The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
"A paradox: though the best poetry is often made via razor-thin calls between similar words, and though a single poem may undergo a manuscript’s worth of revision before it feels just right to both reader and poet, some of the poetic texts we cherish most — collections of Emily Dickinson’s fascicles, or the First Folio of Shakespeare — have been assembled by way of scraps, best guesses, and any number of transcription errors." John Cotter • The Smart Set
"Poetry thus becomes utilitarian." August Kleinzahler • Chicago Review (2005 Christopher Middleton issue)
"When C.D. Wright died Jan. 12, American poetry lost one of the great ones, one of the figures who changed what the language can do, one of the writers whose lines and titles, sentences and similes are going to last at least as long as American English." Stephen Burt • LA Times
"But midway through The Road Not Taken, [David] Orr addresses Frost’s poem from what has become among critics an increasingly unusual perch. For a few pages, he treats the poem not as an objective document, an historical artifact, a cultural conceit, or even an ingenious composition, but instead as a human speech." Matthew Buckley Smith • Partisan
"It is an unfortunate commonplace in Kinsella criticism to talk about the poet’s mature work in terms of the demands it places on the reader." Adrienne Leavy • Irish Times
"Literary England was hostile to what threatened its mediocracy and grip on power." Tom Pickard • Poetry
" By and large, nobody listens to things like poetry reviews apart from other poets, and those involved in the forever failing, but quietly heroic cottage-industry of its production and promotion" Peter McDonald • Tower Poetry (pdf)
"One of the last to go will be Chris Mannix, whose name might be seen to serve as a nod in the direction of “Chris” in The Magnificent Seven and a wink in the direction of Ben Hur: A tale of the Christ. As it turns out, some of the very lenses used to film the chariot race in Ben Hur were “refurbished” by Panavision to allow Tarantino and his cinematographer, Robert Richardson, to shoot the film in Ultra Panavision 70. It comes as no surprise, yet again, that we come to see the stagecoach less as a stagecoach than a chariot with a team of six, including big close-ups of horses’ hooves and heads that replicate shots in Ben Hur." Paul Muldoon • TLS
"To be a refugee is to leave with only what you can carry. You can carry your crippled father, you can carry your baby, you can carry the spirits of home. You can carry a tune." A.E. Stallings • TLS
"Jonathan Bate’s malice is the glue that holds his incoherent book together—malice directed at other peripheral characters but chiefly directed at its subject. Bate wants to cut Hughes down to size and does so, interestingly, by blowing him up into a kind of extra-large sex maniac." Janet Malcolm NYRB
"If you write poems in the United States today, your poems owe something to C.D. Wright’s vision. And yet she was one of those poets—like Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, W.S. Merwin, Adrienne Rich—it’s dangerous to imitate." David Biespiel • Partisan "Even categorizing her as uncategorizable is too easy: she was part of a line of mavericks and contrarians who struggled to keep the language particular in times of ever-encroaching standardization. I think of the messy genius of James Agee and Mary Austin as two possible antecedents for her genre-bending, lyrically charged, often outraged and outrageous American English." Ben Lerner • New Yorker "Recently I was asked to do an interview on National Public Radio for a programme that usually interviews people writing timely nonfiction or who are noted players in the sociopolitical sphere. I scheduled it in, and then I was notified I was to be replaced by someone with a history book just out, and the interview would probably be rescheduled later. The rescheduling never occurred." CD Wright • The Wolf
"Although Pound never noticed, it’s not too much of a stretch to see James Laughlin—Pound’s admirer, disciple, student, PR agent, publisher, counselor, friend—as a kind of Poundian “factive personality” whose life amalgamated many seemingly dissonant strains in twentieth-century America into a coherent whole, and in doing so changed the direction of U.S. cultural history." Greg Barnhisel • Humanities
"Brandon Courtney’s second collection, Rooms for Rent in the Burning City, follows his first, The Grief Muscles, by only a year, and it passes the sophomore slump test." Paul Scott Stanfield • Ploughshares
"Beckett’s advice to a young Aidan Higgins paraphrased by himself says a great deal: 'Stow your troubles early. Chin up. Anticipate squalls.'" Rosita Sweetman • Irish Times
"Auden, more lucidly than most, was able to identify and describe characteristics of the cultural malaise that continues to resonate 40 years after his death. Many aspects of modern life tend to alienate us from any communality, and shut us within our subjective selves. It becomes difficult to believe in the reality of other people. Fragmentation, a lack of encounters with the sacred, and a monotone impressionism characterize much of our artistic production. In verse of the last 60 years the result has been a hyper-subjectivity in its two polarized forms of hermeticism and confessionalism. In the face of such a situation, Auden argued, ‘Art can only have one subject – man as a conscious unique person’." Simon West • Sydney Review of Books
"I can readily see that I am not the intended reader for The Unauthorised Life of Ted Hughes." Michael Hofmann • Australian Book Review
"It is this testing of boundaries that makes Geis a work of great aesthetic and intellectual range, and marks O’Reilly as a sustaining presence in contemporary poetry." Lucy Collins • DRB
"Burke’s poetry collection “City of God” was a good example of the influence of the internet on modern poetry and the way in which it has transformed the layout of the poems, how they’re distributed, and how they are interpreted." Francesca Gavin • Sleek
"When asked to deny the crime, she says, in Anne Carson’s 2012 translation of Sophocles: ‘I did the deed I do not deny it.’ She does not seek to justify her actions within the terms of Creon’s law: she negates the law by handing it back to him, intact – ‘If you call that law.’" Anne Enright • LRB
"It’s thin enough on the ground, the poetry of winter, warm when it should be hot, maybe, sparse when lavish is called for. Perhaps that’s only as it should be, poetry following the rule of nature, like any living thing." Vona Groarke • Poetry Ireland Review
"There is often in Ashbery’s poems this sense of idiosyncratic discovery, as though one were walking into a hallway one had never seen before, a hallway shockingly new, irrepressible, fascinating, and yet almost dangerous and haunted with a kind of gleeful foreboding. And at times it is unclear – perhaps this partly why the poems can be foreboding – where the fantasy or nostalgic reverie stops and reality begins. " Andrew Michael Field • California Journal of Poetics
"I would guess that since my mid teens not a year has gone by without my daydreaming about the death of David Bowie." Brian Dillon • The Dublin Review
"For what then seemed a lengthy spell, from the late 1950s well into the 1970s, the standard-bearers of American poetry were a group of manic depressive exhibitionists working largely, if not exclusively, in traditional metre and rhyme schemes, analysands all, and with self-inflating personae that always reminded me of those giant balloons of Mickey Mouse and Pluto associated with Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. They published and reviewed one another in journals like the Nation, Partisan Review, the Kenyon Review and Sewanee Review, with a good deal of auto-canonising." August Kleinzahler • LRB
"What’s obvious in these few lines is, first, Quinn’s faith in rhyme as a destination. The poem imagines a store of rhymes available in the English language, to which we can turn at intense moments and amongst which we will find treasure. This idea is conservative in a pure sense: it is because the rhymes are “ancient” that we can trust them. Rhyme imagines that the English language is possessed of a wisdom that is bigger than you or me." Ailbhe Darcy • DRB
"There is often, in this volume more than [Carl] Phillips’ other books, a feeling of ‘a disturbance in the force’. Phillips’ poems adumbrate a feeling that wholeness is out there, but it lies slightly out of reach." Ian Pople • Manchester Review
"Technical specifications: Burroughs, Gysin and the cut up, Dada, the art movement, Dada, my father and Dada, the name of the father. Détournement and the dérivé, Basquiat’s erasures. Flarf but not as you know it. Conceptual writing maybe." Robert Herbert McLean • Irish Times
"I’m afraid this is one of those hackneyed moments where the critic, me, says of the poet-critic writing of another — a skein of commentary tough to acknowledge without wincing — that he may as well be talking about himself. (Perhaps style is the outward struggle of our egotism, a hope that, in talking of ourselves, we may say with surety real things of others, too.)" Vidyan Ravinthiran • Poetry
"The light of evening, Lissadell,/ Great windows open to the south, / Both beautiful, one double-glazed." Kevin McAleer • Irish Times
"But it’s a mistake to confuse confusion with profundity, as I believe O’Brien too often does." Craig Raine • Areté "No one does social observation quite like O’Brien." Ben Wilkinson • Guardian
"When he discusses the Welsh poet and artist David Jones’s maddeningly difficult poem The Anathemata, another epic work he admired enormously, Auden is honest enough, amid a detailed analysis, to remark of one section, “I am not sure what this is about. The Norse Invasions?” Nobody else is sure either, as it happens, but I cannot recall any critic, and certainly not one of Auden’s authority, making such a candid admission of bafflement, and it is refreshing." Eric Ormsby • The Wall Street Journal
"With its frequent-flyer air-miles and fondness for describing hotels, [Karen] Solie’s work is, superficially at least, a poetry of displacement." Aingeal Clare • TLS
"And, frankly, looking around at the forty- or fifty-strong audience, one hardly has the impression that all of human life is here gathered." Adam Crothers • Literateur

New poems

Douglas Dunn Guardian

Steven Heighton Eighteen Bridges

Peter McDonald The Irish Times

Dana Gioia Hudson Review

Elizabeth Arnold The Nation

DA Powell California Journal of Poetics

Tom French Manchester Review

Hester Knibbe Berfrois

CD Wright The Awl

Haydar Ergülen Asymptote

Amit Majmudar The New Criterion

JT Welsch Eborakon

Beverley Bie Brahic Manchester Review

Alexandra Oliver Partisan

John North Manchester Review

Cathal McCabe Manchester Review

Emily Berry Poetry Review

Jamie McKendrick Poetry Review

Kim Seung-Hee Asymptote

Thomas McCarthy PN Review

Sarah Howe Clinic

Ingrid Ruthig Matrix

Joseph Massey Hyperallergic


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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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