The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
"If I never hear “If—” or “Invictus” again, I won't be unhappy." Willard Spiegelman • Wall Street Journal

"She is an empress of credentials, an avatar of all-the-right-moves: grew up trilingual (speaking primarily Italian and French into her late teens), was asked to leave the Sorbonne amid the student protests of 1968, got an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, has taught for years at Harvard." Jeff Gordinier • New York Times

"In the middle of these contradictions around Black relations to the land as the mythic basis of US national identity, the most popular African American poet in the wake of Reconstruction, Albery Allson Whitman, wrote vast lyric epic romances about frontier history in which Black and Native characters take center stage." Matt Sandler • LitHub

"I am in favour of abundance, whether temporal, aesthetic or social. We can create abundance for each other." Lisa Robertson • Cordite Poetry Review

"An impoverished homosexual, Cavafy lived on the margins of Alexandrian society. A meeting with the famous English writer E. M. Forster at the Alexandria Sporting Club turned out to be fortunate for his literary career and legacy." Gretchen McCullough • LARB

"As with her groundbreaking Citizen, Rankine’s latest work blends essays, photographs, poetry, erasures. What should be noted, though, is the shift in focus in her titles: whereas Citizen (2014) and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely (2004) were each subtitled “An American Lyric”, Just Us is “An American Conversation”." Seán Hewitt The Irish Times
"I’m not sure the qualities of writing in age can be tabulated or synthesized. One wouldn’t want to be dogmatic about it, and of course one has always liked and even loved interesting and striking work composed at any stage, at any phase, and even work of which one doesn’t know offhand the age. (It was Joseph Brodsky who had the idea that the writer’s age—the age of the writer at the time of writing—should be prominently displayed somewhere on the work.)" Michael Hofmann • The Baffler

"It is true that Irish writers no longer stand out against the society generally for their dissident views of religion or sexuality. Is it then a good thing for writers now to feel much more at home in a drastically imperfect country? For example, in the final “Coda” devoted largely to an analysis of the positive influence of The Irish Times on Irish literature, Reynolds states that the paper was “founded in the nineteenth century with a moderate nationalist Protestant bent”, but that is it is now “a generally progressive newspaper, one with neoliberal sympathies”. Reynolds herself seems to be at ease with this “neoliberalism”. However, we might interrogate the connections between such politics and the operation of the literary scene that The Irish Times supports (assuming that the paper is not so different from other publishers or state bodies). What becomes of literature when image, social media presence and incessant competition for publicity, awards and grants are the order of the day?" Emer Nolan DRB
"In an interview some years ago [Colette] Bryce stated that she believed that a poem “was no good if it doesn’t have emotional truth”. Emotional truth is the holding glue in Bryce’s poetry – whether she is returning to her early years in the North or reporting from the wider world of her imagination." Gerry Smyth DRB
"Compression, stillness and plainness are largely absent; quick shifts, volubility and references to Barthes are fully present (there are four pages of endnotes for the 105 pages of poetry here). You might suppose this would result in a little too much self-conscious literariness, but Solie tempers her lines with good humor and an attractive populism. If she’s going to write about the nature of truth, she’s going to involve an “AEG 365 washer/dryer”; if she’s going to write about solitude, she’s also going to talk about “short-term RVers” trying to park to see Leonard Knight’s gloriously weird Salvation Mountain in the California desert." David Orr • NYT

"The first woman to hold the title of poet laureate of Jamaica, Goodison’s singularity as a writer lies in her belief in the micro-resistances of domestic life: she infuses the everyday with “salt and light,” turning mundane acts into transformative rituals." Kate Siklosi • The Walrus

"Vasilisa Palianina and her husband, Andrey, are in their Minsk apartment listening out for footsteps on the stairs. They fear that the police might be coming." Valzhyna Mort • Financial Times

"I found myself walking past 44 Morton Street for old times’ sake. The super was outside, hosing down the sidewalk, and when I looked in through the ground-floor window, I could see the whole apartment was open and under renovation. Since no one seemed to be around, I asked if I might walk down the alley to the back garden onto which Brodsky’s former living room–study opened. I figured that just seeing the trees and brickwork patio would be a comfort, but then I saw, standing outside, awaiting disposal, the refrigerator from the old apartment, its door removed and leaning against the wall, and inside its exposed cavity the abandoned travel carrier for Brodsky’s cat, Mississippi, a name he gave it because he thought cats liked sibilants far more than fricatives. All I could think of was what the poet had told me in “A Part of Speech,” right from the start: "Only sound needs echo and dreads its lack. / A glance is accustomed to no glance back." Peter Filkins The American Scholar
"I was raised in a Rastafarian family in the countryside, hours away by winding road from Kingston, a place that even in the Eighties folks still simply called “town.” Throughout my boyhood in Portland and St. Thomas parishes, on the cane and banana farms that entrapped imaginations on the eastern coast, Ethiopia existed as the future fulfillment of our tragic slave past." Ishion Hutchinson • Harper's

"Simonides is known as the first poet to accept payment for his poems, and so found himself often in the company (employment) of tyrants, wealthy merchants, ancestral aristocrats. He lived a long life, perhaps into his early nineties, which instilled in him a worldliness that runs counter to romantic ideals of who and what a poet should be. Hiero’s wife, asking Simonides if it’s better to be wealthy or wise, is told “wealthy; for I see the wise spending their days at the doors of the wealthy.”" Dan Beachy-Quick • Lapham's Quarterly

"This is a generous selection of Neruda’s work. It contains the politically engaged nostalgia that Neruda used when looking at and back on his native Chile and the other places he travelled in, in an important life both as a diplomat and an exile. His poem, ‘London’ adumbrates what was clearly an unhappy stay in a London that also comes across as a police state. These are rangy poems and Neruda is not afraid to sprawl and chew things over. Towards the end of the book are a number of poems from his last volumes which are just as political and personal as the earlier poems." Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"Many poems in The Gilded Auction Block address the US directly, alongside its president. The idea is in a great tradition (think of Allen Ginsberg’s America, Danez Smith’s Dear White America or even, in its less embattled way, Walt Whitman’s One Song, America, Before I Go). The collection opens with The President Visits the Storm, demonstrating Trump’s imperviousness towards the victims of Hurricane Harvey. A few pages in, Everything I Know About Blackness I Learned from Donald Trump almost does not need the poem to unpack its title. The sense, throughout, is of an America with selective hearing and Trump as a complacently grotesque Goliath, against whom a poet must aim a particularly sharp stone." Kate Kellaway Observer
"But there’s a profound difference in the voices of Heaney’s and Headley’s translations. Heaney’s narrator is a serious, gray-bearded storyteller, rendering the Old English “þæt wæs god cyning” as “a good king he!”; Headley’s is a fratty youngster eager to get pumped on tales of warfare, impatient with archaic forms. “You know how it is: every castle wants invading,” he says. Her narrator’s tone is light and suspenseful, resembling nothing so much as a man telling a long but compelling story in a bar." Jo Livingston Poetry

New poems

Osip Mandelstam One Hand Clapping

Carl Phillips Yale Review

Dan Chiasson The Yale Review

Sasha Dugdale Guardian

Paul Muldoon The Yale Review

Valzhyna Mort New Yorker

Michael Hofmann Australian Book Review

Marion McCready The Manchester 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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