The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
"The sense of place conjured here is not something of which, in James’s poem, Larkin’s imagination is conscious, and the Larkin of James’s poem is certainly not how Larkin saw himself as a writer. In 1965 he wrote to his publisher lamenting the fact that ‘ordinary sane novels about ordinary sane people doing ordinary sane things can’t find a publisher these days’. Such novels represent ‘the tradition of Jane Austen and Trollope’, and Larkin continues: ‘I like to read about people who have done nothing spectacular, who aren’t beautiful or lucky, who try to behave well in the limited field of activity they command, but who can see, in little autumnal moments of vision, that the so called “big” experiences of life are going to miss them; and I like to read about such things presented not with self pity or despair or romanticism, but with realistic firmness and even humour’." Simon Petch Sydney Review of Books
"“In dreams”, wrote W.B. Yeats, “begins responsibility”. But who wants to be responsible for baked wooden pallets?" Fintan O'Toole Irish Times
"The road to the internet is paved with literature." Michael Farrell Sydney Review of Books
"It feels like anything is possible when it comes to poetry right now, so I want to capture how poets are creating or making the most of those possibilities. I want drama to get in the ring with dumb jokes, and landscapes to mingle with pop culture references. But ultimately I’ll be looking for poems that I can’t wait to tell everybody about". Chris Tse The Spinoff
"One of [The Candlelight Master's] finest moments is "After Amergin", recounting the original Irish poet’s first step onto Irish shores, as recounted in the Book of Invasions (though an end-note claims it as part of the Ulster Cycle). [Michael] Longley’s version introduces a dozen new images, incorporates motifs used throughout the collection (especially, the otter and the burial mound), and also operates as a reflection on his part in the spiralling and continuing poetic influences of his generation’s work." John McAuliffe The Irish Times
"“Not every sound/is a voice not every breath is a self,” a nameless speaker in Nobody observes. In defying the familiar links between sound, voice, breath, and self, [Alice] Oswald has created an intransigent body of work that is more interested in questions than answers, fractures than perfection, risks than security." Kit Fan Poetry
"Eight years after Stan Smith’s review she first contributed to PN Review, issue 41: the poem ‘Listen: this is the Noise of Myth’. She did some reviewing, and then came the transformative contributions, starting with the poem ‘Outside History’, followed six months later by an essay of the same title. It was writing that changed me, ‘and I took those changes with me into my life, where they continue to instruct it’. In all, she contributed to the magazine forty-seven times in her own voice. I cannot say how many times she is present by suggestion or simply by her example, which persists." Michael Schmidt PN Review
"When he taught a course at the University of California, Berkeley in 1971, Sun Ra's syllabus included The Egyptian Book of the Dead; the theosophical works of Madame Blavatsky, the nineteenth-century Russian medium; Henry Dumas, a brilliant poet gunned down by New York City Transit Police in 1968. He often cited George G.M. James’s Stolen Legacy (1954), which claimed that Greek philosophy had filched its ideas from Egyptian mythology." Namwali Serpell NYRB
"Stephen Dedalus agonised over using the language of the oppressor, but we can’t imagine the pain of losing language through the systematic, brutal separation of children from their parents. Only a handful of elders were able to transmit the Mohave language when Diaz returned to her community in 2013 to work on saving it. Her sense of community, like her fine collaborations with Ada Limón, are part of a particular Native American generosity." Martina Evans The Irish Times
"This fulfils a crucial task for culture: to reflect on oppression, without repeating the oppression. Miller surpasses expectations for a book to be about something, as if a book’s purpose were merely to convey information, or to create an experience. To read In Nearby Bushes is to be guided into thinking through things, however uncomfortable or uncanny. Poet and reader venture into the realm where “the bushes shiver” in “the sign of some other life behind the leaves, another world inside this world.” Vahni Capildeo Newsday
"Later Emperors is a lyrical book, somber yet lovely. Rare among works of poetry today, it offers not only beauty but also a wisdom rooted in time and timelessness." Benjamin Myers • World Literature Today

"Critics have been raising eyebrows about book-length conceits recently. A series of infantile and imbecilic funding strictures put in place by the Research Excellence Framework system at UK universities has incentivised poets to focus in depth on one subject across a whole book, or section of a book, since this provides a more ‘quantifiable’ sense of the ‘worth’ and ‘impact’ of their poetry. The effect has been to homogenise and flatten the output of many poets. I have never met or read or even heard a whispered rumour of a poet who approves of this system. But small objections like that don’t hold much water with funding bodies." John Phipps The London Magazine
""The Sparrows of Butyrka" was written between 11 and 20 December 1981. Irina and her husband had been arrested in Pushkin Square, Moscow, and given 10-day sentences for taking part in a demonstration of support for Andrei Sakharov. Irina was already known to the authorities; she had been fired from her first job as a primary school teacher for opposing antisemitism. Deeply influenced by her Polish grandmother, she followed the Catholic faith. She saw Poland rather than Russia or the Ukraine (she was born in Odessa) as her true motherland." Carol Rumens Guardian
"The German says: “auf den Wiesen der sanft gewellten Landschaft.” On the meadows or grass of the gently rolling scenery. It’s a description of a cemetery. I just have “the gently contoured lawn.” It’s a little shorter, a little more practical. The German says: “auch die Kritik wurde darauf aufmerksam.” Something like: even the critics paid it attention. I put: “Even the reviewers seemed to sit up.” It puts a little tone into it, a little shop, a little self-deprecation. I think “seemed“ is useful to Peter, where there’s lots of doubt to go around." Michael Hofmann Asymptote
"It’s worth noting that Heaven bears an epigraph from the poet Antonio Machado (b. 1875, d. 1939) : “Tus ojos me recuerdan/las noches de verano.” (Your eyes remind me/of summer nights). Heat has a rock ‘n’ roll epigraph in English, attributed to The Who: “I ain’t gone away yet.” The two epigraphs capture, in a few strokes, both the lyricism and the humorous endurance that the poems embody." Jennifer Barber The Critical Flame
"The Earl of Surrey invented blank verse by translating Virgil; Milton trained to be Milton by translating Latin poets, then translating his own verse into Latin; when Auden wanted to adapt Marianne Moore's syllabics to his own sense of line, he turned to Alkman's meter (alcaics, also adapted into Latin by Horace); and to this day, reading classics at Oxbridge is a conventional start to a poetry career." Ange Mlinko • NYRB

"Edmond draws from, yet finds limitations with, currently fashionable world literature theories. For Edmond, world systems theories highlight the “unequal power distribution that drives peripheral literatures to copy the centre”; by contrast, circulation theories underscore the “non-hierarchical movement of copies of texts and literary forms across languages and cultures” (8). Make It the Same, however, refuses the polarities of these positions; instead, Edmond’s readings—particularly of texts by Brathwaite, Yang Lian, Som, Stalling, and Hsia Yü—reflect a disposition that “privileges neither origins nor centres, as in world systems theory, nor diversity and heterogeneity, as in circulation or relational theories of world literature”. Put differently, Edmond views poetry informed by the iterative turn as a site of contestations and negotiations: poetry is not an index of the authority of advanced cultural centres acting on a marginal poet worrying about being belated and derivative. Nor is poetry a demonstration of the unfettered agency of a dispossessed poet claiming triumphant singularity. Rather, iterative poetry negotiates between these two positions, and is characterised by a restlessness akin to Brathwaite’s tidalectics: “moving outward from the centre to the circumference and back again: a tidal dialectics”. Thus, by interrogating “concepts that inform literary study on a global scale, including originality and belatedness, national location, and the boundaries of literature itself, which now blur” into other cultural and media forms, Edmond widens the scope of his analysis.' Vincenz Serrano Cha
"Each poem is a go-between: it is through poetry that worlds meet and converse. In #family, she shifts between hospital and home, the clinical and domestic, between actual and metaphorical fracture. The poem is an attempt to graft broken things. In The Shaman, The Servant, she contrasts her grandfather’s life as a revered shaman with hers as a slighted UK nurse, accused by one patient of stealing her job." Kate Kellaway Observer
"Seasons and weather are subject to intense depictions, and while this intensity might be understood to be a feature of the poet’s voice, it also speaks of the ecological situation we find ourselves in – of unpredictable meteorological extremes." Isabel Galleymore The Scores
"Once again Olds is engaged in a permissive poetics which expands the field by offering poems ‘about’ the full range of lived experience and especially the lived experience of the woman who speaks these poems. It is here that the poems become uncomfortable and, in these poems, discomfort is a wonderfully generative space." Kayo Chingonyi The Poetry Review
"Those in power keep invoking “the normal” as in “when we get back to normal.” I’ve developed an aversion to that word normal. Of course, I understand the more benign meanings of normal; having dinner with friends, going to the movies, going back to work (not so benign). However, I have never used it with any confidence in the first place; now, I find it noxious." Dionne Brand • Toronto Star

"Nowadays, epic poetry is banished and bookshelves groan with memoir and nature-autobiographies. It’s hard to imagine a time before their existence. Indeed, we may have come too far with our “I” – in her 2019 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, the novelist Olga Tokarczuk said that the sheer success of the first person narrator was “akin to a choir made up of soloists only, voices competing for attention, all travelling similar routes, drowning one another out”. But in 1806, it was unheard of for a poet to explore his own self-development. This self-creating was quite new." Kathleen Jamie New Statesman
"Campus poems are intended perhaps for the community of poets and likeminded souls outside the academy; to share a joke, often half against themselves. They may not take themselves too seriously (if a campus poet were an instrument it would be a tiny violin)." Anna Woodford The Poetry Review
"One of the things I love about winning the TS Eliot prize is that I am so black. I didn’t go to Oxford or Cambridge, I am the only black in the literary village." Roger Robinson Guardian

New poems

Alexandra Watson Scoundrel Time

Madison White Anthropocene

Iulia David The Scores

Susan Stewart Blackbox Manifold

Shane McCrae The Scores

Shane McCrae Granta

Carl Phillips Poetry

Eric Ormsby The Walrus

Iain Twiddy The London Magazine

Joe Carrick-Varty New Statesman

Rachel Long Granta

Naush Sabah Rigorous

Caitriona O'Reilly the High Window / Poetry International

Richard Scott Poetry International

Chad Campbell The Scores

Rachel Long The Poetry Review


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

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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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