The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
"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

"I remember reading a Joseph Brodsky essay in college in which he wrote that at the heart of every poem is the desire not to give death the last word, even just in capturing a moment and holding it still until you can mine it." Tracy K Smith Observer
"“The Octopus Museum,” Brenda Shaughnessy’s fifth collection of poems, posits an apocalyptic future that looks a lot like now, an extension of our current dystopia in which food, water, housing and medical care are scarce or too expensive to access. What is it like to live in this world of “irreversible change”? It’s hotter, naturally, more peripatetic. Less obviously, “the Octopodes,” a conglomerate of semi-benevolent cephalopods, are our new non-alien overlords: “We still do not know their language. We think they think we are too stupid to learn it and we know they know they are probably right.”." Elisa Gabbert • New York Times

"I pursued connections between traditional music and poetry occasionally in my work, though this did not always go down well in England: Andrew Duncan, for example, wrote in his Handlist of Late 20th Century Poets that my “admiration for folk styles...chased out literary interest almost altogether”. Yet in the face of all charges of crudity, traditional music can be analysed with a subtlety completely absent from much contemporary poetry criticism. You could talk about Roscommon, Kerry or west Limerick bodhrán styles and aficionados would know exactly what you meant, while binary divisions as simplistic as Kilburn High Road’s have been peddled in UK poetry for decades. This is being complicated by a younger generation of poets outside the traditional camps but the reflex here is to reach for adjectives like polarised when many people don’t fit easily into boxes, or think outside them." Ian Duhig Irish Times
"There is a poem in which he says that he has a middle name in Arabic he can’t quite manage. There is a generosity in this, an invitation to step into the poem and mispronounce ourselves along with him." Ross Leckie The Fiddlehead
"Oswald will probably win the Oxford professorship – the result will be announced this afternoon – and that is a great thing. But we could have had Oswald and Riley, and Carson, and who knows how many others, all sharing a platform together – in the running, as they ought to be." Frances Leviston LRB
"That we are in the presence of a strange imagination becomes obvious from the first poem in Rachael Allen’s debut collection." Helena Fornells The Scores
"Sometimes Thorpe’s vocabulary can detain you (he is to language what a botanist is to flowers). Reading The Alarm, I had to look up gryke (fissure between blocks of limestone), vambrace (piece of armour for the forearm) and plackart (I’m still not sure what it means). It is encouragingly clear that language will not dwindle on Adam Thorpe’s watch." Kate Kellaway Observer
"[A]t her best Stallings gives Anthony Hecht and Richard Wilbur a run for their money." William Logan • New Criterion

"Of the three poets, Oswald is the best known and the most authoritative. Her statement is the most detailed and convincing in its aims. Even so, her election is hardly inevitable. She is, after all, a woman." Hal Jensen TLS
"‘Wasps in the retina’ sounded too literal in English, and probably absurd to a reader. The image of wasps isn’t meant to be read literally, here; it is understood in Albanian in the same way we say grerëza or miza-miza, if your foot or hand goes numb – you feel ‘flies-flies’ – which suggests both a rhythmic sound and a vibration. In this instance, ‘wasps in the retina’ was a metaphor for orgasm. I didn’t want this metaphor to be lost, so I translated it as ‘a buzz in the retina’, hoping this was both as fresh and suggestive as the corresponding image in Albanian. My other challenge lay with the word ‘underwear’. The English term is so banal, and alternatives like ‘lingerie’ sounded superfluous and not at all natural; they failed to capture the casual sense of the Albanian word mbathje, used in the original. So I decided to cut the word altogether." Ani Gjika and Luljeta Lleshanaku Cordite
"But what they don’t understand is that the ostentatious left-wing politics of academia is camouflage for a deeply conservative way of life. The closest analogue to the humanities as it currently functions is the Anglican Church in the nineteenth century. The Church had vicars and it had curates then, and it divided its young people into these two streams. Vicars were propertied, lived in the major centres, acceded eventually to the responsibilities of administration. The curates were poor, and worked for an annual salary, and lived in the sticks. The humanities in the United States works the same way, with tenured faculty paid six figures to think, and the contingent faculty paid a few thousand a course on a contract basis." Stephen Marche TLS
"[Ilya Kaminsky's] political acuity stretches from the Soviet experience to the recent history of his birthplace, Ukraine, and to America today. These are revealed to be the mutually inextricable threads of a single knot—the story of occupation, resistance, and complacency." Valerie Duff The Critical Flame
"[Ciaran] Carson was going against a more conventional path of poetic development, whereby a nervously formal poet loosens into a freer aesthetic (as in the trajectory of, say, Thom Gunn’s work). But Carson’s development took a more dialectical path, the restrained, well-crafted poetry of his first collection, The New Estate (1976), giving way, a decade later, to his characteristic digressive and long-lined collections The Irish For No and Belfast Confetti." Ross Moore DRB
"Goldsmith’s Deserted Village, is, as Montague notes, “one of the first statements of a great modern theme: the erosion of traditional values [“the rural virtues”] and natural rhythms in a commercial society”. One thinks today of comparing him with a versatile modern writer such as Wendell Berry (b1934) the novelist, essayist and poet whose themes might well be described as Goldsmithian, especially the key theme concerning the erosion of the moral fabric of local communities. Goldsmith identified the evils of imperial greed in the first great anti-imperialistic poem of the period of England’s greatest imperial expansion." Fergus O'Ferrall DRB
"At a recent reading in Plymouth, Allen answered questions about the process of writing Kingdomland and discussed ideas around performance, specifically the performance of femininity. But there’s also an implicit performativity in the way that she asks us to inhabit different entities in the poems – like the ‘mimic octopus’ we can be a purblind monkey, an opal gland or cucumber, though not even the mutable form of the octopus is allowed to stand. Ultimately, this creature ‘might be many things / but it cannot mimic me.’" Sarah Cave Poetry London
"The fourth and final section of this carefully organised book opens out into a kind of poetry whose direction might take Xie forward in the future. Here, the introspection of the travel poems becomes more an investigation into how one sits within one’s own life as a whole. Xie’s method here is to take the short, charged comments which have enlivened the travel poems and shore them up one against each other." Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"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


New poems

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

Annie Freud The Scores

Denise Riley Poetry London

Michael Prior The Walrus

Martina Evans The Compass

Danez Smith Poetry

Charles Simic The Threepenny Review

Alicia Ostriker Smartish Pace

Denise Riley The Poetry Review

Vahni Capildeo Poetry International

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



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