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poetry, essays, ideas
"“The Octopus Museum,” Brenda Shaughnessy’s fifth collection of poems, posits an apocalyptic future that looks a lot like now, an extension of our current dystopia in which food, water, housing and medical care are scarce or too expensive to access. What is it like to live in this world of “irreversible change”? It’s hotter, naturally, more peripatetic. Less obviously, “the Octopodes,” a conglomerate of semi-benevolent cephalopods, are our new non-alien overlords: “We still do not know their language. We think they think we are too stupid to learn it and we know they know they are probably right.”." Elisa Gabbert • New York Times

"I pursued connections between traditional music and poetry occasionally in my work, though this did not always go down well in England: Andrew Duncan, for example, wrote in his Handlist of Late 20th Century Poets that my “admiration for folk styles...chased out literary interest almost altogether”. Yet in the face of all charges of crudity, traditional music can be analysed with a subtlety completely absent from much contemporary poetry criticism. You could talk about Roscommon, Kerry or west Limerick bodhrán styles and aficionados would know exactly what you meant, while binary divisions as simplistic as Kilburn High Road’s have been peddled in UK poetry for decades. This is being complicated by a younger generation of poets outside the traditional camps but the reflex here is to reach for adjectives like polarised when many people don’t fit easily into boxes, or think outside them." Ian Duhig Irish Times
"There is a poem in which he says that he has a middle name in Arabic he can’t quite manage. There is a generosity in this, an invitation to step into the poem and mispronounce ourselves along with him." Ross Leckie The Fiddlehead
"Oswald will probably win the Oxford professorship – the result will be announced this afternoon – and that is a great thing. But we could have had Oswald and Riley, and Carson, and who knows how many others, all sharing a platform together – in the running, as they ought to be." Frances Leviston LRB
"That we are in the presence of a strange imagination becomes obvious from the first poem in Rachael Allen’s debut collection." Helena Fornells The Scores
"Sometimes Thorpe’s vocabulary can detain you (he is to language what a botanist is to flowers). Reading The Alarm, I had to look up gryke (fissure between blocks of limestone), vambrace (piece of armour for the forearm) and plackart (I’m still not sure what it means). It is encouragingly clear that language will not dwindle on Adam Thorpe’s watch." Kate Kellaway Observer
"[A]t her best Stallings gives Anthony Hecht and Richard Wilbur a run for their money." William Logan • New Criterion

"Of the three poets, Oswald is the best known and the most authoritative. Her statement is the most detailed and convincing in its aims. Even so, her election is hardly inevitable. She is, after all, a woman." Hal Jensen TLS
"‘Wasps in the retina’ sounded too literal in English, and probably absurd to a reader. The image of wasps isn’t meant to be read literally, here; it is understood in Albanian in the same way we say grerëza or miza-miza, if your foot or hand goes numb – you feel ‘flies-flies’ – which suggests both a rhythmic sound and a vibration. In this instance, ‘wasps in the retina’ was a metaphor for orgasm. I didn’t want this metaphor to be lost, so I translated it as ‘a buzz in the retina’, hoping this was both as fresh and suggestive as the corresponding image in Albanian. My other challenge lay with the word ‘underwear’. The English term is so banal, and alternatives like ‘lingerie’ sounded superfluous and not at all natural; they failed to capture the casual sense of the Albanian word mbathje, used in the original. So I decided to cut the word altogether." Ani Gjika and Luljeta Lleshanaku Cordite
"But what they don’t understand is that the ostentatious left-wing politics of academia is camouflage for a deeply conservative way of life. The closest analogue to the humanities as it currently functions is the Anglican Church in the nineteenth century. The Church had vicars and it had curates then, and it divided its young people into these two streams. Vicars were propertied, lived in the major centres, acceded eventually to the responsibilities of administration. The curates were poor, and worked for an annual salary, and lived in the sticks. The humanities in the United States works the same way, with tenured faculty paid six figures to think, and the contingent faculty paid a few thousand a course on a contract basis." Stephen Marche TLS
"[Ilya Kaminsky's] political acuity stretches from the Soviet experience to the recent history of his birthplace, Ukraine, and to America today. These are revealed to be the mutually inextricable threads of a single knot—the story of occupation, resistance, and complacency." Valerie Duff The Critical Flame
"[Ciaran] Carson was going against a more conventional path of poetic development, whereby a nervously formal poet loosens into a freer aesthetic (as in the trajectory of, say, Thom Gunn’s work). But Carson’s development took a more dialectical path, the restrained, well-crafted poetry of his first collection, The New Estate (1976), giving way, a decade later, to his characteristic digressive and long-lined collections The Irish For No and Belfast Confetti." Ross Moore DRB
"Goldsmith’s Deserted Village, is, as Montague notes, “one of the first statements of a great modern theme: the erosion of traditional values [“the rural virtues”] and natural rhythms in a commercial society”. One thinks today of comparing him with a versatile modern writer such as Wendell Berry (b1934) the novelist, essayist and poet whose themes might well be described as Goldsmithian, especially the key theme concerning the erosion of the moral fabric of local communities. Goldsmith identified the evils of imperial greed in the first great anti-imperialistic poem of the period of England’s greatest imperial expansion." Fergus O'Ferrall DRB
"At a recent reading in Plymouth, Allen answered questions about the process of writing Kingdomland and discussed ideas around performance, specifically the performance of femininity. But there’s also an implicit performativity in the way that she asks us to inhabit different entities in the poems – like the ‘mimic octopus’ we can be a purblind monkey, an opal gland or cucumber, though not even the mutable form of the octopus is allowed to stand. Ultimately, this creature ‘might be many things / but it cannot mimic me.’" Sarah Cave Poetry London
"The fourth and final section of this carefully organised book opens out into a kind of poetry whose direction might take Xie forward in the future. Here, the introspection of the travel poems becomes more an investigation into how one sits within one’s own life as a whole. Xie’s method here is to take the short, charged comments which have enlivened the travel poems and shore them up one against each other." Ian Pople The Manchester Review

New poems

Denise Riley Poetry London

Michael Prior The Walrus

Martina Evans The Compass

Danez Smith Poetry

Charles Simic The Threepenny Review

Alicia Ostriker Smartish Pace

Denise Riley The Poetry Review

Vahni Capildeo Poetry International


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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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