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

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

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

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

"I wonder how much Smith dwells on how they’ve been received, whether by the black boys and queer communities they speak to and for or by the nation they call out in 'dear white america'–a 2014 recording of that poem, produced by the Minneapolis-based performance-poetry organization Button Poetry, is Smith’s most watched performance, with over three hundred thousand views. In the United Kingdom, for instance, Smith has been framed, alternatively, as instructively representative or startlingly exceptional, as a symptom of the United States’ 'insatiable gun battle with itself' or a 'YouTube star.' Incessantly, tiresomely, readers in both countries have pitted performance poetry (where Smith got their start) against page-bound poetry (where they’re currently thriving). There are, to be sure, plenty of actual differences between performance and the page—plenty to say about technique and embodiment, about demographics and cultural recognition (you are not reading the Yale Review of YouTube Videos)–but all too often those differences are elided in favor of coded evaluations about class, race, gender, and sexuality, or of supposedly self-evident judgments about what could (or could never) deserve to be termed 'poetic,' 'artistic,' 'intellectual.'" Christopher Spaide • Yale Review
"It should be awarded to a poet of true recognition, a poet admired by both their fellow poets and by the public, a poet who is both expert and enthusiast, and a poet who is an accomplished practitioner of the art as well as its champion and ambassador." Simon Armitage Guardian
"I hope that the endings of my poems will act as a refresh button, sending the reader back into the loop. But sometimes they don’t." Montreux Rotholtz in conversation with Kallie Falandays • Entropy
"These poems avoid the kind of mushily Heideggerean ecopoetics that seeks to regain our rootedness within nature by recovering particular lost words for it. There is as much enchantment here in the technical or informative as there is in the conventionally poetic: cross-referencing when a curlew was ‘required in the books’ to migrate is just as much a part of looking for it as the actual sighting. The pleasure that comes with our failed naming of the beasts reaches its zenith in our pets, the animals we know we can’t name into loving us." Jack Belloli Review31
"Poetry has changed a great deal in the 10 years of her tenure: “We have Instagram poets, performance poetry has exploded, there’s much more diversity.”" Lisa Allardice profiles Carol Ann Duffy Guardian
"The increasing note of desperation might have been triggered by the fact that Beuscher hardly ever replied. This was something that Sylvia seems to have feared from the start, and explains why she repeatedly proposes “paid-letter sessions” in three letters from July. On September 4, she writes: 'I’d be awfully grateful just to have a postcard from you saying you think any paid letter sessions between us are impractical or unhelpful or whatever . . . . It is the feeling of writing into a void that never answers, or may at any moment answer, that is difficult.' In total, Sylvia sent fourteen letters and seems to have received only two. But the editors do not make the pattern of correspondence easy to reconstruct." Hannah Sullivan • TLS "Plath’s letters to Beuscher, whom she stiffly addresses as 'Dr.' throughout, sometimes assume the tone of a psychiatric appointment, where candor and speculation, fact and hunch, are twinned. But their transparency is arresting; these are the only letters in the book where Plath sets aside the kaleidoscopic genius of her style in favor of the plainest possible account. And it is fully consistent with what has long been suspected about Hughes and Plath’s relationship that he might have assaulted her." Dan Chiasson • New Yorker
"Indeed, what is often striking about Adrienne Rich’s concept of 'transformative writing,' to borrow Claudia Rankine’s formulation, is its Whitmanian inclusiveness, as well as its use of rhetorical strategies derived from one of her earliest enthusiasms, Wallace Stevens. 'Not Ideas About the Thing But the Thing Itself' runs a typical Stevens title, and crucial to Rich’s redemptive vision of poetry is the act of clearing away the mythical accretions, the inherited narratives, that prevent analysis and understanding and liberation." Mark Ford • NYRB
"It is one of the collection’s many virtues that it doesn’t allow us the redemptive enjoyment of knowing that this person escapes at all, even though the pacing and the narrative voice imply that he is speaking, at some level, from the other side of exile – the safer side, if not necessarily the happier side." Dai George on Nick Makoha The White Review
"What if, on the other hand, Tony Hoagland’s speaker were a clownishly reactionary bigot spewing racial slurs, someone clearly not the poet. How easy it would be to put that character where he belonged: not me. Nothing to do with me. No, this poem is about a much more prevalent, more insidious sort of racism—white, liberal, emotional, infrastructural—mostly hidden—racism." Daisy Fried Poetry
"In poetry—and elsewhere—epiphanies have gone out of style. Make no mistake, though, we read looking for the same catharsis, the same edifying sense of being connected to something beyond ourselves we’ve always wanted—and literature still offers that experience, however carefully disguised." Tom Andes • Sink
"Both walking through a city and reading a poem are ways to thoughtfully and pleasingly disrupt the flow of time and possibly to intensify or concentrate your experience. Both constitute occasions to ignore or even disrupt the prevailing fantasies—predicated on speed—of global capitalism: efficiency, profit maximization, and productivity. A poem is by design inefficient; it’s not a set of instructions or a memo or a text. A walk is almost never the fastest way to get somewhere. But both walks and poems can afford a more textured and deep experience of space and time." Kathleen Rooney • Poetry
"I was waiting for Baby, I Don’t Care with heightened senses. Can she top Poemland. Is she gonna do something completely different. How old is she these days. And so on. The answers to those questions turned out to be no; no; and forty-eight." Anthony Madrid • Rhino
"Like Claudia Rankine’s Citizen or Denise Riley’s Say Something Back, this is a book that feels as if it redefines the ways in which the lyric is currently conceived." Paul Batchelor New Statesman
"But can I just say this Ilya, I saw you read at Calabash in Jamaica a few years ago and you had Valzhyna Mort read your incredible poems after you read them yourself because you weren’t sure your voice would travel to us. Then I saw you read in Newcastle this year and you had printed your poems so we could all follow you. You moved me to tears, partly because it reminded me of how we’ve had to put in extra work to develop our deaf poetics, it has to be alive for us in a physical space as well as on the page." Raymond Antrobus Poetry International
"What some enlightened people attempt, from the Vanguardia to the present day, is to achieve a state of poetry in which all arts reintegrate once more. That is to say, if from one perspective we’ re talking about evolution, from another perspective we have to talk about accumulation. Stated in paradoxical form, we can affirm that in poetry and in the arts containing poetry, there is progress, and there’s no progress." Mayra López, trans. Kristin Dykstra • Chicago Review (scroll down)
"During last February’s New York Fashion Week, the designer Tracy Reese had models strut to poetry readings on the catwalk. Even the insurance firm Nationwide is getting in on the trend; it recently released a series of commercials in which poets wax on about the miracle of a mortgage." Faith Hill and Karen Yuan The Atlantic
"is poems were best appreciated when read aloud, allowing all those internal rhymes and well-paced rhythms to be heard. In a hotel room in Prague, I read Dialann Bóthar to my companion from start to finish, insisting he appreciate the artistry of the sounds." Ailbhe Ni Ghearbhuigh on Liam O Muirthile Irish Times
"But, for most of Western history, men cried incessantly, and mostly for themselves. In one of the first written accounts of a man crying, in the Odyssey, Odysseus is drunk, and a singer, Demodocus, is taking requests. Odysseus wants to hear the one about Odysseus—of his own adventures in the Trojan War, desperately wending his way home. Listening to someone sing of his embattled sorrows, he begins to cry. “Great Odysseus melted into tears,” Homer writes. Nothing made the man cry quite like himself. And when he finally returned home, years later, in disguise, his nurse recognized him by his weeping. His cry face was his truest self." Michael Lista • New Yorker

"I have seen few photographs of the poet Jack Spicer, and none as compelling as Jonathan’ s. Spicer stands on a huge log at the bottom of a towering log pile somewhere in Mendocino County, California, in 1954. I think of him snarling on a bar stool, keeping his crew in line at the Place or some other North Beach bar. Spicer is taller in this photograph than he is in my mind’ s eye, and he has a dour expression. Perhaps he feels as out of place as he looks. Every time I look at this photograph I come away with the odd sensation that I’ m missing something, that Spicer has eluded my gaze." William Corbett Chicago Review
"Because of this strong rootedness in narrative and in autobiography, Levine has often been unfashionable among critics and writers with more “experimental ” sensibilities. Yet his writing, as Hirsch describes it, is “a fundamentally human-centered poetry, ” and, much more than an easily epiphanic narrative poet, Levine is a careful witness to a wide range of human experience, as evidenced, among other places, in this collection’ s many poems about travel in Europe and South America." Christopher Kempf Chicago Review
"Rather than simply articulating the dynamic of intimate online communication through poems that are non-complex in form and aim, post-internet poetry has the opportunity to exploit the ambivalence of cuteness. If a poem itself is tender and cute, an intimate expression of commodified subjectivity, an inadequate vehicle for politics in a marginal artform, perhaps it should also be monstrous and dangerous, looming over the streets and straining at its tethers.Within digital platforms, we are typically situated as both consumers and producers, in control and yet completely powerless: for Facebook, its users provide content for each other, whilst having their attention sold to advertisers; for Uber, its ‘partner drivers’ are able to ‘make money on [their] terms,’ whilst being managed, controlled and potentially ‘deactivated’ via the app.67 Our position is always cute; perhaps this way we retain the capacity for revenge." Lucy Burns and Charles Whalley Partisan Hotel
"Rosselli resisted the appropriation of Plath’s work by feminists, although she, like Plath, deliberately confronted gender barriers. No doubt Rosselli agreed with her fellow poet Armanda Guiducci, who wrote in Italian Women Poets (2002) that “when people speak of ‘women’s poetry’ they mean a sub-standard poetry, one that is unstructured or weak, pathetic, or sentimental. This roses and papier-maché poetry is normally compared unfavorably to ‘virile’ poetry, which we characterize as passionate, powerful, abstract, etc.”" Lisa Mullenneaux Critical Flame
"Those who are able to make a living from art will always be in a small minority. The difference between either resisting ‘professionalisation’ or identifying as a ‘professional’ poet in a more fluid sense seems to be whether we experience this as an active or passive shift, as something either structurally imposed or conscientiously adopted. Whether the reflex is to bristle or brighten at the evolving language of these debates, a clearer focus on its practical effects will help us understand the new situation it creates. Alongside questions of pay, we might come to view poetry’s occupational turn as less a threat to creative integrity than a reflection of the need to widen its opportunities." JT Welsch The Poetry Review
" The light is not dying but resurging, and even when it does begin to fade we feel it will not be raged at but accepted as a part of the natural order of things, the precursor to another Ovidian metamorphosis. The collection is wonderfully varied. There is a poem to the poet’s daughter, one on Hurricane Ophelia and one on Being a Dog; there is even a lament on the Time of Trump. All testify to the unflagging spirit of one of the very finest of Irish poets, living or dead, “still singing, still going strong”. Against the Clock gives cause for national celebration." John Banville on Derek Mahon Irish Times
"As an outsider, when you enter a prison for the very first time, what immediately assaults you is the blah architecture: nothing ornamental, the floor, ceilings, and walls painted an awful institutional gray or green, the lighting too bright or too dark." Tom Sleigh Yale Review
"Justice for Pablo Neruda, and for his readers, would be to acknowledge his sins without losing sight of his accomplishment—meaning his voice." David Mason Hudson Review
"For indigenous people in this country the English language is a kind of trade language. We are over five hundred federally recognized nations. There are over 220 living indigenous languages. This whole hemisphere is Indian country, from North to South, rich in many cultures, in many languages. English, Spanish, and French allow us to move about and communicate more globally. But it is our tribal languages that allow us to know ourselves intimately." Joy Harjo •
"While many post-conceptual poets continue the appropriation and transformation of pre-written texts that is central to conceptual poetry, there seems to be an increased emphasis in their work on performativity, the tangible impact of social media, and an eclecticism of styles ranging from employing appropriated texts to writing more freely." Hazel Smith Cordite
"Although there have been many calls for decolonization in literary studies, the issue remains: how does poetry include rather than exclude myriad traditions and, therefore, myriad voices? how does poetry build upon its foundations a new, decolonized canon?" Emilia Phillips • Ploughshares
"I’m not going to lose plausible. I won’t go into how this disagreement with my editor sorted out. Both well and not well, as it happened. No one need wonder, of course, about the origins of this dismaying “new meaning” for doughty, previously admired Mr. Plausible. Ben Jonson famously put it most memorably when he noted, “Wheresoever manners and fashion are corrupt, language is. It imitates the public riot.”" Richard Ford Threepenny Review
"When constraints bind, they also tempt escape, provoke insubordination and defiance." R.A. Villanueva in conversation with Ali Lewis • Poetry School
"He was besotted with Jackson, bored by the philosophy and history of the Literae Humaniores course, and disturbed by a humiliating personal scandal: his solicitor father was exposed as an embezzler, and the family was plunged into insolvency. Housman retreated into two things that would become his life’s focus: painstaking reconstruction of corrupted Latin texts, and his relationship with Jackson. Neither passion, though, was on the syllabus for his final examinations, which Housman duly ploughed." Will Tosh TLS
"[Muriel] Rukeyser’s work ought to be preserved precisely because she’s such an unwieldy candidate for feminist canonization. Bridging the old Left and the New, international and domestic politics, foremother and front-runner, her career poses profound challenges to the conventional schools and period divisions through which we narrate twentieth-century literary and political history." Sam Huber • Paris Review
"The quarrel in this book is between the language-loving poet for whom one phrase deliquesces into another and the more hard-bitten and judicious figure of Autocomplete, who holds language to account, who wants an ethical warrant for his aesthetic skill." John McAuliffe Irish Times
"[F]or the early [Barbara K.] Lewalski, genres exist between literature and other kinds of writing, especially Biblical and speculative, and that instead of being closed boxes, they are open channels that shuttle between fields of discourse." Roland Greene • Arcade
"[Jose F.] Lacaba would later recall that in the course of his torture, he was told: 'You’re the one who wrote that poem in that magazine.' He did not reply. 'I was flattered that a constabulary colonel was literate enough to have heard about my poem, but he was making a statement, not asking a question, so I did not bother to confirm or deny his allegation.'" Regine Cabato • CNN Philippines
"When I enter the space, it is as if I’ve entered a poem—I do not know what I’ll find, everything in it is unexpected, as it is in a poem. There are other similarities between Chaudhuri’s city and a poem: one gains no information but emerges or returns from it changed (see Chaudhuri’s definition of the poem in his essay on the Gita). What are these ‘Indian Road Signs’?" Sumana Roy • Berfrois
"All of those trails that I have walked, somehow that movement is still inherent in the work. The quality of the poems, the way they meander, the way they move, feels very much like the landscape. Whether dreamscape or landscape, it is tethered to the landscape I come from." Sherwin Bitsui • Culture Trip

"A new set of possibilities can unsettle the poetic order, as it can the social—as when a poem doesn’t look like a poem, which most often results in its not being published." Nuar Alsadir • Granta
"But on second thought I remembered some words of my poetry teacher at Stanford, the doughty rationalist and contrarian Yvor Winters. He said that it was a patriotic good for young American poets to become college teachers, if they had a gift for it. Democracy, he told us, needed a population that had learned to use and understand language as well as possible." Robert Pinsky • Boston Globe

New poems

Dianne Seuss Scoundrel Time

WS Merwin New Yorker

Aaron Poochigian New Criterion

Joshua Weiner The Manchester Review

Sheri Benning Manchester Review

Deryn Rees-Jones Manchester Review

Vona Groarke The Irish Times

Liz Quirke The Manchester Review

August Kleinzahler Bars and guitars

Iain Twiddy The Manchester Review

Sam Riviere Poetry

Hugh Foley White Review

Jericho Brown Nation

Catherine Barnett

Dorothy Chan Nightblock

Justin Quinn B O D Y

Alexis Almeida Apartment

Romalyn Ante Poetry London

George Abraham The Shallow Ends

Robin Blaser Floating Bear

Sean Singer Memorious

Adrienne Su Poetry

Joseph Lease EOAGH

Annie Freud The Scores

Louise Glück Threepenny Review

Jason Bayani World Literature Today

Pattie McCarthy The Tiny

Mark Anthony Cayanan Lana Turner

Hal Coase the White Review

Sarah Carson Boxcar

Anthony Frame Boxcar

B P P Hosmillo Cordite

Diana Clarke DIAGRAM

Jenny Boully Ghost Proposal

Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint Ghost Proposal

Don Bogen Yale Review

Henri Cole Yuan Yang

C Dale Young Scoundrel Time

Bill Manhire Sport

Maggie Smith Baffler

Vona Groarke Yale Review

Adam Fieled diode

Spencer Selby Otoliths

Rebecca Perry Poetry London

Jill Chan Otoliths

Leontia Flynn Irish Times

Kate Feld The Interpreter's House

Victoria Chang Kenyon Review

GC Waldrep Yale Review

Denise Riley Cumulus (scroll)

Peter Sirr Poetry Ireland Review

Maurice Riordan The Poetry Review

Stevie Howell Hudson Review

Addie Eliades One Sentence Poems

Mary Ruefle Granta

Safia Elhillo Breakwater Review

Ange Mlinko Poetry

M. NourbeSe Philip Lyrikline

Momtaza Mehri Poetry International Web

Theresa Lola Brittle Paper

R. Zamora Linmark Contrappasso

Hiwot Adilow Apiary

Aditi Machado Conjunctions

Rodney Jones Scoundrel Time


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