – groups or movements formed in the interests of self-protection or self-promotion. But in our febrile, fissile times, poets have shown themselves only too ready to turn on their own in ways that show a dangerous contempt for what poetry is – for the imaginative and rhetorical and aesthetic practices that are its life, and that ought to be sacrosanct, at least among practitioners. (It’s not as if defending them is a priority for anyone else.) No one has put this more forcefully than Michael Hofmann, in his recent TLS review of Les Murray, where he decried a moment “when poetry is seen most readily – almost pre-emptively – as a dangerous form of trespass or encroachment (‘How does this demean me? Where is the diss in it?’)” and concluded, “Unless and until poetry gets free of this base and neurotic form of invigilation, it won’t be – and there won’t be – poetry”." Alan Jenkins TLS
" It takes time to achieve even a basic competence in any language and few will have the leisure to gain a reading knowledge of the languages of Gilgamesh. Increasingly though, anglophone readers only ever gain access to foreign literature through the lens of their own global language. Consequently, it is all too easy for them to fall into the trap of thinking that what they read in their own language is somehow entirely synonymous with the original. Latin and Greek disappeared long ago from most schools and even the major European languages are under threat in our universities. ‘Virgil’ in English is not the same as Publius Vergilius Maro in Latin. The same could be said about such widely read poets as Baudelaire, Rimbaud or Rilke." David Cooke The Manchester Review
"Recognizing the logistical unfeasibility of making literature accessible through economic development, UNESCO has essentially recategorized literature as a legacy activity of aging elites — a “residual rather than an emergent practice.” Way harsh, right? Put simply, what UNESCO learned through all its hard work is that literature requires surplus leisure time, publishing infrastructure, enforceable copyright policing, and accessible educational institutions in order for the market of symbolic goods to also function as a market that pays livable wages. In the absence of these very expensive networks, the dominant character of world literature — whatever its content might become — can only remain of equal concern to both the rich and the poor insofar as it continues to mark a defining line between them." Chris Findeisen LARB
"Still Life (Gallery), the book he finished before his death this October, was another departure. The poems take their cue from paintings – by Poussin, Angela Hackett, Gerard Dillon and Yves Klein – which he describes lovingly, before they become occasions for speculation and memory: where did he first see the paintings, and with who? What has brought them to mind now, as he makes his mundane way around the house or to the hospital for check-ups? Slowly, in long, long lines, each image, each poem, opens up like a Japanese paper flower in water." John McAuliffe and Martina Evans Irish Times
"Kaur has used her own tools—her phone, her body and face (it doesn’t hurt that Kaur is strikingly beautiful), her sketches—to dismantle the master’s house: Many American readers consider a young woman of color our most prominent poet. Even if I think they’re wrong, it’s hard not to be thrilled by this fact." Rumaan Alam • New Republic

"If I can claim a footnote in literary history it may be that I cajoled Ciaran into writing prose books." Neil Belton Irish Times
"I admire Lerner’s analysis, but I would like to start rather lower down on the intellectual scale. If we want to think about how poetry in general is regarded by a wide public, we might start by asking, how do we recognise a poem?" Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin Irish Times
"If ‘Madoc’ were a novel, I wouldn’t persevere with it. But, as I have said, Muldoon doesn’t set problems. It is more that the poem is too full of solutions: no body, no motive, but stacks of clues – what to do with all the recurring figures, the CRO-riddle, Bucephalus the (s)talking horse, the white (shaggy?) dog, the valise that survives into the SF future, the polygraph. Any one of them might lead to the heart of the matter." Michael Hofmann LRB (1990)
"You don’t have to give up the people you already love—as Frozen 2 rightly says—to leave home and find more. You don’t have to lose yourself, your community, or your existing family, in order to figure out who you are." Stephanie Burt • Pangyrus

"The life of the poet is always a summons to try to set down some truth that was once true and will go on being true. No poet should have to worry about the public respect or the lack of it in which this art is held." Eavan Boland Poetry Ireland Review
"“They were arranged, hectored, and re-arranged,” Bishop wrote. “Miss Moore’s hat was considered too big: she refused to remove it.” (“I wish I had worn a minimal hat like yours,” she told Bishop on their taxi ride to Brooklyn later that evening.)" Erwin R. Tiongson • Slate

"Any poet’s career is likely to involve the discovery (willed or not) of new themes, but the old ones tend to hang on, never finally dealt with.
This is partly the consequence of the poetic culture. We inherit too much in literary terms, and it is too various, bears the signs of much handling before our fingers get near it. I don’t expect the engineer finds herself downstairs at three in the morning trying to re-draw her diagrams which looked quite satisfactory at three in the afternoon. For the poet, the shifting about of allusion and reminiscence seems never to finish, and the places one has visited in the past can suddenly reappear with all their allure but from a new perspective." Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin DRB
"Many of the poets mentioned here have yet to release a full collection, Hewitt included; others, such as Ostashevsky, Naffis-Sahely and Stern Zisquit, already have more established reputations. The Michael Marks Awards have played a central role in the increased popularity and prestige of the poetry pamphlet in recent years: today it is taken up as often by titan as by tyro." Camille Ralphs TLS
"Clearly, this is not a dry-as-dust exegesis or a bare-bones student’s guide. Schmidt looks at the text as living literature and his enthusiasm is infectious, suggesting that the reader may discover here archetypes anticipating Kerouac’s On the Road, the various descents to hell of Homer, Virgil and Dante, the flood in Genesis, perhaps even Ballard’s Drowned World, and the story of David and Jonathan in the Book of Samuel. Fascinating, too, is the way in which Schmidt explores the fragmentary nature of the poem and the friable material upon which it was written." David Cooke The Manchester Review
"In The Mother House (Gallery, €11.95), Ní Chuilleanáin’s established preoccupations – allegorical journeys, the ghosts of the past, religious life – are copiously on show, but with a newly sharpened elegiac edge." Aingeal Clare Guardian
"A privileged, restless young woman, [Elizabeth Smart] sailed across the Atlantic at least twenty-two times, haunting London bookshops. That was where, in 1937, she first came upon the poetry of George Barker, then the wunderkind protege of T. S. Eliot. Upon reading Barker poems like “Daedalus” (“The moist palm of my hand like handled fear / Like fear cramping my hand”), she experienced a mental orgasm of sorts, later summing up her reaction as, “It is the complete juicy sound that runs bubbles over, that intoxicates til I can hardly follow . . . OO the a—a—a—!” She determined to marry him." Dale Hrabi • The Walrus

"But [Robert] Lowell never returned the letters or showed copies to her. For a long time, it seemed they were lost. [Elizabeth] Hardwick, who died in 2007, supposed that Blackwood had destroyed them after Lowell’s death in 1977. In fact, Blackwood had saved them. In 1978 she gathered 102 letters from Hardwick to Lowell and sent them to Frank Bidart, Lowell’s literary executor. Acting on what he believed to be Lowell’s wishes, Bidart held the letters for ten years before depositing them at Harvard with instructions that they were to “be kept here at Houghton Library until the death of Elizabeth Hardwick.” Having been made public in The Dolphin without her permission, Hardwick’s letters would be preserved without her knowledge, and at Harvard to boot." Langdom Hammer NYRB
"Creasy’s inclusion of Morley and Richards in Black Mountain Poems addresses the gender bias of Allen’s canon-making anthology. There were women writing poetry at Black Mountain, as Creasy’s volume makes slightly clearer. The selections (three poems by Morley and six by Richards) obscure as much as they reveal about these women’s creative lives, however." Lynne Feeley The Nation
"A moral, not a moralizing writer, she practices humanism in a world where poets tend to value myth and the arcana at the expense of the empirical and human. Her metonomies are not literary gestures, her images are literal and laden. She is direct with a passionate voice she found out through reading and translating Marina Tsvetaeva. Tsvetaeva ‘enabled me to write without embarrassment. Because she doesn’t feel embarrassed about sounding undignified’. This was a further step away from English irony towards candour. She shared her discoveries with three generations of writers. Without her, writing, especially by women, would sound different in diction, measure and tone." Michael Schmidt on Elaine Feinstein PN Review
"The great thing about that line is that it makes liking or not liking poetry a non-issue while also telling us what’s important about poetry. We don’t say “I like” or “I dislike” about breathing, or love. So why say it about poetry either? The statement is also literally true." Daisy Fried Subtropics
"Part 3, “In Nearby Bushes” begins with the most extraordinary and original device. A short newspaper item (about 150 words) concerning the discovery of the decomposing body of a missing 20-year-old woman “in nearby bushes” is printed normally, then repeated four times printed in grey, with some words and letters picked out in black, successively fewer of them. As you read the black print out of the grey you get firstly a brief summary of the report in 34 words, secondly a kind of faltering memory of the report lacking in detail, in 29 words. The third piece offers only some twelve letters and the two final words, giving, “Here where is the nearby bushes”." Peter Riley Fortnightly Review
"Carson famously mapped Belfast many times over, experientially, historically, affectively, psycho-politically, on foot and by flight, but in the last fifteen years of his life he also moved into exploring other networks of entanglement and affection. A substantial late turn was towards the contemplation of real passion and compassion, of love as a state of exquisite jeopardy. For All We Know (2008) queried the unfathomability of both love and memory, an extended yet deeply serious riff on Lerner and Loewe’s “I Remember It Well”, with a pair of lovers voicing a series of poems that bore the same title. It amounted to a thorough mystery, erotic and ineffable." Michael Hinds DRB
“Ted Hughes was often seen as being unfashionable for his nature writing and it was something he doggedly persevered with, to the point where he was a campaigner as well at low levels. It’s interesting to me that poetry has been able to swing back in the direction of nature; it didn’t fit in with a lot of the psychologies of the 60s and 70s and 80s, it wasn’t metropolitan, and maybe attached itself to the Romantics – Wordworth and Coleridge and particularly John Clare. Now nature has very much come back into the centre of what poetry can, and should, be dealing with.” Simon Armitage Guardian
"Cavafy’s poems are often concerned with destinies confined to hopelessness by time and place – again, perhaps an abstraction of the way he viewed his own life." Kyriaco Nikias • Sydney Review of Books

"If this young Polonius thinks he’s packed any original wisdom into lines like “We grow old chasing the truths/ we knew as children,” well, the Canadian school system is in trouble." William Logan • New Criterion

"It could be that poetry cultures develop and thrive in hyperlocal spaces: schools, bars, coffee houses, restaurants, churches, social halls, bookshops. And perhaps poetry moves not from nation to nation or continent to continent, but from local space to local space, from a bar in Nairobi to a bar in Johannesburg, from a coffee shop in Lagos to a coffee shop in Kampala. Perhaps poetry moves not through bookstores or libraries, but in suitcases and handbags, from friend to friend, acquaintance to acquaintance." Keguro Macharia Brick
"[Dorothy] Molloy’s Catholicism burns with a baroque passion more reminiscent of Spain (where she spent 15 years) than Ireland while visual art informs poems about saints and cathedrals, a full-blooded response signalled by the colour red which occurs as frequently as blood – the body is central here." Martina Evans Irish Times
"[Ian Sansom] also makes a practical point: the layers of notes and criticisms offer reassuring evidence that imperfections do not make a great poem less great, and may indeed be a necessary part of how, as we approach yet another political Rubicon, some great poems’ “ironic points of light / flash out wherever the Just / exchange their messages”." John McAuliffe Irish Times
"A taste for the chewier varieties of verse, however, is no guarantee of greater probity. Also signing off on Vote Leave’s claims was Michael Gove, who as secretary of state for education once wished Geoffrey Hill, “our greatest living poet,” a happy 80th birthday in the Commons." Jeremy Noel-Tod • Prospect

"As a decidedly non-academic eclectic reader, I let myself be guided by chance. I very much enjoy the PN Review, in my opinion the best poetry journal, with lucid essays and superb examples of contemporary poets, many in translation; I particularly enjoy the “Pictures from the Rylands Library” section, with its quirky, always interesting discoveries. The Dante Studies journal provides me with essential updates on the endless and varied readings of the Commedia and other Dante texts. The New York Review of Books, while somewhat less interesting than it used to be, seems one of the few remaining places for intelligent dialogue in the United States: essays by Alma Guillermoprieto, Daniel Mendelsohn, Jenny Uglow, Michael Greenberg justify for me its existence. Outside English-speaking domains, a key to the complex world of Mexican culture is the beautifully illustrated Artes de México, in Spanish with an English translation. Every issue centres on a different artistic field: pottery, cooking, weaving, architecture." Alberto Manguel and 24 other writers discuss journals TLS
"A word of warning to begin with: Les Murray was big, bald and fat. I would not normally say any of these things, except that others do, we all do, coyly or haplessly or strickenly. It’s a factor that, unspoken and unspeakable, warps the language of praise in ways it sometimes seems beyond the wit of language itself to avoid – “a poet of international stature” (Peter Porter), “the gigantic talent of Les Murray” (Jeff Nuttall), “one of the greatest poets … in the English-speaking world … what he gives is enormous and quite beyond price” (Thomas Keneally), “there is no poetry in the English language now … so broad-leaved in its pleasures” (Derek Walcott), “Big Les!” (Michael Hofmann). Murray himself had no problem putting a sitting circus elephant on the cover of one of his earlier Collecteds (in 1998), or writing poems on the subject". Michael Hofmann TLS (paywall, worth the subscription)
"There’s a common belief that moments of public agony are good for poetry." Peter Campion • Public Book

"This question—whether to live a contemplative or active (now we might say activist) life—hangs over Solie’s fifth book of poems, which has just been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize." Ange Mlinko • NYRB



" I don’t think for a second that Whitman means us to take this literally, but even as a sheerly literary construct, there is something a little galling about a speaker who never considers how bride and bridegroom might feel about this intrusion on their privacy, let alone the creepy suggestion of rape as the Bard of democracy’s prerogative." Tom Sleigh Poetry
"A successful elegy doesn’t communicate the mere fact that the narrator is sad; a well-written elegy might actually provoke the reader to a feeling of sadness, or to some other kind of sympathetic engagement with the world of the poem." James Arthur • Agni

"The title poem of Muldoon’s new book Frolic and Detour (Faber, £14.99) is just such an indexical poem, crowded with proper names but threading its quest, to buy a “Hifashion chainsaw” (really!), with references to The Troggs, the wren (aka, the genus Troglodytes), the spirit of a Native American chief Tamanend, the Greek poet Stesichorus, Peter Pan, and Jane or Jenny Wren (who is “credited with playing Tinker Bell in the first West End / production of Peter Pan”.). The poem is a card trick, a feat of prestidigitation as it flips through one picture after another, so entertainingly that we almost forget that we want to “find the lady” in all this profusion." John McAuliffe Irish Times "Paul Muldoon brings centuries of knowledge to anything his eye settles on. How else to deal with “A world that now makes sense/ only in our rear-view mirror”? You may have to brush up on alchemy, Apache chieftains and the Easter Rising." Tristram Fane Saunders Telegraph
"Writing in the drb about how the fantasy landscapes of the seventeenth century, “make great play with light and shade, with hills and valleys”, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin observes how such scenes manage to say “not only look here, and look there, but perhaps even more insistently look at time, how it breaks up”. Time is constantly pressing on us throughout Sexton’s elegiac fantasia as the poems vary in length but remain constant at the level of line duration; each line is made up of sixteen syllables (to correspond with the Super Nintendo as a 16-bit console). Sexton’s achievement across this multi-dimensional elegy is to control and give animated shape to so much thought and experience in language that seems fresh, new and vital and brings the reader to life and on an immersive journey of descent and return." Maria Johnstone DRB
" The works in contention for the three categories – best collection, best first collection and best single poem – address the world head-on." The Guardian on Parwana Fayyaz, Stephen Sexton and Fiona Benson, and the shortlist
"Should we be surprised about a link between the highest levels of our political world and our most acclaimed poetry?" Alissa Quart NYT
"Harold Bloom and Anthony Burgess always enjoyed each other’s company. After Burgess’s death in 1993, Bloom corresponded with Liana Burgess, and he was very supportive of her idea to create an educational charity in memory of her late husband." Will Carr IABF
"For Coleridge and for O’Neill writing is a way of grappling with life and its ‘“restlessness”, its “fragmentary nature” and “connection’ / to “Wholeness”, that elusive grail.’ It is that sense of wanting to celebrate life and living that makes this final valedictory volume so good and so strong." Ian Pople on Michael O'Neill The Manchester Review
"Jana Prikryl’s No Matter—her second book, following The After Party (2016)—owes much of its strength to her life in New York City, a life that, as she tells it, resembles many others but feels distinctly hers." Stephanie Burt • Harper's

"I didn’t know then just how conductive a lightning rod this Harold Bloom was." Jason Guriel • Slate

"Solie’s poetry is also a form of resistance by just being so very pleasurable to read." GE Stevens Review 31
"As with her own poems, the keynote to Hacker’s translations is, clearly, a deep empathy with the poet she is translating. Such an empathy in translation ought to be obvious, but with Hacker, it inspires that warm elegance. A number of the translations are of Arab writers writing out of ‘resistance’." Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"Time wound its way into the Muldoon’s poems like a horse side-stepping its handler." Georgia Hase The Manchester Review
"The poet and scholar Michael Schmidt has just published a wonderful book, “Gilgamesh: The Life of a Poem” (Princeton), which is a kind of journey through the work, an account of its origins and discovery, of the fragmentary state of the text, and of the many scholars and translators who have grappled with its meaning." Joan Acocella • New Yorker

"In the summer of 2001, home for a visit from university, I took Anne Carson’s Men in the Off Hours and The Beauty of the Husband on a family fishing trip to Lake Diefenbaker. The former went over the side of the 14-foot aluminum Starcraft. Likely I’d been asked to ready the net. Though I hung the book over the line back at camp, it remains annotated with the lake’s algal profile." Karen Solie • Lithub

"Regan shows Heaney’s early use of the form as a smash and grab on the English tradition, quoting his desire to use the “official English verse form” to write his memorial for 1798, “Requiem for the Croppies”; Portnoyesque, he wanted to stick the sonnet back up its English background. Just as it is fascinating to remember how Heaney weaponises a poetic form here, it also helps us to view his later use of the form from The Haw Lantern onwards as moving towards an effective decommissioning, settling into the extraordinary proto-pax poetry of Seeing Things and The Spirit Level. In the broader context of the chapter here in the Irish sonnet, this sets up an apt comparison with the heroically inventive and unprecedented Alexandrines of Ciaran Carson in The Twelfth of Never which met the post-ceasefire reality with a torrent of passionate play, vividly contrasting with the sneaky intrigues of Muldoon’s sonnets from the middle of the conflict." Michael Hinds DRB
" ‘What has poetry taught you?’ asked Dennis O’Driscoll towards the end of their extended dialogue. To which Seamus replied: ‘That there’s such a thing as truth and it can be told – slant; that subjectivity is not to be theorized away and is worth defending; that poetry itself has virtue, in the first sense of possessing a quality of moral excellence and in the sense also of possessing inherent strength by reason of its sheer made-upness, its integritas, consonantia and claritas.’" Alan Taylor • Scottish Review of Books
"Seamus Heaney was real. Were he a fictional character, however, we likely would call him unrealistic, his life story and his career too good to be true. Like Robert Frost and W. H. Auden, but perhaps with fewer missteps and regrets, Heaney became the sort of modern poet whose best-known phrases circulate without attribution." Stephanie Burt • The New Yorker

"He was the ultimate connoisseur of the well-crafted thing, whether it was a line of poetry, a shoe or a pen. And if an object could be unearthed in an antiques shop so much the better. That day on Royal Avenue he talked about Smithfield Market, on which Castlecourt had been overlaid: a labyrinth of secondhand shops, destroyed by an IRA firebomb in 1974. If the city is, as he wrote, the map of the city, Ciaran drew Belfast better than anyone I ever read." Glenn Patterson Irish Times
"All night along the little tributary of the Eurotas called Mousga, the Spartiates have eaten and drunk among the soughing of the plane trees and the shadows of the tombs, hero-shrines to the sons of Hippocoön. The tomb of Alcman, Sparta’s greatest poet, is here as well." Christopher Childers • New Criterion

"I arrived in Istanbul with the hope of solving a literary mystery. Like many readers before me I wanted to locate the house where the Greek-Egyptian poet, C. P. Cavafy (1863-1933) had lived between 1882 and 1885." Gregory Jusdanis • Berfrois

"Elaine Feinstein, who has died aged 88, was a leading poet and the bringer of a new internationalism to British verse." Fiona Sampson • Guardian

"There are poets and readers who feel, as does Simon Armitage, that ‘Big P political poetry rarely works.’ Others devote themselves to an activist poetics, and some believe all poetry is inherently political. I think most of us feel all of these in some combination." Karen Solie Poetry London
"On finally reading WITCH from beginning to end, from /penis hex/ to \cunt hex\, I learned that Tamás’ poetry was answering a question I didn’t know I had been asking." Rebecca Hurst The Manchester Review "Like the open secret of Lisette’s metaphysics, and the helpful explanatory notes in MacGillivray’s book, Tamás’s poetry invites readers in. Witch does not name its sources, but many of them poke out of the surface of the text (such as Silvia Federici) and may be gleaned by curious readers." Nisha Ramayya Poetry London
"Our history is one of pretending otherwise in favour of an identity based on a geography of the colonial imagination. The brutality of this history has only recently been acknowledged. Indigenous people of many nations and territories saw their traditional lands, resources, and freedom expropriated by a government who, among other redistributions, sold parcels of land thought least arable to immigrant settlers like my grandparents." Karen Solie • Poetry London

"The end of the poem can be the conclusion; it can be the accomplishment of all its language and its tactics. Or: it can be the place you stand looking even further out, or in, or with. That’s grace, as you say. Toward eternity, Dickinson says. This is the single greatest use of a preposition in American lyric poetry." David Baker • Poetry Northwest

"In anything intended for public consumption – poems, interviews, articles – Larkin would refer to his childhood as a “forgotten boredom”, to Coventry as “only where my childhood was unspent” and his parents as “awkward people with no talent for being happy”." Alan Jenkins • TLS

"It’s all metaphor. I’m not fit for the literal world and I don’t quite believe in it. I don’t know how anyone does, to be honest: the literal always strikes me as a missed opportunity." Vona Groarke bathmagg
"As much as I, too, love the poetry of feeling my mother tongue in my bones and blood, I would not be able to translate into it for the very fact that my literary knowledge/experience (the four decades of studying literature and writing about it) has been in English. I owe my proficiency as a literary translator to the considerable command I have obtained of a range of aesthetic and linguistic strategies by immersing myself in—and critically examining and reflectively internalizing—literary works written in English, both historical and contemporary." Aron Aji • The Millions

"One of Noel-Tod’s witnesses declares that the prose poem “is the circle we draw around our interactions with the world.” Another says it “resonates with ‘the absences that it accommodates.’” These soft-focus definitions should give us pause." Jason Guriel • The Walrus

"In other words, if flowers first came to symbolise love because of their promise of fertilisation and pollination, why do we associate the outer parts of the flowerhead – petals and sepals, corolla and calyx – with love, when it is the plant’s more hidden sexual organs that carry out its reproductive functions?" Daisy Lafarge Maljournal
I’m not criticising Whitman; as with every great poet who took an interest in politics (Pound, Yeats, Geoffrey Hill, even), the best of him wins out over the worst, and his expressions of disgust with and excoriation of pre-Lincoln officeholders like the poem, ‘To a President’, illuminate one of those famous contradictions Whitman contained within himself." Don Share PN Review
"We seem recently to have entered a phase in the cycle of literary fashion that favours self-expression over thingness. Or maybe the self has become poetry’s privileged thing. On this understanding, the poem is treated as a dispatch from an essential core of selfhood. I tend to think of poetry instead as a species of artefacture, closer to sculpture or musical composition than self-portraiture or memoir. Not that those two understandings are totally incompatible. It’s more a question of emphasis.”" Steven Toussaint • Poetry Shelf

"At moments, the way that The Octopus Museum fuses lyric poetry with approaching dystopia is reminiscent of the bleak, tech-heavy environment in Cathy Park Hong’s Engine Empire (2012), though Hong pictures a world of monitoring and VR and depression, and Shaughnessy’s is one where “since we used all the air conditioning it’s become impossible to think things through.”" Calista McRae • Harvard Review

"These are poems that arrive at locations where poetry used to be, but poetry doesn’t live there any more." Paul Batchelor New Statesman
"I’ve come to the conclusion that poetry can indeed uplift and sublimate and help us to make things good, but that it can also encourage us in false and sentimental ideas and emotions. Poetry can guide us, and it can lead us astray. And we have to acknowledge this, if we want to grant poetry its proper place in our lives. “The primary function of poetry, as of all the arts,” wrote Auden, “is to make us more aware of ourselves and the world around us. I do not know if such increased awareness makes us more moral or more efficient. I hope not. I think it makes us more human, and I am quite certain it makes us more difficult to deceive.” Auden died in 1973, most of his best work produced in the 1930s and 40s. It turns out that we need him now as much as ever." Ian Sansom Guardian
"The state of Irish poetry is not a subject to which I devote much thought, but I welcome the blossoming of women’s poetry in the North and I am still excited by the achievements and continuing creativity of the apprentice poets and friends (and their predecessors) who found poetry in Belfast in the 1960s." Frank Ormsby Irish Times
"Rarely has one poet’s aesthetic taste exercised such control over the formation of a literary canon." Michael J Sullivan Essays in Criticism
"The premiere of Scenes from Comus at the Proms in 1965 was a breakthrough for Hugh Wood. This setting of passages from John Milton’s 1634 masque is as much a symphonic poem as a cantata, a fusion of the Schoenbergian techniques that are paraded from the very start, as the solo horn unfolds a 12-note theme, with sensuously romantic textures. Half a century on, it seems a quintessentially British work." Andrew Clements Guardian
"Bei Dao turned seventy on the second of this month. Did the Chinese-American poet in Hong Kong and his friends celebrate the event? Could he — or they — have done so? Would this poet of quiet reflection and un-quiet expression have got himself to mark anything, even something as special as his seventieth birthday, in the conditions that now prevail there?" Gopalkrishna Gandhi • Telegraph India

"When I asked W.H. Auden what he would like to hear Armstrong say, he replied at first with a mischievous chuckle: “I’ve never done this before!” adding, “What else should he say? It would be a true statement.” But when I went on to ask if he would not prefer something more elevating, perhaps about world peace, he grew sober. “Well, that’s a little different,” Auden said. “We all know that the chief reason for their going there is military, so I don’t think you should ask them to say much about that!”" Edward Mendelson • NYRB

"Given poetry’s marginal (at best) status in our culture, it’s not surprising that the contemporary poetry world doesn’t acknowledge the existence of comic poetry, since it could threaten whatever remains of poetry’s reputation as a ‘serious’ art. Current poetry shows little interest in being funny: it mostly alternates between cataloguing the uninteresting ephemera of the poet’s daily life and a humourless performance of virtue, in which poets express ideas in fashion among the faction of other poets who make up essentially one hundred per cent of their audience, and in return are told how ‘radical’ they are for boldly reciting opinions that everyone in the room already agrees with. (One is reminded of Tom Lehrer’s comment on the folk scene: ‘It takes a certain amount of courage to get up in a coffee house or a college auditorium and come out in favour of the things that everyone in the audience is against, like peace and justice and brotherhood and so on.’)" Brooke Clark • The Literateur

"[Lola] Ridge was born in 1873 and grew up at the tail end of the Victorian era, with its corsets and curved-heel boots, courting chairs and fan-shaped dance cards, but she wrote and published in the first half of the twentieth century, with WWI, the Great Depression, women’s suffrage, working-class movements, union worker strikes, the Russian Revolution, gender and race discrimination, race riots and antisemitism clanging up against each other, making themselves known." Jena Schmitt • PN Review


The Page is on holidays. We will be back in September.
"If I had to say what I love best about Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith, it would be the expression on her face, as if she is just disgusted at the mess Holofernes is making. The Uffizi houses the orange Judith, where it hangs near the exit of the building – the final point at the end of hundreds of marble busts and serious men and a sea of rust red floor – a large dark cloud of female fury you must walk past on your way to the door, and sunlight." Rebecca Perry Magma
"Originally comprising 13 precocious poets with no common theme or style, the movement lacked definition but not enemies. When a young disciple was reprimanded by the school vice-rector, his definition was gleefully adopted: “I don’t know what nadaísmo is – only that it’s abomination.”" Mat Youkee Guardian
"[Callimachus] felt poets should avoid the Homeric and concentrate on brief forms. He claimed to have been visited by Apollo, who advised him to “fatten his flocks but keep his muse slender”. The younger Appollonius, on the other hand, author of the Argonautica, the only surviving epic of the age, strongly disagreed. Evidence of a bitter feud between the two has come down to us and thanks to a fragment of papyrus we know that Ptolemy II passed over Callimachus and appointed Apollonius as chief librarian. It’s unlikely to have been the first time in history when rival poets slugged it out, or when worldly ambition and artistic vision mixed in a bitter potion, but at least the shade of Callimachus can find consolation in his livelier posthumous reputation." Peter Sirr DRB
"The current show, based largely on the collection of Grolier member (and exhibition co-curator) Susan Jaffe Tane, presents a wealth of Whitmaniana: copies of every edition of Leaves of Grass published during the poet’s life; letters and manuscripts; many, many photographs (Whitman was by far the most photographed American poet of his century), including the famous frontispiece shot where he contemplates a cardboard butterfly perched on his finger; an array of Whitman-branded material (a cigar box, an Old Crow whiskey advertisement, an applesauce can, even a J. Peterman page describing their “Walt Whitman pant”); and a fascinating selection of artist’s books and multimedia presentations inspired by Whitman’s verse." Mark Scroggins Hyperallergic
"That someone else is the poet we know as Carolyn Forché—the poet who spoke for those listening ears, who gave voice to those terrorized and disappeared." James K.A. Smith • Image

"Recalling how wondrous it seemed that I identified so strongly with O’Hara’s poems, it’s this paradox I think of. The poems’ boundless interest in others is extended to the self, yet this self-interest is undercut with a suspicion of what the self thinks it knows, and is. He writes with a compassion articulated in the tension between the solitary and the social, and this is one of the reasons I look to him still." Karen Solie Magma
"I shan't lose my temper. I’ll just record briefly what a dismal astonishment it was to find Michael Hofmann in his introduction trotting out a block condemnation of the 1940s in British poetry which has been around since the 1950s, repeated again and again by a succession of poet-critics without ever a shred of analysis or any kind of option." Peter Riley • Fortnightly Review

"Tsvetaeva is obsessed with Rilke as he is dying, writing love letters in a three-way poetry orgy between her, him, and Boris Pasternak, who would later win the Nobel Prize for Doctor Zhivago. She is also in love with Boris, (in a very relatable move, she’s kind of in love with everyone, all the time), and both she and Boris idolize Rilke, or Boris idolizes her idolizing, or something, and Rilke, in turn, allows this idealization and often feeds it back, enfeebled but still reflective. It makes I Love Dick look positively restrained." Audrey Wollen • Affidavit



New poems

Ken Babstock Brick

Victoria Kennefick The Poetry Review

Aurielle Marie TriQuarterly

Alan Shapiro At Length

Ian Seed Queen Mob's Teahouse

NJ Stallard The White Review

Amit Majmudar Massachusetts Review

Emily Grosholz The Hudson Review

Kathleen Jamie New Statesman

Reuben Jackson Boston Review

Emily Berry Poetry

James Kimbrell The American Journal of Poetry

Maryam Hessavi bathmagg

Charles Simic Threepenny Review

Christian Wiman New Yorker

Evan Jones bath magg

Louise Gluck Threepenny Review

Cynthia Dewi Oka Scoundrel Time

Xi Chuan, tr Lucas Klein The Manchester Review

Ken Babstock Granta

Jana Prikryl Subtropics

Daisy Fried Subtropics

Karen Solie Granta

David Wheatley Irish Times

Emma Jeremy bath magg

Laura Scott The Compass

Rebecca O'Connor Irish Times

Kit Fan Poetry

Hera Lindsey Bird The Spinoff

Parwana Fayyaz PN Review / Forward

Matthew Welton The Manchester Review

Finuala Dowling The Manchester Review

Sasha Dugdale Mal Journal

Rory Waterman The Poetry Review

Nene Giorgadze Modern Poetry in Translation

Evan Jones Berfrois

Joey Connolly The Poetry Review

Ken Babstock The Manchester Review

Brooke Clark The Agonist

Anne Compton Manchester Review

Rory Waterman Wild Court

Carl Phillips bathmagg

Justin Quinn Yale Review

Vona Groarke Guardian

Bhanu Kapil Maljournal

Maria Koulouri Parmenar Press

Cheryl Follon The Dark Horse

Susannah Sheffer Threepenny Review

Colette Bryce Irish Times

Sean Lysaght The Clearing

David Ferry Poetry

Luis de Gongora Asymptote

Dana Gioia The American Scholar

Marilyn Hacker New England Review

Lisa Kelly Wild Court

Ciaran Carson New Yorker

Nick Carbo Scoundrel Time

Karen Solie Granta



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