The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
"Ever since I have first begun reading his work, I felt that here is somebody who has taken coincidence head-on. He braves constellations that illuminate life’s dazzling diversity in a flash. His poetry, his prose (one may not be sundered from the other in his case) is in search of immediate insight, among philosophers also commonly referred to as evidence. The image-complex is at the core of his poetics. The image contains an abundance of vantage points, an entire gallery of images. In his texts one may wander about like in a Baroque cabinet of wonders, a hermitage with walls covered from top to bottom with paintings in the style of the Petersburg Hanging." Durs Grunbein PI Online
"Despite the prevailing logic of the time, Miłosz would later write that “Representing a country that was turned into the province of a totalitarian foreign state was wrong and degrading, which I feel ashamed of today.”" Scott Beauchamp DRB
"Anyway I took these and other notes, before halfway through ‘A TUMOUR…’ I became suspicious of my suspicions, and Atkins emerged over a few pages as perhaps the most imaginative, sincere, and horribly, gloriously intent contemporary writer – certainly from Britain – I’ve read. Excess is part of it: after a while it’s pointless to complain about the ‘lack of economy’ or scary-funny fluency with which he switches up registers – it’s better just to stay alert and let the astonishments happen. The choicest of these occur between hiccupping interjections of the body – um’s, er’s, erratic BLOCK CAPS – and a woundingly offhand blokiness – ‘Chin up matey’, ‘Classic stuff, that’ (‘he do masculinity in different voices’, as one blurb promises)." Sam Riviere Poetry London
"I don’t in any way regret this exhumation; it corrects a serious error of memory in the dispersed and numinous mind of the “poetry audience” and demands respect for ways of writing poetry which are vulnerable to populist disdain." Peter Riley Fortnightly Review
"In the Beats they found a compelling image of the poet as adventurer, visionary, outsider, and intellectual provocateur. And in Hora Zero they found an attractive conception of the literary text as a “poema integral, ” a total or comprehensive poem that would incorporate a mixture of languages and genres into the text as a way of representing the full integration of the poet into all areas of life. A year after the publication of the Zarazo tabloid, Santiago Papasquiaro met Bolaño and several other young poets who shared his neo-avant-garde position and became the first recruits of his projected group." Ruben Medina Chicago Review
"It wasn’t until I was translated into German, by (the poet and novelist) Marcel Beyer, that I appreciated how devious I was in English. Deviousness, for me, is a prime quality of English—English English, that is. I don’t know that Americans do devious, and if they do, then it comes out different. Maybe high-energy devious." Michael Hofmann • Asymptote
"Whitman, who would go on, during the Civil War, to volunteer at an Army hospital, vacillates between empathy and disgust for such infirmities. He doesn’t so much sing the body electric as linger on the sad sack whose “joints move like those of some rusty machine,” whose “bowels are clogged with accumulations of fearful impurity, like sewers that have been stopped.”" Dan Piepenbring • The New Yorker
"This is primarily because Vuong possesses a large and unusual imagination, but the road he has taken to poetry is also a factor: he was born in Vietnam and emigrated to the US after a spell in a refugee camp; he is also gay. Being a Trump-voter’s worst nightmare seems to have provided him with a unique and often comic perspective on Western language and life." Paul Batchelor on Vuong, O'Riordan and Bryce New Statesman
"That’s one of our great societal difficulties with poetry; we can’t accept that it’s as it is, because we’ve been taught to believe that it’s about something else. We’re always looking for the something else it’s about. It’s a banal thing to say, but it accounts for a lot of trouble that readers get into." Paul Muldoon Princeton News
"The Soviet educational system was dominated by the atheism that she abhorred, but precisely why she was singled out for such inhuman treatment remains a mystery. One might have expected that she would have been given an intimidating rebuke by the KGB and dismissed from her job. Instead she found herself confronting the full force of the Soviet law, but poetry in Russia was always dangerous." Michel Bourdeaux Guardian
"Kleinzahler wants to capture experiences live, before they are recorded and mediated. He is always aiming for the moment of potential when something – in this case, history itself – is up for grabs. An impossible ambition perhaps but one that can produce thrillingly various results." Paul Batchelor New Statesman
"On 5 January 1934 he writes to Marianne Moore to suggest a new, expanded selection of her poems ‘to be put on the London market again’. This is followed, on the same day, by a letter to Harriet Weaver about the possibility of publishing Ulysses, an earlier attempt, by the Egoist Press, having been frustrated by the Home Office and the Customs who seized it as ‘obscene’. Two days later he writes to Ezra Pound, in a playful spirit, that if he is coarse (his caps), ‘as my old friend Winthrop Sprague Brooks used to say, I’ll be horse-fucked.’ Haffenden tells us about Mr Brooks but does not expand on ‘horse-fucked’." Michael Schmidt PN Review
"His visitors ranged from illustrious old friends, such as T. S. Eliot, Marianne Moore and William Carlos Williams, to eager younger poets, such as Robert Lowell and Allen Ginsberg, to less savoury members of the real lunatic fringe, among them the violent white sup­rem­acist John Kasper, whose neo-Nazi views “Uncle Ez” warmly supported and encouraged. To the end Pound remained an anti-Semite, but now he added black Americans and civil rights protesters to his roster of well-nurtured hatreds." Eric Ormsby • TLS
"“If you believe you’re a citizen of the world,” according to Theresa May, “you’re a citizen of nowhere. You don’t understand what the very word ‘citizenship’ means.” In the context of the Brexit negotiations, the enduring refugee crisis, the Trump presidency, tabloid xenophobia and the alarming rise in racist assaults since the EU Referendum, this kind of political illiteracy cannot be challenged often enough." Andy Croft Morning Star
"It was as if the bass on a sound system had been turned too soft. Was Shivanee Ramlochan’s poetry sounding out as it should – disturbing the heart’s function, not just thrilling or pleasing it? For the scope and foci of her writing are deeply and subtly offensive, both to the internationally marketed ‘Caribbean woman’ image, and to the strand of conservatism at home in the region (and not without its mirrors or twins elsewhere)." Vahni Capildeo the Poetry Review
"And for someone such as me, who often has a seat at the table, what is the role of tokenism, which I consider to be one of the most egregious and insidious pillars of oppression? Social media is the global platform for marginalized groups. It is certainly where black women communicate without being brokered by the mainstream – the white editors, producers and institutions who decide whose voices are heard. Online, our ideas and experiences are shared, honed and validated between ourselves. It is no coincidence that Reni Eddo-Lodge arose out of this blogosphere full of chutzpah. But it is a sign of the times that such a forthright book about Britain has been taken on by a major publisher. One hopes it will open the door to many more." Bernardine Evaristo TLS
"This just shows how incomplete every published account is – and, yes, I could do with another book about poetry in the cotton towns. Wilkinson mentions my work at one point and criticises it. The convention is to reply to these things, so I apologise if this is egoistic. He takes me down for mentioning Jim Burns but not discussing his work as magazine editor. OK, this is true. But there were 2000 magazines in the 60s." Andrew Duncan Litter
"The quality of anger is usually strained, but Williams’s muse was fuelled by a witty and beautiful anger that he channelled in three great poems at the end of the 1980s: Whale Nation, a wonderful hymn to the largest of all the mammals and a plea for their protection, Sacred Elephant, and Autogeddon, a JG Ballard-style ballad about the plague of the motor car. All three were filmed by the BBC, the third performed by Jeremy Irons." Michael Coveney Guardian
"Welton has cited numerous influences, from Gertrude Stein to Raymond Roussel. But, to this reader, the two most important ones are Wallace Stevens and Raymond Queneau. Stevens was using repetition as early as his first collection, “Harmonium” in 1923; his poem “Sea Surface Full of Clouds”, seems to be a foundational text for Matthew Welton’s poetry." Alan Baker Litter
"Part of Milosz’s lifelong project was to write as if poetry “is no longer a foreigner in society,” to make a poetic model out of shared trauma." Edward Hirsch New Republic
"He had already thought through some thought that I was presently struggling with. He had thought it through carefully and had articulated, in a way that profoundly resonated with me, what it meant to be a poet from the Caribbean, what it meant to speak one language while committing another to the page." Kei Miller PN Review
"I admit, I thought that ‘writing what I knew’, in this case, was a complete cop-out. The reason why I hadn’t written about disability before, I reasoned, was because I was more than that. (Read that last sentence in the most pompous voice you have. I dare you.)" Kit Kavanagh-Ryan Cordite
"There is a corner of English poetry which is forever Georgian." Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"With ‘Life scarce can cast a fragrance on the wind’, there is no hesitation. As we accede to this boldly memorable, lapidary eloquence, we can see what Larkin has learned from Yeats, even as he turns instead to Hardy’s more modest example: ‘What will survive of us is love.’" Craig Raine Arete
"“The Nobel,” he says. “That I kept it in proportion – the way most of the world didn’t. But I have had to be very judicious answering questions about Seamus since he’s been turned into a kind of saint.”" Michael Longley Irish Times
"Churchyard was no less keen on the use of words as weapons. Woodcock finds that his “dominant character” is “Churchyard the complainant or petitioner”, adopted right from his first publication, Davy Dycars Dreame (1551). Emulating Langland and Skelton, he sets out the social and economic grievances of the common man (in this case a “dyker”, a ditcher or labourer) in a broadside poem which provoked a print controversy comprising sixteen further works by various authors." Helen Hackett TLS
"Well the sonnet is an obsessional form. Its intellectual skeleton is opposition, its form is imbalance, the impatient compression of its concluding section (whether six, four, three or two lines) always leaving a question only temporarily settled, so the writer is invited or compelled to return to the charge, as in a domestic argument: “ … And another thing”. Eilean Ni Chuilleanain DRB
"The curse poem is a well-known Irish literary genre, especially in the Gaelic tradition Hartnett inherited through his Kerry-born grandmother, one of the last native Irish speakers in west Limerick." Frank McNally Irish Times
"After the discovery of a cache of Boswell manuscripts in 1929, Woolf’s diary records her feelings about the find: “Think! There are 18 volumes of Boswell’s diaries now to be published. With any luck I shall live to read them. I feel as if some dead person were said to be living after all”." Rachel Bowlby TLS
"The most discerning portrait in The Bread of Time is the one of Yvor Winters, whom [Philip] Levine got to know after Iowa when he was awarded the Jones Fellowship in Poetry at Stanford University in 1957. At one time a well-known poet and literary critic, Winters started out in the 1920s as an admirer and imitator of the Imagist poets, only to turn against modernism completely and propose a neoclassical poetics that was supposed to take its place." Charles Simic • NYRB
"When people ask me about writing poetry in collaboration, I tell them that writing collaboratively is a way to shake up your creative process, to make it new. Is this is true? I don’t feel any freer than I ever did, when I sit down to write. The most startling moment in my collaboration with Fowler came late, when we were revising the manuscript. We had gone through several rounds of revisions, rearrangements, and edits, tinkering with the manuscript. Suddenly, Fowler wrote to ask if he could attack the text and revise it radically—“be rampant,” in his words. Without a second thought, I said yes: this sounded wonderful. When Fowler’s revision arrived in my inbox, I was both horrified and embarrassed by my own horror. I couldn’t fathom what he had done." Ailbhe Darcy Critical Flame
"Unlike the word ‘O’, the word ‘Dear’ doesn’t offer the same echoes of Shelley or Blake or Horace. Yet more and more often it is being used to remarkably similar effect, as a way of ironising the act of waxing poetical while, at the same time, continuing to avail the poet of all the resources of the lyric." Anna Jackson PN Review
"It is interesting how evolution in one writer can win praise, and in another be disparaged. What I want to look at here is how, in her suite of three sermons on the warpland, we can see Brooks finding a way to adapt, rather than sacrifice, her mastery of prosody to her new sense of blackness; and across the three sermons, we can see, as well, an enactment of Brooks’s wrestling with, straddling, and ultimately reconciling the seeming conflict between English prosody and the language of black revolution." Carl Phillips Poetry
"While the crowd had listened politely to the assembled dignitaries, including the Bishop of Manchester, the Home Secretary, Jeremy Corbyn, and Andy Burnham, the new Mayor of Greater Manchester, it was Walsh’s poem – a celebration of the city as tough, defiant, welcoming – that drove the crowd, like a conductor, from raucous cheers to spellbound silence. In sharp contrast to Walsh’s poem, an academic study I recently read claims that terrorism “is first and foremost discourse”, which made me unsure about Auden’s assertion that “Accurate scholarship can / Unearth the whole offence . . . / That has driven a culture mad”." Douglas Field TLS
"The only reasoned and lucid response to the human condition, Leopardi decided, was despair: hence all positive action and happiness must always have the quality of illusion." Tim Parks NYRB
"I was aware of a number of [Liam Miller, editor of Dolmen Press]'s early books as they passed through the stages of publication. I was aware of a proposed book by Seamus Heaney. Miller was glad to add this to the body of new Irish poetry gathering around the press. I was enthusiastic, even without seeing the full contents. I had seen some of Heaney’s early poems and knew he was important. A strong image out of Bogland described what I myself had seen in the dark hall of the Natural History Museum: 'They’ve taken the skeleton / Of the Great Irish Elk / Out of the peat, and set it up, / An astounding crate full of air.'" Thomas Kinsella Irish Times
"Students of lyric are often eager to attempt to show that the contemporary lyric is politically radical and disruptive — usually because of its parody of dominant discourses or because of its linguistic deformations of ordinary ways of making sense — but it is hard to demonstrate that the presence of such strategies in poems has the desired effects." Jonathan Culler LARB
"Why was I suspicious, and why might others be anxious about seeing poetry funding data presented in this way (despite of course, it already being public). You can’t help but be hypnotised by some of the figures here. My first instinct was to find the highest single award (FYI, it is £543,500, awarded to[...])" Lucy Burns The Manchester Review
"True originality is baffling. Perhaps it’s just hard for the rest of the herd to know what to make of the sui generis blue kangaroo. What would the typical, straight-forward sincerest of the meditative-narrative mode of the 1980’s do with [Bill] Knott’s constant tone switching, sonically-fuelled image mash-ups, and his puns, doubletalk and neologisms?" David Rivard B O D Y
"Today, Forrest-Thomson is more relevant than ever. Although her voice might have gone underground for decades, the questions she raises go straight to the core of problems that plague poets today: How can you create a genuine experience in a poem? What can a poem do that other artistic media can’t? What is the purpose of writing a poem?" Adrienne Raphel Poetry
"Of course, I'm older now and, inevitably, less judgmental. I have also observed, over time, how more dignified, serious-minded poets have cultivated their reputations via the critical-academic establishment route—those tireless, decades-long campaigns for Pulitzers, even the Nobel, with all the bartering, double crosses, and leveraging that entails. Of course, this takes place behind the veneer of priestly devotion to the Art of Poesia, the life of the spirit and all that. Ginsberg, at least, made no pretense about it. He was, figuratively, on the busiest street corner in town, jealous of his position there, and with his skirt up over his head, wiggling his hairy old ass for whatever it was worth." August Kleinzahler Poetry Daily
"It is not purely a bitter coincidence that in his 1913 essay “The Morning of Acmeism” he asserts, “To exist is the artist’s greatest pride. He desires no other paradise than existence . . .” He goes on to describe Acmeism’s simple humanism and individualism – as opposed to the exclusivist mysticism of what had gone before – thus: “There is no equality, there is no competition, there is only the complicity of all who conspire against emptiness and non-existence. Love the existence of the thing itself and your own existence more than yourself: that is Acme­ism’s highest commandment.” Towards the end of his life he was also reported, by Akhmatova, to have described Acmeism as “a homesickness for world culture”." Eimear McBride New Statesman
" Just as the British tradition offers no equivalent to Walt Whitman’s poetry of the Civil War, so the American tradition seems to lack its Owen. Searching through A. Scott Berg’s excellent anthology, World War I and America, one comes up with very little poetry at all—Robert Frost’s “Not to Keep,” a passage from Ezra Pound’s “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley”—until, near the end, with a grin of recognition, one turns to E.E. Cummings’s sardonic and, for 1926, audacious “my sweet old etcetera.” A trench poem indeed, whose author had served in the ambulance corps. But Cummings seems a very long way from Owen." James Fenton NYRB
"The main thing I did was the text for a piece that was composed for an orchestra and a chorus of about 1200 people, and it was called "One Hundred Years a Nation," music by Sean [sic] Davey, presented in Collin's [sic] Barracks, which is the old British Army headquarters in Dublin, and presented on Easter Sunday. I'd written a poem called "1916: The Eoghan Rua Variations," which was also read over the course of the week, in the National Concert Hall. I also put together another show, in the National Concert Hall, of Irish writers, poets, novelists, and playwrights. Then I did something in the Dublin Writers' Center for another poem I'd been commissioned to write, which is about Padraig Pearse and the General Post Office in Dublin.[...] I mean there is a theory that all poems are commissioned in some sense. Andrew Motion, for example, the former poet Laureate of England, of the U.K., which is a job that involves a lot of commissions, feels that everything, in some sense, is commissioned. You set yourself the job of writing something. I, myself, don't quite go so far as that, because I try to do as little work as possible." Paul Muldoon APR
"Edith Hall, editor of this selection of Harrison’s prose, is a distinguished and energetic professor of Greek who once worked with the Scottish miners’ leader Mick McGahey. She calls attention to the way “Harrison has found in classical antiquity his most fruitful medium for discussing the class politics of art”. She understands his political anger as well as his artistic generosity." Robert Crawford Guardian
"Bryce casts light, from odd angles, on what is hidden in a series of brilliant self-portraits, sometimes with others, sometimes alone and, recurrently, featuring a stationary car. There is a giddy delight in Car Wash where Bryce and her partner find themselves “delighted by a wholly / unexpected privacy / of soap suds pouring, no, / cascading in velvety waves”, so that “what can we do”, she writes, “but engage in a kiss / in a world where to do so / can still stop the traffic.”" John McAuliffe Irish Times
"There is another reason. Sissay has found it too painful to read all his files, let alone the psychologist’s report. He says he will find it easier in the theatre." Lemn Sissay Guardian
"Frazier’s chief contribution is to shrink Yeats in Gonne’s life and to detail the extent and nature of her political affiliations and actions in France, of which Yeats and her own followers (some of them blind followers) were largely ignorant. As a result, Gonne is liberated (though her shade may regret this) from the Yeats oeuvre to become a larger, more complex and more dangerous figure certainly than I realised." John Wilson Foster DRB
"Glimpsed through the lens of [Malcolm] Guite’s biography, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” constitutes, as it were, the “involucrum” of Coleridge’s existential chrysalis: a chamber into which the poet’s emergent self will eventually swell." Kelly Grovier TLS
"There is more to be said elsewhere, but it offered a fascinating oversight into contemporary poetry among writers likely to enter competitions—many of whom seemed to have only the vaguest idea of what a poem was. (Slap some rhymes down, give it some ‘fine feeling’, et voila!)." Gerry Cambridge The Dark Horse
"To return once more to Cassandra, [Anne] Carson envisions that the poet, like the prophet, must ‘prove to you that she is a prophet by telling you unbelievable news, which you will only believe if you already regard her as a prophet’ (‘Cassandra Float Can’). Such a tautology, as Carson calls it, could invite allegations of pushing a ‘low-stakes’ approach to writing poetry." Alexa Winik The Scores
"Elizabeth Bishop’s Complete Poems." Jenny Bornholdt NZ Poetry Shelf
"To some extent this is ground that Kennard has covered before, but Cain is an altogether darker creation, written from the doldrums between youth and middle-age (the stretch that people who don’t hate themselves call their “prime”)." Paul Batchelor New Statesman
"A chronicle of modern St. Lucia, it was also an epic of the New World, weaving from its characters’ encounters with history a deeper, vaster story on a sunken loom. On walks down the Lenape Trail near my childhood home in New Jersey, I listened for the lost Indian languages Walcott heard in the woodcutters’ pyre: “a resinous bonfire that turned the leaves brown/ with curling tongues, then ash, and their language was lost.”" Julian Lucas NYT
"“Poems are visible right now, which is terribly ironic, because you rather wish it weren’t so necessary,” [Jane Hirshfield] said. “When poetry is a backwater it means times are O.K. When times are dire, that’s exactly when poetry is needed.”" Alexandra Alter NYT
"The mother is more appealing, as she struggles to grasp her daughter’s online fame. “No, no, no, no, no, no, Mom,” Patricia [Lockwood] says regarding the viral rape poem. “You must never look at the comments.” “Do not post this on the internet,” Mom vainly commands at another point." Suzi Feay FT
"Lewis’s husband was the poet and critic Yvor Winters. I knew about and read Winters during my graduate work in English in the nineties and early aughts. But I’d never heard of Janet Lewis. Having now read two of her novels and a number of poems, this shocks me. I mean, it does and it doesn’t." Karen Solie Brick
"It’s also brave to choose NOT to speak out of your ‘identity’, though it can feel like you’re letting the side down. It’s ok not to be a ‘voice’. It’s ok to watch the shadows playing on the wall, or listen to the west wind, and quietly bring them into a poem for their own sake. It’s a Paleolithic eye that’s doing the watching, after all, evolved of the deep ongoing human journey. An ancient listening ear which is also your own. How you see and listen is part of your own self." Kathleen Jamie The Scores
"A portrait of Brodsky hangs in Baryshnikov’s pied-à-terre a few blocks away. He had asked the poet to caption it on his 40th birthday: “Our native land is wide, it’s vast. Though neither Mouse nor Cat felt like living there to see their 40th.” “It’s very witty in Russian,” Baryshnikov says. It is also deeply personal. Brodsky called the diminutive Baryshnikov “Mouse”, which in Russian sounds like Misha, Baryshnikov’s nickname. The older, larger Brodsky was “Cat”." Neil Munshi FT

"A WB Yeats Rose created for the 150th anniversary of the poet’s birth in 2015 sits in the corner of a good-sized conservatory at the side of the house. This opens on to the tiered back garden, filled with trees and colourful shrubs, from which there are good sea views." Frances O'Rourke Irish Times
"[David Jones's] In Parenthesis also reaches back and forth in history; because, as Jones puts it in the introduction, ‘at no time did one so much live with a consciousness of the past, the very remote, and the more immediate and trivial past, both superficially and more subtly.’ Dilworth recounts Jones meeting a ‘shit wallah’ carrying two full buckets. Jones commented to the man, ‘You’ve got a dirty, bloody job.’ To which the man replied, ‘Bloody job indeed. The army of Artaxerxes was utterly destroyed for lack of sanitation.’" Ian Pople The Manchester Review "Jones often wrote about “the Break”, the cultural moment somewhere around the beginning of modernity when the European world-view shifted decisively. Instead of a world where things were unique but linked by an unimaginable density of connection and cross-reference, we had created one in which things were unconnected but endlessly repeatable and where everything could be exchanged in the market for an agreed equivalent: above all, for money. Jones saw his work – both as a visual artist and as a poet – as a sustained protest against the Break and an effort to show that the older picture could, after all, be brought to life." Rowan Williams New Statesman
"Several years ago at a writers’ conference, Tate revealed another unusual feature of the poem. He was asked about his approach to revision and said flatly that he never revised. Instead, he would write a promising line and sit and wait for the next good line to come to him." John Morgan NYRB
"AE’s poem, written initially as an Easter Rising elegy, was part of a deliberate effort to build bridges between different political traditions in Ireland. A disenchanted AE resigned from the Convention in February 1918 when it became clear to him that an agreed settlement was no longer achievable." Dan Mulhall Irish Times
"Nevertheless, by the end of browsing through this heartening and life-enhancing selection, some recurrent principles do make themselves felt. Nature in some sense constantly returns. And we see what the editors mean about the re-creation of the “visceral thrill” of the first reading of a poem." Bernard O'Donoghue Irish Times
"A singer of hymns and a student of the harpsichord, her favourite poets George Herbert and Gerard Manley Hopkins and Baudelaire – was she more seventeenth-century, or nineteenth? A delayed Metaphysical or a fearless Victorian traveller in pelerine and hat and veil? She liked littorals and islands, and spent probably half her life outside the United States. She herself noted, “it is odd how I often feel myself to be a late-late Post World War I generation member, rather than a member of the Post World War II generation”, to which technically she belonged, her first book, North & South, having been published in 1946." Michael Hofmann TLS
"We ignore the misuse of language at our peril, the invasions of mind that mirror invasions of land. [Solman] Sharif shows us the consequences of that collective failure. Look demonstrates not only that language is an integral part of the military arsenal but also that poetry remains a subversive act, a refusal to submit to despair or amnesia." Eva FW Linn Critical Flame
"[Michael O'Brien's] poems are spare and exact, but everywhere they remind us of earthly abundance: “here where there is everything instead of nothing.” He liked Lady Murasaki’s answer to the Prince when he asked her why she writes: So there will never be a time when people don’t know these things happened. Michael had a special affinity for resemblances. He loved similes, echoes, and puns. The word “likeness” appears in his poems again and again." Patrick Morrissey Chicago Review
"Victor Hugo was a fine Gothicky-Romantic artist in his own right, and an innovative one too, mixing onto his palette everything from coffee grounds, blackberry juice, and caramelized onion to spit and soot, not to mention what his biographer Graham Robb tactfully terms “even less respectable materials.” Julian Barnes NYRB
"Emily Berry’s second collection, Stranger, Baby – published this year by Faber & Faber, is luminous green and hard to put down." Annie Muir The Manchester Review
"The splendidly titled Brexit Day on the Balmoral Estate is a fine widening out of subject matter for Waterman. These are loosely ‘travel’ poems and travel around Europe from Sarajevo, to Albania, to the aforementioned Balmoral. Like a lot of travel writing – and travel poetry, in particular – the poems are journeys around the self as much as they are around the landscape." Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"These reviews have a tough tone but a generous outlook, and one of the virtues of reading decades of reviews collected in this manner is that we have the chance to see that [Mary] Dalton does not always review "the usual suspects," but rather, a swath of Canadian poets who have been working hard for years often without accolades or awards. The result is a critical constellation by which outline we can read Dalton as a cultural commentator on national literature, and is the kind of literary constellation that every reviewer should aspire to creating with their own critical oeuvre." Tanis MacDonald Malahat Review
"I’ve hardly yet begun to talk about the intersections I know are possible between prose and poetry, the great interest I—and so many others—have in hybridity." Camille Dungy Triquarterly
"Culture is less a series of peaceable, adjacent neighbourhoods, each inhabited by different art forms, than a jungle in which various animals claim whatever territory is there for the taking. It’s possible that poets can trail along foxlike behind the massive tiger of popular music, occasionally plucking a few choice hairs from its coat both to demonstrate their superiority and to make themselves look a bit tigerish. With Dylan’s Nobel, we saw what happens when the big cat turns around." David Orr NYT
"Chuck Berry’s forceful and witty lyrics are not great poetry in any dimension, but they are hugely memorable, and known to millions by heart because of the way they are embedded in the music, and that music is embedded in our memories and lives. If even 100,000 people could quote Walcott by heart today, that would be surprising." Guardian
"Derek Walcott offered students a dangerous place to write, and he taught them to find many voices, especially voices of the past. He was not in the business of signing permission slips. His partner, Sigrid Nama, who is the quintessence of tact and warmth, told me early on that “Derek can’t schmooze, can’t lie, and has no small talk.”" Bert Almon • The Walrus
"It could be said that Feinstein is the curious child loving blossom and mosses, still eager in her disguise as the “girl / with wet feet and muddy skirt”, hurrying in her new poem Delusions of the Retina to “welcome another year into my garden”." Martina Evans Irish Times
"Doig couldn’t have asked for a more daunting appraiser than the eighty-seven-year-old Nobel laureate. No one has scrutinized the Caribbean with more devotion, sensitivity, and protectiveness than Walcott, a St. Lucian poet, playwright, and painter who has made its landscape the touchstone of his art. He flew to Montreal in 2014 for Doig’s exhibition “No Foreign Lands,” urged by the French editor Harry Jancovici, who after reading Walcott on Caribbean painting proposed a joint project. It began with the artist steering Walcott through the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, watching from behind his wheelchair as he evaluated each painting, inaugurating the series of exchanges that would become Morning, Paramin." Julian Lucas NYRB
"The house governs the poetics of space (inflected by time – and eventually Riemann’s geometry provides a model for Einstein’s space-time); the road and river govern a poetics of time (inflected by space – for we must all go home again, whether we can or can’t, in fact or in imagination, sooner or later). And what child does not thrill to the romance of departure, which is after all what eventually he or she prepares to do." Emily Grosholz PN Review
"At the same time, some people really want poems — specifically poems written in the first person — to be about someone and something “real,” and they can feel cheated when the poem isn’t. There needs to be a different way of talking about it aside from “autobiography.” I’m interested in how Sharon Olds has spoken about her work as being “apparently personal.” The things of her poems do seem like her “real life,” but she didn’t used to own up to that. But even then — I say “own up” as if I’m accusing her of not admitting something." Emily Berry • LARB
"And among the many classics on [California-based website, allpoetry.com] is Patrick Kavanagh’s epic, The Great Hunger. This is a grim portrait of the Irish rural condition, circa 1942, seen through the words and thoughts of unmarried farmer Patrick Maguire. But for our purposes, the relevant extract is where Maguire – as quoted by the website, asterisks and all – says this: “Is that Cassidy’s *** out in my clover? Curse o’ God/Where is that dog?”" Frank McNally Irish Times
"“The Seaside Cemetery” is Derek Mahon’s translation (included in his collection Harbour Lights, 2005) of Valéry’s “Le Cimetière Marin”. In it he Valéry faces an objective, unresponsive world on which his thinking can make no impact, and is tempted to join those who “have long ago arrived” at death’s conclusion. But this world calls him back." Andrew McCulloch TLS
"He wanted musicality in his 1950s novels, experimental prose poetry and the self-invented free form haikus he called “American Pops”. The elegiac passages concluding On the Road (1957) and “October in the Railroad Earth” have long been celebrated for the flowing rhythmic beauty of their wordplays. But his modern jazz-inspired improvisational poetics took far longer to gain recognition, even though his friends Allen Ginsberg and Michael McClure, and the youthful Bob Dylan, were early advocates for Mexico City Blues, the latter calling it “the first poetry that spoke my own language”." Jules Smith TLS
"No-one has been more interestingly unhappy than Houellebecq." Rob Doyle Irish Times
"Watts has described being drawn to animals: “their un-self consciousness and their (in the main) indifference to me is liberating.” It seems that against the backdrop of the natural world, Watts finds the freedom to probe unsettling thoughts and emotions." Lucy Winrow • The Manchester Review
"As Marinetti wrote in the Futurist manifesto: ‘Time and Space died yesterday. We already live in the absolute.’ Libertarians, like the Futurists, loathe the past, which they associate with the natural world: the future is artificial, and they want to own it." Jay Griffiths • Aeon
"Between them, the nuthatch form a quadrangular space in the hedge and it reminds me of what Eliot called, “…the intersection of the timeless moment/ Is England and nowhere.” The gidding of nuthatch fly off across a field where redwings, too agitated about leaving to be counted, call constantly to each other with a question: When? And they complete Eliot’s line, “Never and always.”" Paul Evans Guardian
"The truth is, there is no “proper” subject for poetry. All of life is its subject. Nothing should be out of bounds." Max Wallis • Guardian
"This is an extraordinarily rich book from a young poet who is already able to make phrases dance and vibrate. He is skilled with prose poems, open form and the placement of short lines. And that technical range is allied with a hugely fertile imagination to create a book which is often unputdownable." Ian Pople • Manchester Review
"You don't need to know what Modernism did to poetry to feel how the project of twenty-first-century life means following through on the great social changes of the twentieth century—you just need to check Facebook and see how many times we need to be liked to get up in the morning." Katie Peterson • Poetry Daily
"One of Yeats’s stranger ideas to come from the 1890s and the beginning of his immersion in the rituals and beliefs of the Order of the Golden Dawn was his wish -- influenced by Auguste Villiers de l’Isle-Adam’s symbolist play Axël -- to establish a Castle of Heroes on a lake isle in Lough Key, County Roscommon, a lake that would, a half-century later become a very real part of John McGahern’s world when he moved to live with his father in Cootehall, Co Roscommon after the death of his mother." Frank Shovlin • Irish Times
"There’s something shocking and very rebellious about the simple act in those final lines of consuming things that haven’t been regulated by bureaucracy and vetted by the state. This wild disengagement from politics and finance and the nanny-state occurs in quite a few of Pandemonium’s poems." Simon Haworth • The Manchester Review
"Twombly reads both Seferis and Rilke in translation – the latter in Stephen Mitchell’s rendition of The Duino Elegies – as he reads Horace and Virgil in translation. And there, I’m afraid, is the rub." Marjorie Perloff • TLS
"He was always a good hater and would have been a skilled practitioner of the medieval Scots tradition of poetic flyting – the trading of literary insults – but he was good at friendship too. In the 1950s and 1960s, he was the centre of a circle of poets, writers and critics who met regularly in the pubs and howfs of Edinburgh’s Rose Street. Milne’s Bar was a favourite venue and the smoke-filled corner where they regularly gathered became known as Little Kremlin. The group was more than a tight literary milieu, a Bloomsbury of the north, with whisky and incidental bagpipe music; it was the core of what would become known as the modern Scottish renaissance, kindling a cultural confidence that inspired the revived independence movement." Annalena McAfee • Guardian
"He mines the poetry in his library – poetry whose aesthetic, as in the case of Rilke or Seferis, seems far removed from his own syncretic collage composition – for thematic material. And in responding to this process, Jacobus inevitably engages in what is traditional source study. She assesses with great acumen what Twombly’s aims were, and shows brilliantly how he combines the various poetic motifs in his painting. But the question remains, to paraphrase Clark, whether the inclusion of handwritten copies of specific poetic passages does anything to the normal art-ness of picture space. Since, for that matter, the poetic material is almost invisible – we have to take the critic’s word for its presence as well as for the further citations with which she often enhances her material – how much does its existence actually affect the space, structure, and scale of a given painting?" Marjorie Perloff • TLS
"Thomas McCarthy’s style does not just apply historical insights and visions to familiar landscapes; his is a style that does not easily declare itself, cautiously feeling its way along the currents it describes, and occasionally editing in details that give away the vulnerability and safety the poems seem to desire in the world: “Like us, the tide is seeking a cove / Where it doesn’t need to be obliging,” begins Become Water, a poem that seems almost utopian in comparison with the book’s other scenes." John McAuliffe • Irish Times
"Long ago I spent some years in the East, and I recall that in a certain establishment in a back street in Singapore a motto used to hang over the bar: ‘As a martini demands gin, so British verse requires Tom Raworth.’" John Tranter • Jacket "Raworth is very much in favour of jam (as reward, as improv) today: if there is one element that is at stake in all his work, it is that of speed. His is a quicksilver mind, one that announces very early, ‘i made this pact, intelligence/shall not replace intuition’ (‘Wedding Day’), and that revels in brushing aside any tendency to ponder." Jonathan Catherall • The Literateur "In the later poems, the most daily of routines are seen to have a political unconscious. The occasion for ‘Lippitude’ (the noun literally means soreness of the eyes, but it also implies having a lot of lip), is probably the familiar eye-chart test." Marjorie Perloff • PN Review
"I began writing at 17 in what was chronologically my second language, having arrived in England at the age of eight as a Hungarian refugee with no English. I cannot tell precisely what inner resources I brought with me at that age, but I was not a clean slate. That slate had already been written on by my family history, my parents, my city, my street and the events of my then short life. I was, like everyone else, a palimpsest." George Szirtes • Guardian
"Weirdly I think that one of the reasons why I like Dear Boy so much (and the selections of Berry’s work in this collection, which we can get on to) is that I find her poems so difficult and confusing. Not difficult and confusing in the way I find a lot of poetry though, where I might just read it once and forget about it, or move on to the next poem like huh (which I probably do too often), instead there are some poems in that book, and in this selection, that I feel like I’m now a bit obsessed with." Lucy Burns and Callum Coles • The Manchester Review
"Nothing is natural in the work of Rae Armantrout. Our words, gestures, and relationships are conventional, scripted, deformed — or outright produced — by, as she has it, “the interventions of capitalism into consciousness.” On the subject of “nature,” I notice plenty of  leaves, and leaf-shadows, and leaf-reflections (in both senses of the word) in her poems — but her plants are urban, compromised, possibly parodying of Keats." Vidyan Ravinthiran • Poetry
"The violent relationship between Ashbery’s poem and the great number of real-life rivers it lists shocked me. I was amused by the satire of the travel writer’s weirdly unpicturable observations. But that couldn’t fully explain the poem’s power. This poetry’s relationship with the world was different from that of more familiar poems, which generally tried to describe the world by describing it. In Ashbery’s poem, the tension between the descriptions of the rivers, and what I knew about the rivers, produced a third thing, flickering between experience and imagination." Caleb Klaces on Ben Lerner • Poetry London
"In an unpublished review of Sylvia Plath’s Letters Home, Bishop wrote: “Of course one can’t really ‘review’ letters, or criticise them – at least, not perhaps the way a play, a novel, or poetry can be reviewed or criticised”. The scholarly contributors to Letter Writing Among Poets argue that letters merit as much critical attention as texts in other genres, and that poets’ letters reward particular scrutiny." Nancy Campbell • TLS
"As G.K. Chesterton’s hero Father Brown put it in one story: Where does a wise man hide a pebble? On a beach; and where does a wise man hide a corpse? On a battlefield. Many pebbles, it is believed, have been hidden on this particular beach. And you can imagine the variety of pretexts there would be for revenge—old insults, rivalries, a sense of injured merit, matters of love and sex." James Fenton • NYRB
"Take, for example, the word Ginsterlicht, from the poem “Matière de Bretagne” (Michael Hamburger translates it as “Gorselight”): it seems to refer to light traveling through the twigs of the genista plant, and all the translators whose work is examined in this volume use “lumière de genet” or “lumière du genet” (p. 269). However, Jean-Pierre Lefebvre underlines the importance of landscape to this poem, and Dueck herself explores the associations between the genista plant and the location of Saarbrücken on the German-French border, where Neue Bremm, the Nazi torture camp, was located, in 1943-1944. Bremm issues from Old High German, and signifies “thorn.”" Ottilie Mulzet • Asymptote


New poems

Mark Ford Poetry London

Andrea Brady Granta

Kit Fan The Poetry Review

Evan Jones Poetry Ireland Review

Gordon Mitchell Smith Kenyon Review

Ocean Vuong Poetry London

Heather Phillipson Poetry international

Ian Pople Berfrois

Julian Stannard the Poetry Review

Atsuro Riley Threepenny Review

Marianne Moore Guardian

Joel Brouwer Conduit

Allis Hamilton The Poetry Review

Ocean Vuong Poetry

Debra Nystrom Blackbird

Keshia Starrett Honest Ulsterman

JT Welsch Honest Ulsterman

Michael Longley Forward Arts

Arthur Mortensen The Dark Horse

Elise Paschen The Hudson Review

Leanne O'Sullivan Irish Times

Ian Duhig The Punch

Luke Kennard Poems in Which

Andrew Jamison Poetry Ireland Review

Ocean Vuong Poetry London

Michael O'Brien Chicago Review

Denis Johnson 42 Miles

Emma Simon The Rialto

Ryan Fox New Yorker

Lorna Goodison Guardian

Sue Leigh Arete

Emily Berry Granta

Gillian Allnut The Poetry Review

Rebecca Perry The Scores

Anne Carson New Yorker

Claire Askew The Literateur

Joey Connolly The Manchester Review

Maurice Riordan The Scores

Amy Key New Statesman

Chase Twitchell Massachusetts Review

Ange Mlinko Poetry

Laura Scott PN Review

Nuar Alsadir Granta

Charles Simic Threepenny Review

Stephen Sexton Financial Times

Frederick Seidel Paris Review

Roy Fisher The Poetry Archive

Richard Osmond Guardian

Derek Mahon Irish Times

Vincenz Serrano High Chair

Michael Hofmann New Yorker

Susan Barba Poetry

Stevie Howell Southword

Daisy Fried Threepenny Review

Rachael Allen Poetry london

Michael Symmons Roberts The Manchester Review

Emily Berry The Morning Star

Janet Rogerson Manchester Review

Penelope Shuttle The Manchester Review

Sean Hewitt New Statesman

Daisy Fried Scoundrel Time

Carl Phillips The Manchester Review

Bill Manhire Manchester Review

Tom Raworth Poetry

Emily Berry Poetry

Rachael Allen Poetry London

Sharon Olds The Nation

Maureen N McLane Fatboy Review



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