The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
'“In a poem, what’s real happens!,” he urged a German highschool teacher who’d written asking whether it was enough to skim his poems for the meaning.' John Felstiner on Paul Celan • Free Verse
"[P]oetry’s knowledge is not a stable one, but arises through the community of open questions." Richard Deming on Ann Lauterbach • Boston Review
". . . [I]t feels more like the occupation or inhabitation of a style, an exploration of its capacities as though miraculously from the inside, than it does like a commentary on it." Seamus Perry on parody • TLS
"Another thing I’ve always admired about Heaney’s work is how his book titles so often exert a refined pressure on the language, prompt us to a fresh awareness of what his subjects are, in title phrases that hover between literal and metaphorical meanings: Door into the Dark, Field Work, Seeing Things, The Sprit Level, Electric Light, District and Circle." Eamon Grennan • Irish Times
"The first two of these lines are fine, but the shredding into pieces of the heart, and especially the curlicue, are something of an embarrassment. And yet, in this same poem, Halkin beautifully conveys the lovely force of the Hebrew in the following lines..." Robert Alter on Yehuda Halevi • Jewish Review of Books
"Morgan was a writer who cared about a poem's visual impact as well as its sounds." Carol Rumens • Guardian
"It’s as if prose is a horizontal structure, built across a surface, while poetry is a catacomb." Alice Fulton in conversation with Alice Baumgartner • The New Yorker
"He uses a poetic line which sometimes seems complete and whole in its rhythm, and at others is stopped short, held, left hanging. It is as though to allow the rhythm its full completion would be untrue to the shape of the experience that gave rise to the poem." Colm Toibin on Seamus Heaney • Guardian
"Hill is a far edgier poet than any of the swaggering, finger-clicking non-entities who claim to be taking poetry to the people." Richard King on Geoffrey Hill • The Australian
"Heaney said he 'recognised the unpretentiousness and shyness' he'd seen in his fellow poet before. 'But now I was shy myself in the presence of one who had done such magnificent work as poet and translator, whose mind and hand went together, who cast a warm eye on life and whose achievement shines fuller and steadier as the decades pass.'" Seamus Heaney on Edwin Morgan • Guardian
". . .[I]t must be some other urge, some sense, I suppose, as far as I understand it, which would be imperfectly, to go for something that's not quite so tidy, something that is perhaps more capacious, something perhaps that allows more for the possibility of its being equal to, if not the chaotic, at least the seemingly chaotic aspects of the world as we find it, or at least the variousness of the world, the world in which perhaps we hesitate more and more from being content, I suppose, with the little lyric poem that presents a moment of clarification and containment, and maybe even contentment." Paul Muldoon in conversation with Dillon Johnston • Arch
"There are two positions to take on them: (a) they are a rot in the classical model of the single poem of memorable turn and burn; (b) they are sensitive, even “inevitable,” responses to the modern sinking down of language onto the material, metonymic textures of plural worlds." Calvin Bedient on the 'series' poem • Boston Review
"While the work may be forgiven for being dense or obscure, what is truly terrifying is its near total lack of relevance to our pressing world." Grace Wells on Identity Parade • Contrary
"[I]t may be easier to keep changing as a writer if one is out of the spotlight. One isn't pressured to invest in an image of oneself. The price of leaving the spotlight is small potatoes compared to the freedom to one's inner life." Marvin Bell in conversation with Haines Eason • Arch
"The themes of Clifton’s book, all major themes of Western poetry—love and marriage, guilt and faith, home and belonging, art and war—resonate more powerfully for being caught in the dense web of history." Alissa Valles on Harry Clifton • Boston Review
"Because poetry depends largely on technique to convey whatever themes it deals with. If someone is writing mostly about content, then s/he is probably not writing about poetry." Brian Henry • Best American Poetry
"Well, poetry, as far as being able to compete, has never been able to compete with anything. So, it survives anyway." Michael Palmer in conversation with Lawrence Revard • Arch
"[Karen] Volkman treats words as objects for reanimation; their significance is most apparent in their strangeness." Michael Hansen • Chicago Review (pdf)
"For [Geoffrey] Hill, responsibility to the richness of the language is inseparable from responsibility to the truth." Richard King • The Australian
"And when Yeats revises his poems, he succeeds only in making them more sonorous." Christopher Ricks • New Statesman
"Shapcott's writing in the 1980s and 1990s had a bold, playful character. The new work has a more enigmatic, riddling quality. One poem is actually called "Riddle" (and I couldn't solve it)." Kate Kellaway • Observer
"Poems demand a concentrated lingering to which we are unaccustomed. This is why they cause discomfort." Jennifer Moxley • Poetry Daily / Chicago Review
"This doesn't simply mean the nicely startling turn of phrase which notices that a tree and a bush buffeted by unheard winds look like, respectively, "a woman mad with grief" and "a panicked silver shoal": it means a fine control of rhythm and rhyme, those two often-neglected handmaidens to poetry." Nicholas Lezard on Don Paterson • Guardian
"Howe desires to be with Stevens but Stevens must be alone." Joel Calahan on Susan Howe • Chicago Review

New poems

Ed Skoog Burnside Review

Ian Pople Blackbox Manifold

Mark Roper Southword

Subhashini Kaligotla The Collagist

Emily Critchley Blackbox Manifold

Seamus Heaney Observer (scroll down)

Dean Young Blackbox Manifold

Robert Vandermolen Fail Better

Gunnar Ekelöf Nth Position

Thomas McCarthy Southword

Joseph P Wood Boston Review

Dean Young Threepenny Review

Michael Hartnett Poetry International

Trisha Bora Nth Position

Göran Sonnevi Ars Interpres

Anne Carson New Yorker

Adam O. Davis Sixth Finch

Jessica Fjeld Sixth Finch


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The Page is edited by John McAuliffe, Vincenz Serrano and, since September 2013, Evan Jones at the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester. It was founded in October 2004 by Andrew Johnston, who edited it until October 2009.
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