The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
"[D]o you have to know everything to write anything? It can lead to a state of mind either exhausted by the compulsion to decry every injustice, or else paralysed by a puritanical alertness to the politics of everything, a state of mind in which, as [Adrienne] Rich put it later, ‘you cannot eat an egg/ You don’t know where it’s been.’" Stephen Burt • LRB
"She caused a stir in 1997, when she declined the National Medal of Arts in protest against the House of Representatives' vote to end the National Endowment for the Arts, stating: 'I could not accept such an award from President Clinton or this White House because the very meaning of art, as I understand it, is incompatible with the cynical politics of this administration. ... (Art) means nothing if it simply decorates the dinner table of the power which holds it hostage.'" Meredith May • SF Chronicle "She accomplished in verse what Betty Friedan, author of 'The Feminine Mystique,' did in prose. In describing the stifling minutiae that had defined women’s lives for generations, both argued persuasively that women’s disenfranchisement at the hands of men must end." Margalit Fox • NYT
"What happens when a poet writes a language in another language? What happens when a poet writes English in Chinese?" Stephen Ross • Wave Composition
"Perhaps [Antonio] Tabucchi turns to his master not when he needs to be nourished or calmed, but when he needs, despite his protestations to the contrary in Requiem, to be disquieted. [Fernando] Pessoa has had an unsettling effect upon Tabucchi for many years, and made him fully conscious of the fact that there are multiple Tabucchis just as there are multiple Pessoas." Robert Gray • Eclectica
"Keats told us to load our rifts with ore; [Andrea] Brady’s verse carries a maximum payload." Ange Mlinko • Chicago Review
"Roy Fuller's early work, Poems (1939) and The Middle of a War (1942), shows how pervasive Auden's influence had rapidly become, but what distinguishes Fuller from many others is that Fuller had something of his own to offer, a combination of moral seriousness, political engagement and pessimism." Sean O'Brien on Roy Fuller • Guardian
"Across the range of the four volumes he is again and again drawn to characterising debates, types and trends in lists of opposing traits: we have the 'Poet' and the 'Historian'; the 'Aristotelian' and the 'Democratic'; the world of the 'Dynamo' and that of the 'Virgin' (which must work together); the 'Primary' and 'Secondary' imaginations; the 'Frivolous' and the 'Earnest' (loosely mapping onto 'the rivalry between Ariel and Prospero' he sees in every poem); and, perhaps most appealingly, the 'Mabels' and the 'Alices'." Rhian Williams on WH Auden • PN Review
"Constructivist poems can be as joyless as equations, but Waffles is too playful and too curious about the world for that." Paul Batchelor on Matthew Welton and others • Guardian
"Even our snowglobes have global consequences." Justin Parks on Donna Stonecipher • Chicago Review
"Here he is making a sly and, one may guess, significant pun, 'the need to be ill equipped' being, in the French original, 'le besoin d’être mal armé,' which Dan Gunn sees as 'perhaps an echo of the poet who made impotence so central to his oeuvre, Mallarmé.'" John Banville on Samuel Beckett • NYRB
"John Ashbery, one of the most important American poets of the last 50 years, seems dedicated to demonstrating, at almost impossible length, that if you try you can write extremely accomplished light verse that no one on earth will want to read." Noah Berlatsky • Atlantic
"It’s not only that Schnackenberg writes metrical verse, it’s that she is not interested in exposing its inadequacy." Katie Peterson • Boston Review
" At the back of the book are pasted two poems she wrote, which were published in the local newspaper, the Enniscorthy Echo, and then reprinted in the Dublin newspaper the Irish Press in 1941, with a commentary by one of the editors calling the first of them "lovely" and the second "exquisite". The two poems had been published with her initials only, but it was known in the town that she had written them, and it gave her a sort of fame among her friends." Colm Toibin • Guardian
"If No End in Strangeness is one of the grimmest books I’ve read in a long time, and it is, it’s also one of the most pleasurable, thanks to the obvious delight Taylor takes in his medium, and the skill with which he approaches it." Bill Coyle on Bruce Taylor • Contemporary Poetry Review
"We cheat ourselves . . by constructing what I see as a false dilemma between 'formal' and 'free' verse. My sense is that the features most typically recognized as 'formal' (e.g. end rhyme, regular meter) are by no means the only formal elements of poetry, and that 'free verse' is (often? always?) every bit as formed as poetry in received forms." HL Hix in conversation with Karen Schubert • AGNI
"The poems are lifted high into the air by a great hook and swung above a tempestuous sea." Gregory O'Brien • PN Review
"[Kenneth] Goldsmith tells us that he regularly teaches a course of classes in which his students “are penalized for showing any shred of originality and creativity. Instead, they are rewarded for plagiarism, identity theft, repurposing papers, patch-writing, sampling, plundering, and stealing”. How much the students pay for the privilege is not revealed." Stanley Wells • TLS
"Remarkably, the inspiration for Stewart’s materialism occurred on a tempestuous crossing of the Persian Gulf in 1787--a near-fatal ordeal for which Stewart (foreshadowing Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner) was blamed by the rest of the vessel’s crew. Stewart would spend the rest of his life, Mariner-like, haranguing whomever he met with details of the vision of material oneness he had experienced on board [...] one cannot help wondering whether Godwin, by introducing Coleridge to 'Walking' Stewart in January 1800, may have brought the poet and his quasi-creation uncannily face to face." Kelly Grovier • TLS
"Wendy has to get up at dawn and teach Emily Dickinson to 'a bunch of upper-middle class crack addicts.'” John Deming on eight Woody Allen poetry moments • Coldfront
"Style is an ethical question, a question of limit. At the limit is that which is not ourselves. Style is a way of handling that which falls outside. The call is for a style which is where the outer is." David Herd • Almost Island
"The poem’s critique of adjustment is accomplished through its style." Michael Scharf on John Ashbery's "A Boy" • Almost Island
"The changes generally make Transtromer less, well, strange and more typically “poetic.”" David Orr • NYT
"Reclaiming a more public space while maintaining the ground of experience seems like an important project." David Micah Greenberg on contemporary US 'progressive poetics' • Boston Review
"As a second-generation modernist, [Robert] Duncan differs from his elders in taking crisis and quest for given." Jim Powell • Threepenny Review
"The root of the word translation, which first came into English usage in the twelfth century, means 'to bear across,' specifically to carry a saint to heaven." Mark Polizzotti • Parnassus
"He had already given us poems explaining (wrongly) why he was discarding symbolism, poems defending his practice of revising old work to the point of transformation, and poems expressing his dismay at the on-coming of age." On Yeats • Guardian archive (1928)
"Robinson’s translation is faultless, the rush of her desire preserved in the words and syntax, so that further explanation is unnecessary, but – if only to acknowledge Pozzi’s daring – it is worth pointing out that uccello is slang for penis." Thea Lenarduzzi • TLS
"John Burnside and Leontia Flynn are both very impressive technicians within their open forms; with Justin Quinn the formal markers are much closer to the surface." Bernard O'Donoghue • Poetry London
"Today our poetry isn’t difficult enough, because it exists exclusively on its surface." Michael Lista on Bruce Taylor • National Post
"The question one wants to ask about [Edwin] Morgan’s poetry is: what are we to make of its variety? DM Black • The Dark Horse
"Faber’s enthusiasm for it verges on mania." Michael Deacon on Larkin • Telegraph

New poems

Noelle Kocot Conduit

Adrienne Rich

Mark Strand Little Star

Gary Dop AGNI

John Ashbery Wave Composition

Agnieszka Wolny-Hamkało, tr. Clare Pollard Modern Poetry in Translation

Jeffrey Wainwright Manchester Review

Kay Ryan Threepenny Review

Evan Jones Manchester Review

Ana Božičević Barrelhouse

Ben Lerner Almost Island

Karen Carcia Diagram

Paul Durcan Manchester Review

Jorie Graham American Poetry Review

Kathleen Ossip Boston Review

Gunter Grass Guardian

Shane Book Lana Turner

Daisy Fried Threepenny Review

DA Powell Glitter Tongue

Alasdair Gray The Dark Horse

Yusef Komunyakaa Massachussetts Review

John Ashbery PN Review


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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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