The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
"In her essay ‘Erotic tendencies’ Lee-Houghton explores this poetry and that of the desiring confessional mode – a mode often dismissed, probably as it is seen as pertaining to women. Lee-Houghton also calls for more interesting poetry of desire from men. I have to say this issue does not include very many cries from the testicles though they are there if you look hard. I approached women writers for the most part because they were the ones I wanted to hear from most keenly. I was interested in the undertold poetry of desire." Nia Davies • Poetry Wales
"In the sonnet “Als ich den beiden so berichtet” (“In Dante’s Hell” in this translation from Jamie McKendrick’s 2003 collection Ink Stone), Brecht playfully imagines a world where the sin of adultery is cancelled out by a new political and social order “on earth” in which, since there is no ownership, there can be no theft, leaving Paolo and Francesca free to walk out of hell, their chains “no more than paperclips”." Andrew McCulloch • TLS
"Highly entertaining though Best’s work is, it may be just as well that the New Poets promotional tour doesn’t go any further north than Shropshire, given these lines from “the illuminati jokebook”: “If I ever become a stupendous bazooka then / please / shoot me”. Careful what you wish for, Crispin." Sean O'Brien Guardian
"Three of the signatories of the Proclamation – Pearse, Thomas MacDonagh and Joseph Plunkett – were mystic poets. MacDonagh, a lecturer in English who had written a thesis on Thomas Campion, wrote that the mystic seeks “to express the things of God that are made known to him in no language”. The rebels sought a dream of which they could not directly speak: they could speak only of having sought it." Declan Kiberd TLS
"A writer can never be on the side of killing. It is not possible, you know. But some people love killing and violence." Adonis • NYRB
"Contemporary criticism is positively crowded with first-person pronouns, micro-doses of memoir, brief hits of biography. Critics don’t simply wrestle with their assigned cultural object; they wrestle with themselves, as well." Jason Guriel • The Walrus
"And this allows for the amazing ideology of poetry. Allows for the idea that it is a free act. It is doubly free. It seems to have no economic value and seems not to be subordinated to labor discipline. It seems not to be salaried work or waged work. And so it can stand for certain kinds of freedom. Poetry can stand for freedom so intensely that people start to worry there is too much freedom." Joshua Clover Poetry
"I was kind of hoping Canadian poets were going to be braver and better than they were." Michael Lista • Open Book
"‘The Riverbank Field’ exploits the wider tendency among 20th-century poets to recuperate epic in the register of the humdrum, a tendency Heaney once neatly characterised by saying, ‘if Philip Larkin had ever composed his version of The Divine Comedy he would probably have discovered himself not in a dark wood but a railway tunnel halfway on a journey down England.’ That domestication of epic, in which allusions to heroic fictions at once give sanction to and emphasise the small scale of an individual life, was vital for Heaney’s later work. It enabled what might be called postcolonial parallax, in which a master text of a dominant civilisation is deliberately transformed from the ostentatiously low perspective of an unheroic life." Colin Burrow LRB
"When Aeneas finds the golden bough, Virgil says Aeneas “avidus refringit”. He breaks it off “avidus”: “eager”, “ardent”. The Loeb has “greedily breaks” and Heaney has followed suit: “greedily tore it off”. Would Virgil have wanted, for his reverent hero, the rather selfish note in English “greedy”? Might Heaney have moved on from the Loeb in a final revision? We will never know. Generally he is beautifully faithful to the Latin rather than the Loeb, and also to his own voice, his “own frequency”." Ruth Padel• FT
"That said, I still find him one of the most probing and intelligent critics on the poetry scene and one who is probably indispensable if you're someone who is hungry to find out what's going on. This is his most 'up-to-date' book so far, bringing us directly to the here and now and I think he makes a pretty good stab at describing the scene. Dip in and go with the flow." Steve Spence • Stride
"Speaking from the podium, Ashbery called “An Octopus” the most important poem of the 20th century; and while the remark provoked a few titters, he was reiterating a conviction that was neither novel nor idiosyncratic." James Longenbach • The Nation
"I have come to be very fond of German again. There are reaches of simplicity that English cannot do without sounding ignorant and stupid. In English you always have to sound as if you are making an effort. English is basically a trap: class trap, dialect trap, feeling trap. It’s almost a language for spies, for people to find out what people are really thinking. Operating in German, which doesn’t have these heffalump traps, would be lovely." Michael Hofmann • Guardian
"Teasley’s Brodsky is both darker and brighter than the one we thought we knew, and he is the stronger for it, as a poet and a person. The book’s reception itself is instructive. Since its publication by Corpus Books in the spring of 2015, Brodsky Among Us has been a sensation in the poet’s former country, quickly becoming a best seller that is now in its sixth printing. [...] Even so, the book has yet to find a publisher in English, the language in which it was written." Cynthia Haven • The Nation
"But the images in Clinical Blues are not the ones where Mama Afrika is praised, and her bushes are exalted, or her ancestors invoked and repudiated." Socrates Mbamalu • Brittle Paper
"But maybe many poems in both Best American and British reveal a state of mind, an anxiety, while withholding the causes. So little in the world makes sense that a poet can sometimes only construct a meaningful poem from disparate elements and glancing references, working all the harder with imagery, lineation and other usual devices to draw the reader in." Fiona Moore • The Poetry Review
"[We] tend to trust, or at least pay attention to, online reviews by strangers despite knowing some are faked or malicious, because better safe than sorry. An individual has always been able to damage a stranger’s reputation from afar, via rumour, the written word, or whatever. With the internet, the capacity is magnified in every sense, though human nature remains pretty much the same, for good and for ill. Technology is just an extension of our will." Karen Solie • Prac Crit
"There is, however, a sadder version of the story, that of a writer who finds himself unable to continue as a lyric poet: Eliot is the most vexing example. Another, lesser poet, the Tennessean John Crowe Ransom (1888–1974), wrote poetry for only nine years, and spent the rest of his life being a critic (while obsessively revising, mostly for the worse, the poems he had published years before)." Helen Vendler • NYRB
"When his eyes began to fail and writing became a chore, we agreed to communicate thenceforth by phone. Now, on a greyish Sunday afternoon, approaching five o’clock, I want for his voice. It was one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever known to issue from a man’s face – a lilting voice at once quizzical, playful, speculative and desirous of not just literature but also a decent bottle of wine, a splash of Poulenc or Mompou playing in the background and, above all, the light and colour one finds in the French paintings he so loved. Marius Kociejowski on Christopher Middleton • PN Review (scroll down)
"You can hate contemporary poetry — in any era — as much as you want for failing to realize the fantasy of universality, but the haters should stop pretending any poem ever successfully spoke for everyone." Ben Lerner • Poetry
"At Bard, Hecht’s roles included Antigonus in A Winter’s Tale, Neville Chamberlain, and one of the leads in Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Aria da Capo. As Hecht’s one-time student Chevy Chase told me, when Hecht returned to Bard as a professor, he played a supporting role in Love’s Labour’s Lost, with Chase and Blythe Danner." David Yezzi • New Criterion
"Rapid, joky, suddenly mysterious, dramatic, Derek Mahon reminds us that poems can be complex and lucidly direct at once." John McAuliffe • Irish Times

New poems

Jenny Haysom The New Quarterly

WB Yeats New Statesman

Joseph Campana Kenyon Review

Daniel Corrie Calamaro

Jennifer L Knox jubilat

Derek Mahon Poetry Daily / Gallery

WS Merwin Poetry Daily / Yale Review

Robert Gray Lyrikline

Regie Cabico Poetry

EA Soyemi Brittle Paper

Patrick Mackie The Poetry Review

A.K. Blakemore The Poetry Review

Emily Berry The White Review / Poetry International

Lesley Glaister Best Scottish Poetry 2015

Paul Muldoon Irish Times


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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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