The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
"The tradition of poets not simply making cultural artifacts out of language, but also wielding some sort of intellectual control over the broader shape of culture itself, goes back to the very beginnings of Western thought." Scott Beauchamp The New Criterion

"Therefore, a chronological approach to this extraordinary body of work will not yield any useful results – in fact, his oeuvre almost insists on being discussed only on the terms in which it itself exists: criticism tends to become, perhaps in sheer despair of finding any other approach, mere replication, or, at best, parody. (Ashbery has also commented that his aim was to produce a poetic statement that could not alone not be expressed in any better way, but that could not be expressed in any other way whatever.)" Terence Killeen Irish Times

"On the other hand, a diabolically bad poet is like a rotting corpse." David Blair The Critical Flame
"This auction asks questions of the national culture Yeats knew, questioned and shaped: he was aided by benefactors, John Quinn, Lady Gregory and her nephew Hugh Lane among them, who worked to make new theatre and visual art and poetry available to anyone. Is that culture of artistic patronage still alive? The auction also asks a question of collection policies: is it time for a more co-ordinated approach to protecting Ireland’s literary heritage?" John McAuliffe Irish Times
"Original things always exceed definitive presentation and containment. Long may her poems confound us." Heather Cass White Faber
"There’s a clever-cleverness in contemporary American poetry that keeps alive older verse traditions, straddles generations, and seems very much a boy thing—Frederick Seidel, Paul Muldoon, Michael Robbins, and Adam Fitzgerald come quickly to mind." Joshua Weiner • The Chicago Review
"Every day, it seems, I learn again how little power I have, and how much. In the process of bringing this forum into being, I have been confronted, again, with my complicity in structures of power, and I remain enraged by the way ignorance (my own and others’) greases the wheels of those structures. Knowledge is power, and ignorance is a privilege you pay for in units of power." Evie Shockley Evening Will Come
"When the novelist E. M. Forster wrote to Housman expressing enthusiasm for his poetry, Housman responded with a letter that Forster described as “absolutely hateful … I was so disappointed and hurt that I destroyed it after one rapid perusal."." Adam Kirsch • The Atlantic
"Emily Dickinson, for example, masterfully simplified complex topics with poems like “Because I could not stop for Death,” and many poets are similarly adept. Business leaders live in multifaceted, dynamic environments. Their challenge is to take that chaos and make it meaningful and understandable. Reading and writing poetry can exercise that capacity, improving one’s ability to better conceptualize the world and communicate it — through presentations or writing — to others." John Coleman Harvard Business Review
"Poetry is an ancient art; it’s our communal language. Poetry is not written for experts and it’s not written for scholars and it doesn’t belong to the priests of literature, it belongs to the people. I know a lot of poets, and I don’t know a single one of them that thinks they write for scholars — they write for other human beings." Matthew Zapruder • LA Times
"On 11 May 1922, Marina and Alya boarded a train at the Vindavskii (now Rizhskii) railway station. The train took them to Riga, where they caught another train to Berlin. Alya in her memoir, Marina Tsvetaeva: My Mother, records a list of thirteen valuable items Marina decided to take with her. It includes two I find most interesting: a papier-mâché pencil holder and a bronze inkpot with a drummer painted on the outside." Subhash Jaireth • Sydney Review of Books
"What the speaker enters could be love; it could be water; it could be both. When I read that I felt really emotional. That’s what happens to me when I’m in water." Amy Key • The Poetry Extension
"If the struggle of the modernists was to make peace with bureaucratic institutions without compromising the purity and quality of their work, the question for those who have come after them has been whether to challenge or sustain that peace. The modernist union of poetry, criticism, and bureaucracy has had many obvious benefits: Certainly the levels of comfort, prosperity, and productivity enjoyed by several generations of Anglo-American poets from the postwar era onward as a result of their connection to bureaucratic institutions are nothing to minimize." Evan Kindley Chronicle of Higher Education
" But this is the first publication of new material that precedes Oppen’s storied twenty-five years of silence between the publication of Discrete Series and his next book, The Materials, in 1962. 21 Poems nearly doubles the size of Oppen’s early and influential corpus, and happily, the poems themselves are fascinating." David B Hobbs NYRB
"In one last example, let's return to Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing. His first rule (#1!) is “Never open a book with weather.”" Ben Blatt PW
"Tom Raworth’s poetry can be read, then, as if Tom’s performance underscores the work’s quick-fire wit. But his masque of collaged differentials also invites slower, more accumulative readings, readings that take note of the decisions and judgments, the omissions and abstractions that make up the texture of his poetry’s knowing condensations. Put simply, Tom knew what he was doing, and what he wasn’t, and not just intuitively. Although he avoided offering a poetics or theory, his writerly practice nevertheless articulates implicit principles of construction. His knowing skill is evident in the comparative absence of traces of literary influence: his occasional borrowings are made new. In conversation, Tom often revealed an exceptionally precise power of recall, and the absence of clumsy repetitions of his or anyone else’s writing speaks to his powers of memory." Drew Milne PN Review
"That it inhabits the uncertain territory between dream and meaning is one of my chief pleasures when reading it." Anthony Wilson Lifesaving Poems
"In one of my favorite Ashbery poems, the early “They Dream Only of America,” whose title always brings to my mind Alfred Stieglitz’s beautiful photograph juxtaposing first-class and steerage passengers arriving in the U.S. (“The Steerage”), John characterizes the poem’s nameless “they” as “lost among the thirteen million pillars of grass”—a profoundly witty amalgam of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, now replaced by the pillars of the urban landscape, the original Thirteen Colonies, the fate of Lot’s Wife—don’t look back!—and the immigrant dream of the millions of new arrivals in America." Marjorie Perloff • Boston Review
"A lot like the late T.F. Griffin, Ian Parks is an outlier of British poetry whose writing was spotted and praised early by figures whose judgement we would do well attend to. With Griffin, it was Philip Larkin who provided the encomium; with Parks, it is Donald Davie, who commented that Park’s voice was ‘spare, lyrical, memorable and intense’, and remarked on ‘the sheer force of his poetic identity.’ Over the years, that voice has become more particularised; an Ian Parks poem is instantly recognisable. But the lyricism, which has characterised his writing from those early days, has remained as intense, as spare and as memorable as ever." Ian Pople Manchester Review
"This casual attitude toward what would turn out to be one of the masterpieces of world literature is puzzling, even in someone as unpredictable as its author." John Ashbery Poetry "As was his way, Ashbery went off and championed the dead-pan figuration of Alex Katz and the work of Jane Freilicher, Robert Dash and Fairfield Porter. That was a typical twist of Ashbery’s Moebius strip, to champion figurative art while writing surreal poems. But again, it was the material sense of the thing, how it was done, which distinguished a work, not so much the orthodoxy to which it adhered. There was something of the dandyesque about this aesthetic. A fastidious sense of the eccentric." Anthony Howell Fortnightly Review
"I opened Facebook on Tuesday and found that poets were contributing to what was already a long list of sentences beginning, “Reading a John Ashbery poem is like …” I didn’t attempt a contribution then, but I will do so here." Rae Armantrout NYT
"What the poet owes or doesn’t owe to the world around him or her is a familiar subject. Conscription adds another layer: conscribing a poet to a cause, or an event, or an occasion, or an ideology, may sound coercive. But the fact remains that many poets of worth and reach have been taken out of their comfort zone by an occasion or commitment and have documented that transit with powerful work. Yet today, so much has changed – so many new voices, so many different tonal registers – that the idea of the conscripted poet has had to change as well." Eavan Boland Poetry Ireland Review
"As I remember it, the lecture on King Lear completely transformed my sense of the play I’d studied at A-level by describing it as a clash of generations, between ‘the flashy old and the spivvy new’. The new way of perceiving the play’s conflict was powerful, the fact that it had been produced by those two surprising, non-standard English adjectives was linguistically liberating." John Whale Stand

New poems

David Samoylov World Literature Today

George Clooney The Daily Beast

DA Powell The Volta

Adam Crothers Southword

AR Ammons Poetry

Gwyneth Lewis Hudson Review

Vincenz Serrano High Chair

Ida Börjel Asymptote

Ian Pople Poetry

John Ashbery Poetry

John Ashbery PN Review

David Ferry Threepenny 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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