The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
"The great thing about that line is that it makes liking or not liking poetry a non-issue while also telling us what’s important about poetry. We don’t say “I like” or “I dislike” about breathing, or love. So why say it about poetry either? The statement is also literally true." Daisy Fried Subtropics
"Part 3, “In Nearby Bushes” begins with the most extraordinary and original device. A short newspaper item (about 150 words) concerning the discovery of the decomposing body of a missing 20-year-old woman “in nearby bushes” is printed normally, then repeated four times printed in grey, with some words and letters picked out in black, successively fewer of them. As you read the black print out of the grey you get firstly a brief summary of the report in 34 words, secondly a kind of faltering memory of the report lacking in detail, in 29 words. The third piece offers only some twelve letters and the two final words, giving, “Here where is the nearby bushes”." Peter Riley Fortnightly Review
"Carson famously mapped Belfast many times over, experientially, historically, affectively, psycho-politically, on foot and by flight, but in the last fifteen years of his life he also moved into exploring other networks of entanglement and affection. A substantial late turn was towards the contemplation of real passion and compassion, of love as a state of exquisite jeopardy. For All We Know (2008) queried the unfathomability of both love and memory, an extended yet deeply serious riff on Lerner and Loewe’s “I Remember It Well”, with a pair of lovers voicing a series of poems that bore the same title. It amounted to a thorough mystery, erotic and ineffable." Michael Hinds DRB
“Ted Hughes was often seen as being unfashionable for his nature writing and it was something he doggedly persevered with, to the point where he was a campaigner as well at low levels. It’s interesting to me that poetry has been able to swing back in the direction of nature; it didn’t fit in with a lot of the psychologies of the 60s and 70s and 80s, it wasn’t metropolitan, and maybe attached itself to the Romantics – Wordworth and Coleridge and particularly John Clare. Now nature has very much come back into the centre of what poetry can, and should, be dealing with.” Simon Armitage Guardian
"Cavafy’s poems are often concerned with destinies confined to hopelessness by time and place – again, perhaps an abstraction of the way he viewed his own life." Kyriaco Nikias • Sydney Review of Books

"If this young Polonius thinks he’s packed any original wisdom into lines like “We grow old chasing the truths/ we knew as children,” well, the Canadian school system is in trouble." William Logan • New Criterion

"It could be that poetry cultures develop and thrive in hyperlocal spaces: schools, bars, coffee houses, restaurants, churches, social halls, bookshops. And perhaps poetry moves not from nation to nation or continent to continent, but from local space to local space, from a bar in Nairobi to a bar in Johannesburg, from a coffee shop in Lagos to a coffee shop in Kampala. Perhaps poetry moves not through bookstores or libraries, but in suitcases and handbags, from friend to friend, acquaintance to acquaintance." Keguro Macharia Brick
"[Dorothy] Molloy’s Catholicism burns with a baroque passion more reminiscent of Spain (where she spent 15 years) than Ireland while visual art informs poems about saints and cathedrals, a full-blooded response signalled by the colour red which occurs as frequently as blood – the body is central here." Martina Evans Irish Times
"[Ian Sansom] also makes a practical point: the layers of notes and criticisms offer reassuring evidence that imperfections do not make a great poem less great, and may indeed be a necessary part of how, as we approach yet another political Rubicon, some great poems’ “ironic points of light / flash out wherever the Just / exchange their messages”." John McAuliffe Irish Times
"A taste for the chewier varieties of verse, however, is no guarantee of greater probity. Also signing off on Vote Leave’s claims was Michael Gove, who as secretary of state for education once wished Geoffrey Hill, “our greatest living poet,” a happy 80th birthday in the Commons." Jeremy Noel-Tod • Prospect

"As a decidedly non-academic eclectic reader, I let myself be guided by chance. I very much enjoy the PN Review, in my opinion the best poetry journal, with lucid essays and superb examples of contemporary poets, many in translation; I particularly enjoy the “Pictures from the Rylands Library” section, with its quirky, always interesting discoveries. The Dante Studies journal provides me with essential updates on the endless and varied readings of the Commedia and other Dante texts. The New York Review of Books, while somewhat less interesting than it used to be, seems one of the few remaining places for intelligent dialogue in the United States: essays by Alma Guillermoprieto, Daniel Mendelsohn, Jenny Uglow, Michael Greenberg justify for me its existence. Outside English-speaking domains, a key to the complex world of Mexican culture is the beautifully illustrated Artes de México, in Spanish with an English translation. Every issue centres on a different artistic field: pottery, cooking, weaving, architecture." Alberto Manguel and 24 other writers discuss journals TLS
"A word of warning to begin with: Les Murray was big, bald and fat. I would not normally say any of these things, except that others do, we all do, coyly or haplessly or strickenly. It’s a factor that, unspoken and unspeakable, warps the language of praise in ways it sometimes seems beyond the wit of language itself to avoid – “a poet of international stature” (Peter Porter), “the gigantic talent of Les Murray” (Jeff Nuttall), “one of the greatest poets … in the English-speaking world … what he gives is enormous and quite beyond price” (Thomas Keneally), “there is no poetry in the English language now … so broad-leaved in its pleasures” (Derek Walcott), “Big Les!” (Michael Hofmann). Murray himself had no problem putting a sitting circus elephant on the cover of one of his earlier Collecteds (in 1998), or writing poems on the subject". Michael Hofmann TLS (paywall, worth the subscription)
"There’s a common belief that moments of public agony are good for poetry." Peter Campion • Public Book

"This question—whether to live a contemplative or active (now we might say activist) life—hangs over Solie’s fifth book of poems, which has just been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize." Ange Mlinko • NYRB

" I don’t think for a second that Whitman means us to take this literally, but even as a sheerly literary construct, there is something a little galling about a speaker who never considers how bride and bridegroom might feel about this intrusion on their privacy, let alone the creepy suggestion of rape as the Bard of democracy’s prerogative." Tom Sleigh Poetry
"A successful elegy doesn’t communicate the mere fact that the narrator is sad; a well-written elegy might actually provoke the reader to a feeling of sadness, or to some other kind of sympathetic engagement with the world of the poem." James Arthur • Agni

New poems

Daisy Fried Subtropics

Karen Solie Granta

David Wheatley Irish Times

Emma Jeremy bath magg

Laura Scott The Compass

Rebecca O'Connor Irish Times

Kit Fan Poetry

Hera Lindsey Bird The Spinoff


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The Page aims to gather links to some of the Web's most interesting writing.

Reader suggestions for links, and other comments, are always welcome; send them to ät hotmail dõt com

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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