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poetry, essays, ideas
"There’s an enormous amount of anecdotal evidence (unpublishably off-the-record, and quite often suspect) which won’t suffice for making a case in accusations of cronyism, but which does nonetheless reflect a less-than-complete confidence in the impartiality of our judging processes. This concern is widespread: a survey of the editors of twenty-five of the country’s independent poetry presses gave an average score of four out of ten in rating the success of the Eliot and the Forward prizes in recognising the ‘best’ poetry collections. But a third possibility was put forward several times by those surveyed: that the poetry prizes aren’t seriously intended to reflect the ‘best’ poetry being published. Rather, they’re the one chance the poetry world has of attracting the notice of the mainstream media; an opportunity to bang the drum for contemporary verse, and to win new readers into the fold." Joey Connolly • Poetry Review
"What then is her project really about? The key, to my mind, lies in Lisa [Robertson's] wonderful phrase 'weedy appetites.' Taxonomically speaking, there is no such thing as a weed; a weed is simply an unwanted plant. Many are beautiful, edible, even--ecologically speaking--essential. They grow without tending and maintain the power, if left alone, to transform a landscape, irrevocably." Benjamin Friedlander
"[L]anguages don’t have hard-and-fast boundaries between them. Chaucer might have known there was something called 'English,' but he and other medieval writers didn’t hesitate to dip into French and Latin as need be for their vocabulary. We need to start to move beyond the idea of borders in language as we’re slowly moving beyond the concept of national borders." David Hadbawnik in conversation with Kent Johnson • Lana Turner
"[W]hatever is obsolete is free for the taking. Which is to say, many abandoned styles have something (beauty) yet to offer; we need their insolvent otherness." Lucy Ives on Lisa Robertson • n+1
"This is what makes [Tim Kendall's book] such a good example of what we miss when we read Frost without sustained attention to the conflicts that he provokes in ourselves. It shows how even the most diligent of critics, with a century of scholarship behind him, can explain Frost’s poems with great sensitivity but without regard to his own inner conflicts, and can thereby leave all but untouched the gap between the words and their lingering beauty." Adam Plunkett • New Republic
"Homer is not – Nicolson insists, convincingly – an endangered species from the groves of academe." Ian Thomson Guardian
"I kind of like the way epic has come into colloquial use these days: 'Oh, it was an epic concert last night' or 'Those french fries I had yesterday were epic.' I like it that we can get epic satisfaction from the partial, the particular, the incidental. I like epic as a term of approval and approbation and praise." Nathaniel Mackey in conversation with Joseph Donahue • Poetry
"Yet the literary world both attracted and repelled her, and she was to turn against its materialism, false values, betrayals and indulgence, as she was to follow Rimbaud in renouncing literature itself: "The mistakes, the wrong people, the half-baked ideas, / And their beastly comments on everything. Foul. / But irresistibly amusing, that is the whole trouble" ("The Little Cardboard Suitcase")." Neil Astley on Rosemary Tonks Guardian
"If I say I don’t believe in the myth that Americans can make themselves into whoever they want to be, I think it’s because Americans in my experience are obsessed with gaming the system in order to express their outrage at the impossibility of the free market. One of our overwhelming narratives as Americans is the story of the outlaw. From the Boston Burglar, to Billy the Kidd, to Stagger Lee, there’s this romance surrounding the outlaw. The terrifying part to me is that this has become the defining narrative obsession of our media." Danniel Schoonebeek in conversation with Wendy Xu • iO
"Tracking the changes in style over Lawrence’s poetic career, however, will disappoint anyone who thinks that open-endedness always means open-heartedness. Lawrence’s innovations all stem from finding out what happens when you don’t submit the poetic means to an ulterior poetic end, whether that end is metre, final rhyme, or just the feeling of the well-wrought poem. Making finished poems feel the same as drafts is another way to make means and ends coalesce, of course, and in this sense Lawrence’s experiments with spontaneous composition and with multiple versions come to much the same thing. But he never really got rid of poetic ends, or the final judgments they imply." Peter Howarth • LRB
"Good poetry has been written in all sorts of ways since the days of Rimbaud as everyone ought to admit. If someone can get away today by writing poems that sound like Byron or Emily Dickinson, poems that one can’t stop reading, let’s not worry about what the disciples of Gertrude Stein will say." Charles Simic in conversation with SJ Fowler • Poetry International / 3:AM
"What’s striking about working metaphors is their departure from the usual. They are often literally nonsense, as philosophers like John Wisdom and Donald Davidson have said. But this may only mean, and often does, that the literal is not enough for us and that our idea of sense is gravely impoverished." Michael Wood on Denis Donoghue • Irish Times
"We are going through a media revolution even more extreme than that of the 20th century. I would say that an avant-garde for the 21st century would have to develop ways of using our own new media in critical, innovative, provocative ways. It would also have to be part of a political analysis of our moment, and translate that analysis into a new set of attitudes and ambitions. If that sounds vague, I suppose it has to be. Predicting the future is a fool’s errand. The history of manifestos is proof of that." Martin Puchner in conversation with Louis Bourgeois • Rain Taxi
"This entire May lecture was dedicated to resolving a single question in a single poem, "The Windhover" by Gerard Manley Hopkins: to whom was his vivid evocation of the "lyric flight" of the bird addressed? Was "thee" the bird or the poem's dedicatee, Jesus Christ?" Daniel Johnson • Standpoint
"Perhaps poetry anthologies are a cognitive map of the present." Harry Burke in conversation with Sam Riviere • The Quietus
"Stitched together of asymmetrical sequences---some as brief as a half-dozen words, others extending to thirty or more variously-indented lines---Lateral Argument shifts scenes, subjects, and situations at a pace quickened by frequent enjambment right to the verge of, though without ever crossing into, cognitive blur." Steve Evans • Third Factory
"Completing the book, I admire Hilbert’s intelligence, his dramatic discipline, his talent with rhyme and rhythm. Yet my taste for something more raw, more magical, (a little less considered) is not satisfied. This wonderful book of sonnets needs--I don’t know--something ugly or awkward in it to balance out all the neat formality. Maybe then a reader would feel some necessary turn." Susan Scutti • Philadelphia Review of Books
"Humour has always been a defining feature of the Irish tradition, but a head-count of contemporary poets with the comic gene yields patchy results. Ribald and highbrow comedy is a strong feature of Paul Muldoon’s work, but the case of Eavan Boland reminds us that an absence of any discernible sense of humour is no handicap to a serious critical reputation, in some quarters at least." David Wheatley on Kevin Higgins • Georgiasam
"Like creative nonfiction, creative nonpoetry defines itself over-against a genre which historically has refused its content, but which it often resembles quite a bit. Creative Nonpoetry borrows and burrows from the traditional conventions of the poetic; or mashes them up; or disclaims them altogether, by turns. It can contain verse, prose, dialogue, pictures." Joseph Harrington • Jacket2
"“You will never understand my poetry, my dear Forster”, Cavafy said, at their first meeting." Frederic Raphael • TLS
"Patricia Lockwood is all large eyes, apple cheeks and pixie haircut — like an early Disney creation, perhaps a woodland creature; one of her fans recently rendered her as a My Little Pony." Jesse Lichtenstein • The New York Times
"You are visiting these places and then refreshing them with each insight and with sensual detail and with each thought. I’m thinking of Charles Altieri’s work on emotion and detail; poets have to work with emotion and refresh it." Brenda Hillman • LARB
"One nice side effect of learning four guitar chords is that I can rudimentarily play a bunch of things now, from Allen Ginsberg ditties (he wrote and scored a bunch of songs) to the ballad 'The Three Ravens' to a few songs of Bikini Kill. And doing this has sharpened my ears, and made me appreciate narrative and refrain even more." Maureen N. McLane and Stephen Burt in conversation • Gulf Coast
"She dwells not on the possible outcomes but on the notion of choice. Her poems live for that moment, piqued by the anxiety of having too many options. Offered a or b, she holds them together, knowing they are for a time equal. And her very best poems show us exactly how that's done. Describing a highway intersection, she writes: "It yields / to traffic from both directions. / It appears it could go either way."" Evan Jones on Karen Solie • Guardian
"Valéry’s ‘L’art personnel’ has been replaced by Mahon’s ‘individual gifts’, and in the dead’s ‘colloquial turns of phrase, / the individual gifts and singular souls’, Valéry’s ‘Où sont des morts les phrases familières, / L’art personnel, les âmes singulières?’ are dust, but resurrected, as another metaphor for translation would have it, in the Irish poet’s colloquialism, giftedness, and singularity." Peter Robinson on Derek Mahon • Poetry London
"But its interior layout, with a steep, high-rise staircase leading to the second floor, small pantry, parlour room and many corners and roof angles is character-filled and was much loved by a young [Elizabeth] Bishop during her years in Great Village." Harry Sullivan • Truro Daily News
"There is only one hint given as to the basic felt motivation for [Veronica Forrest-Thomson's] enterprise: 'A difficulty which must confront any poet at this time who can take and make the art a new and serious opponent--perhaps even a successful alternative--to the awfulness of the modern world.' We are not told what constitutes this awfulness, but in her later poems it is clearly represented by a loneliness and despair in connection with the failure of love." Peter Riley • Fortnightly Review
"It was characteristic, as well as cunning, of Davenport to cast this long poem in such rough, almost thumping tetrameter couplets. (How characteristic too of Davenport, a lover of all things Danish, to rhyme “tore” with the correct Danish pronunciation of the last syllable of Kierkegaard’s name—“gore,” not “guard.”)" Eric Ormsby • New Criterion
"Naming the contenders for the best collection prize – Colette Bryce, John Burnside, Louise Glück, Kei Miller and Hugo Williams – Paxman said there was a "whole pile of really good poems here", and "nothing on the shortlist that I don't feel better for having read". But he also expressed the wish that poetry more generally "would raise its game a little bit, raise its sights", and "aim to engage with ordinary people much more". Jeremy Paxman • Guardian
"A lot of poems seem, in some sense, to pull the outside world into the interior. They aren’t perhaps emotion recollected in tranquillity but perception recollected in interiority. Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is a crystal-clear example. It is and yet it isn’t located outside." Robert Bringhurst • Guernica
"Drury depicts [George] Herbert as fastidious, deeply conscientious, and obsessively clean, as well as intensely self-critical and hypochondriac. He also notes that Herbert’s busy, agile mind resulted in “writer’s incontinence.” " Malcolm Forbes • New Criterion

New poems

Sarah Howe Poetry Review

Jeffrey Wainright PN Review/Forward

Kevin Powers Forward

Patrick Deeley The Galway Review

Jenny Boully Solstice

Colette Bryce Poetry London

Kevin Davies Boston Review

WS Merwin Guardian

Jenny Boully Passages North

Don Share Philadelphia Review of Books

Kurt Schwitters, tr. Peter Wortsman Cambridge Literary Review

Rae Armantrout The Economy

Manuela Moser The Honest Ulsterman

Moya Cannon The Galway Review

Jill Magi Jubilat

Vona Groarke Irish Examiner

Sebastian Agudelo The Nation

John Ashbery Paris Review

Nick Flynn Poetry

Peter Fallon Irish Times

Henry King Glasgow Review of Books

Tom French Irish Times

Peter Campion B O D Y


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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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