The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
"My thirteen-year-old daughter had no opinion about The Last Straw as a title but tells me that The Sea Field is ‘a terrible title for a book’. Of all of our household she is the one who knows the actual Sea Field best. To her mind there is nothing metaphorical about it. (A friend who has studied English points out that it is an oxymoron, which reminds me that Oscar Wilde considered ‘Royal Irish Academy’ to be a triple oxymoron)." Tom French Books Ireland
"During the sentencing, Crown attorney Jennifer Ferguson adopted a highly unusual tactic—exhibiting verse as evidence. The poem offered up was, according to Ferguson, based on an incident in the life of Francis’s wife, whose home, in the judge’s words, appeared “to have been a torture chamber.”" Anita Lahey • The Walrus

"Not long after news of his father’s illness reached WB Yeats in Dublin, the Spanish flu came even closer to home when his heavily pregnant, 27-year-old wife, George, was struck down. At that time, the couple, who had married in 1917, were renting Maud Gonne’s house at 73 St Stephen’s Green. It was an alarming time for the Yeats family as the Spanish flu took a surprisingly heavy toll on younger people between 15 and 40, who accounted for almost half of the total deaths recorded." Daniel Mulhall Irish Times
"Their meanings are often elusive, not so much puzzling as hard to pin down very definitely, working as they do through suggestion rather than statement and lending themselves to different levels of interpretation, often set in motion by the gentlest of hints. To me, such a hovering between meanings is a pleasure in itself, in the context of a short poem, and given the remarkable clarity of form and verbal grace of Valéry’s writing." Edmund Prestwich The Manchester Review
"The Edward Hirsch who emerges in his poems is helpful, courteous, kind, brave, clean, and a little guilt-ridden—in other words, a Boy Scout mensch with some tragedy in him." William Logan • New Criterion

"This to me is allowing an actual injury to pass and punishing a symbolic and technical transgression instead. It is being offended by something in print, and not in life. [...] One begins to see a pattern emerging – of restrictiveness, fussiness and oversensitivity. Hardwick, on the issue of the letters in the poems, began by saying to Lowell, “The matter of your work is yours entirely and I don’t think you have it in your power to ‘hurt’ me”. Then, when the book came out, she was hurt. Much later, it became a matter for banter between them. " Michael Hofmann TLS
"For Miriam Lord, an Irish Times columnist and humorist, it was too much. “The taoiseach has succumbed completely to the Heaney bug and is now a super-spreader … Leo must poetically distance himself immediately. Because this thing is infectious.”" Rory Carroll Guardian
"So where the Book of Job ends with the unjustly suffering Job silent in adoration, the Book of Jonah ends with Jonah mired in perplexity. It has been said that there is no humour in the Bible. Humour doesn’t necessarily come in guffaws. We are left to consider the scene, as Jehovah spells out his rationale for sparing the inhabitants of Nineveh: although humans can’t tell their right hand from their left the city is also full of ‘much cattle’ which merit consideration. Cattle are dumb and don’t talk back." Iain Bamforth PN Review
"While the concept of self-isolation may be less of a stretch for poets, whose work has always necessitated solitude, it is nonetheless other to the nature of poetry, which is to connect and connect (a tenet central to the work of Poetry Ireland). The mind-mapping impulse inherent to image-making, where one thing links unexpectedly to another, may remind us of molecular patterns of connection, that everything is in everything else." Colette Bryce Poetry Ireland Review
"[Wanda] Coleman won an Emmy, in 1976, for her writing on the daytime soap opera “Days of Our Lives,” and wrote an episode of the much rerun buddy-cop show “Starsky & Hutch.” Soon she devoted herself more fully to her own writing and performing. Her first full-length book of poetry, “Mad Dog Black Lady,” appeared in 1979, and was followed by a dozen or so more, as well as short stories, essays, and a novel." Dan Chiasson • New Yorker

"Our professors had a great deal invested in novels and poems; and it was probably even the case that, at some point, they had loved them. But they had convinced themselves that to justify the “study” of literature it was necessary to immunize themselves against this love, and within the profession the highest status went to those for whom admiration and attachment had most fully morphed into their opposites. Their hatred of literature manifested itself in their embrace of theories and methods that downgraded and instrumentalized literary experience, in their moralistic condemnation of the literary works they judged ideologically unsound, and in their attempt to pass on to their students their suspicion of literature’s most powerful imaginative effects." Jon Baskin the Point
"Reminiscent of one of this century’s great elegies, Denise Riley’s A Part Song, The M Pages is similarly probing, hurt and skeptical. Bryce is a poet of great assurance, and this sequence alone makes the book a necessary addition to the library of readers interested in contemporary Irish writing." John McAuliffe Irish Times
"The poems will come later, when the suffering has sifted down from shared experience to solitary aftermath. When it is felt more in the singular than the plural, poetry will be one of the ways we try to understand what has happened to us." Vona Groarke Cambridge Reflections
"The life of the poem lies in the fusion of these gleanings with Empson’s vivid on the ground observations – most strikingly, ‘the paddy-fields are wings of bees’; and its boldness from the way in which they are subordinated to two conceits. ‘The dragon hatched a cockatrice’, drawn from Isaiah, works from the observation that many features of Japanese culture were absorbed from Tang dynasty China. China is of course the dragon." Diana Bridge PN Review
"Something about the stark language and repetition in the poem grabbed me before I noticed its structure. I appreciated it even more when I saw how the poem was based on the fundamental theorem of arithmetic, which states that every whole number greater than 1 has a unique prime factorization. Glaz composed phrases to represent each prime number and combined them as dictated by each number’s factorization, using “for” for exponentiation and “in” for multiplication." Evelyn Lamb Scientific American
"I am inescapably a pedagogue. And everyone should learn ancient Greek." Anne Carson • LitHub

"Meanwhile Mezey’s poetic style changed; he followed the zeitgeist into free verse. “When I was quite young,” he wrote, “I came under unhealthy influences — Yvor Winters, for example, and America, and my mother, though not in that order.”" Dana Gioia LA Times
"The wasted land that William [Merwin] bought in 1977 is part of an ahupua‘a called Pe‘ahi—the valley and watershed of the Pe‘ahi Stream. When he arrived, the stream had already been dry for over a century, and the land around it stripped of its trees." Chelsea Steinauer-Scudder • Emergence Magazine

"I find Celan’s meetings with Martin Heidegger and Martin Buber (both mentioned in Economy of the Unlost) curious. Surely, he must have anticipated distance in these two deeply distant figures. Plato described love as ‘an intermediate state between possession and deprivation’. It’s not always clear where our affinities lie. But is Celan adding to a storage of distance with his poems inspired by his meetings with Heidegger and Buber." Sarah Byrne Southword
"He sees poetry, rightly I think, as a way of resisting the many forms of violence imposed upon us by technological, commercial and political powers. This is what Wallace Stevens meant by “the imagination pressing back against the pressure of reality,” and it can take overtly public form, as it does in some poetry by Yeats, Auden, Heaney, as well as in figures like Haki Madhubuti (formerly Don L. Lee) and Amiri Baraka, or in the sometimes foolish public actions of poets like Robert Frost, as well as in more private, quasi-religious gestures from the likes of Rilke. Burnside’s book is never comprehensive, nor does it attempt to be." David Mason Hudson Review
"The power dynamic sharpens in “Crossing Borders,” with an experience familiar to those of us routinely delayed at checkpoints—I can’t think of another poet who writes so “feelingly” about this, except Seamus Heaney (a Catholic in Northern Ireland, stopped at a roadblock, a sten gun in his face)." Vidyan Ravinthiran • Poetry

"In Murray’s case, the groundswell of criticism from the left presented him with an opportunity to present his voice as marginalised and under siege by a ‘metropolitan elite’. Mudrooroo came to conceive of his writing as having an activist role in rehabilitating an Aboriginal identity estranged by the colonial experience." Ben Etherington • Sydney Review of Books

New poems

James Womack Literary Review

John McAuliffe Irish Times

Fleur Adcock NZ Poetry Shelf

Vahni Capildeo Best Scottish Poems

Nick Laird New Yorker

Eavan Boland New Yorker

Vahni Capildeo PN Review

Paisley Rekdal American Poetry Review

Kay Ryan APR

Eavan Boland New Yorker

Victoria Kennefick Poetry Ireland

Gëzim Hajdari Lincoln Review

Andre Bagoo Magma


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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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