The Page
poetry, essays, ideas

"There are several things that qualify someone to be a critic. They require some expertise; they must be able to write; they should have taste (reviews have everything to do with taste – and nothing). But the most vital qualification is that they should love whatever it is that they write about. As the late AA Gill put it: “If you don’t love it, why will you care if somebody does it badly?”" Rachel Cooke Observer
"Ordering a collection is quite an instinctive process. I enjoy shaking the poems loose from the order in which they were written and discovering a web of connections between them: how these might determine a pattern. With The M Pages, it seemed significant that ‘Death of an Actress’ took the opening position." Colette Bryce Picador
'"Why persist in existing, the poet Rilke asks, “when this span of life might be fleeted away / as laurel”? The answer he gives is at once straightforward and glorious, and it is one with which Brian Greene would surely concur: “. . . because being here is much, and because all this / that’s here, so fleeting, seems to require us and strangely / concerns us. Us, the most fleeting of all.”' John Banville The Irish Times
"What is meant to make Benn’s work ‘timeless’ puts it in orbit around a collapsing star, as modernity moves in to make it implode.
Sachs’ work directly mirrors this gravitational implosion. It is its holy opposite. She crushes the protons and electrons of ordinary language to form charged, neutron constellations, in colours we have never seen before.
Tiny, but impossibly dense, many of the later poems are the afterimages of the collapse of the monstrous swell of Benn and others, and their cultural elevation of nihilism to art." Steve Hanson Blackbox Manifold
"In this book he has assembled what amounts to Kenyon’s spiritual autobiography, as modest and profoundly moving in its way as the casual perfection of a single stroke of lead white describing the touch of light on a pewter vessel." Averill Curdy New Criterion
"In 1887, the story goes, College members sent Whitman a birthday card, which included a gift of £10. A note of thanks returned, and an exchange between Camden, New Jersey, and Bolton, Lancashire, began." Evan Jones Poetry

"I have woken to its sound and fallen asleep, often late, to the last train in the very early morning, for nearly 38 years now. Much else has changed around me here, but these two, the streetcar and mist, have not. I suppose they have become more a part of my identity than I realise." August Kleinzahler LRB

"This ‘social class of their own’ [in Auden's phrase] becomes ever more specialised and defined: many individuals who identify as poets have teaching jobs in universities and colleges. Academic institutions provide relatively safe environments. They pay, protect – and some of them homogenise. If social media are a measure, poets can develop a uniform set of political and civic opinion. They police their environment tirelessly, severely. Aberrant opinion, contrary argument, are promptly slapped down." Michael Schmidt PN Review
"We write at first because we must, but later we write because one or two people know us deeply and nevertheless want to read us." William Logan • New Criterion

"It’s one of the many books she never wrote. The journals are full of them. Which is the more telling: the energy that produced so many ideas for so many books? Or the obstacles that meant they were never written?" David Herman PN Review
"Phillipson once said: “I’m a poet, because I want to spend five hours writing three words.” She has been lucky enough to realise that dream, and several others besides to become a triple threat: visual artist, poet and musician." Stuart Jeffries Guardian
"Poetry, for [A.M.] Klein, was the highest of high callings, the apex art. Thus elected, the poet’s duty was to furnish readers with a vision of coherence. Roughly four decades later, Seamus Heaney would call this concept “redress.” Good poetry, Heaney believed, had a “counterweighing function”; it transformed, or redressed, social imbalances into an imagined alternative, an aesthetic counterreality." Carmine Starnino • The New Criterion

"As we have seen, that reaching out, Hoagland’s reading into the consciousness of the Other, can feel a little jarring where that reaching out might be a kind of colonizing as with ‘Dinner Guest’. But Hoagland’s poetry is driven by a real attempt to empathize. In ‘Rain-Father’, there is sympathy for both the father and the son." Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"I’m proud to present to you this edition of Sport. I hope you find that this edition is particularly gang, hot and flossy. Thank you to everyone who has trusted me with their mahi; your words are the only vibe check I need." Tayi Tibble Sport
"By early 1971, I was crossing it three or four times a week on my way to Quimantú, the government publishing house where, after teaching at the university, I was working as an ad honorem consultant on a series of projects: new youth and culture magazines, comic books designed to challenge Disney’s ascendancy in the market, and the publication of popular books sold in vast numbers in inexpensive editions at newsstands. One of the delights of that labor of love was, after several hours of strenuous and exhilarating work at Quimantú, to stop at a corner of the plaza and, for a few minutes, simply stand and watch my fellow citizens acquiring this reading matter at a kiosk." Ariel Dorfman NYRB
"If Keats was the poet who understood and responded to embarrassment, then [Devin] Johnston, here, places that embarrassment in the twenty-first century context. This is a context in which embarrassment has become part of universal discourse, witnessed in every environment from a campsite in the American landscape to the live stream worlds of Big Brother and Love Island." Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"In Dave [Hickey]'s cosmology, the Aryan muscle-boys weren’t just actual Aryan muscle-boys; they were all the puritans and schoolmarms, of whatever faith, color, ideology and affiliation, who think art isn’t just subordinate to ethics but practically a branch of it." Daniel Oppenheimer The Point
"If the death of god put the angels in a strange position, according to Donald Barthelme, Medbh McGuckian’s angels aren’t aware of it." Martina Evans • Irish Times

"“Huh,” I said aloud, “I never realized Odysseus has a sister.” I was feeling both confused and exposed in my ignorance, so I went back to whatever my point was and moved on. If any of my students reacted to what I said, I didn’t notice. Since they were reading the Odyssey for the first time, perhaps every character and detail was new to them, and this was just one more detail to try to absorb." Mary Ebbott • Michigan Quarterly Review

"A passage from the longest of her letters to Stevenson, from 1964, known as “The ‘Darwin’ Letter,” was one of the first pieces of her correspondence to gain attention when it was excerpted in Elizabeth Bishop and Her Art (1983). The passage begins: “There is no ‘split.’ Dreams, works of art (some), glimpses of the always-more-successful surrealism of everyday life, unexpected moments of empathy (is it?), catch a peripheral vision of whatever it is one can never really see full-face but that seems enormously important.”" Langdon Hammer • NYRB

"If a poet’s ambition were truly for the work and nothing else, he would write under a pseudonym, which would not only preserve that pure space of making but free him from the distractions of trying to forge a name for himself in the world. No, all ambition has the reek of disease about it, the relentless smell of the self—except for that terrible, blissful feeling at the heart of creation itself, when all thought of your name is obliterated and all you want is the poem, to be the means wherein something of reality, perhaps even something of eternity, realizes itself."Christian Wiman • Image Journal

"The years have passed and I cannot help it. There is mourning for the time that was lost, for the things that have happened and will not happen again. It’s a death. If you gave me a time extension, I would have very nice things to tell you." Kiki Dimoula • The National Herald

"One evening, instead of coming inside when called, I climbed the fig tree, wearing only a tee shirt and underpants. It seemed like a game, to be up in the tree, and my parents not able to find me, calling my name as they wandered the yard. And then somehow, I fell, and then suddenly stopped falling: my underwear had caught on a branch, saving me from hitting the ground, but holding me in midair, unable to get down. The way I remember it, my mother told my father to get a ladder." Carl Phillips • Emergence Magazine

"After the death of R. F. Langley, Prynne once talked to me about the presence of song within the course of a life. He asked a surprising question: Where do all the songs a person knows and carries go when that person dies? The answer might come readily to the materialist. But since those songs and tunes never wholly belong to the human organism, it’s worth considering that they are released back into the still vibrating world, transformed into some other substance." Luke Roberts The Chicago Review (scroll down)
"There’s something to that experimental mode, where the “I” is almost discouraged, and you don’t have to dig in and face your vulnerabilities. It’s also very gendered, so masculine. Any vulnerability is considered weak." Cathy Park Hong • Bomb Magazine

"I am reading The Alexiad (in E.R.A. Sewter’s translation). Anna Komnene is the most human of historians. That is, when she allows her necessary guard to fall, the human rushes in." Evan Jones • The Carcanet Blog

"Arthur’s project, I would suggest, is to push the world of the poem and the world of the reader into a recognition of the kind of truth of which poetry is particularly capable. This is a truth which can be very uncomfortable but also sustaining." Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"Brathwaite’s concentration on the African elements of Caribbean poetry and history differentiated him from other major Caribbean writers such as VS Naipaul, who focused on Indians who had been transplanted to the New World, and Derek Walcott, who claimed English literature (including the iambic pentameter) as equally part of his heritage." Lyn Innes Guardian
"But wait! This is a passage about someone trying to find a highly crafted, intellectual solution to an essentially emotional problem. And don’t we all know the dread, desperate feeling: you’re losing someone, and wishing there was something – anything – you could do to avoid the loss? And trying to logic up a solution to your hurt, and knowing you’ll fail?" Joey Connolly • Poetry London

"Lisa Gorton’s new collection Empirical translates the notion of charismatic megafauna, which may be seen alongside more lyrical creatures at the Melbourne Zoo in Royal Park (the Park gives the book the title of one of its poems), into that of charismatic megapoems." Michael Farrell • Sydney Review of Books

"One of his friends from his Istanbul years sent me a number of the poems he read at the poetry group with which he associated there. It consisted of young, established and striving writers, and visiting writers were welcome. This poem, his ‘All-purpose Elegy’, can stand as a wry selfie by the man who never mastered the camera phone, and as a taster for the poems that will follow in this and other journals, and in the Collected." Michael Schmidt on John Ash PN Review
"You can, if you try, read [Samuel] Menashe as a poet of careful, distant, loyal companionship." Stephanie Burt • Commonweal

"Our age lacks literary coherence and nowhere is this more apparent than in translation." Michael Schmidt • Literary Review

"WH Auden may not have foreseen this report’s particular use of statistics when he wrote his commencement address for graduating Harvard students, Under Which Lyre, a poem which poked fun at quantity-measuring approaches to art, and life: “Thou shalt not sit / With statisticians nor commit / A social science”." Martin Doyle The Irish Times
"Among the criteria for dating photos: a man wearing a fez indicates it is probably before 1913, when Ottoman Ioannina was incorporated into the nation of Greece; women showing a flash of ankle in the street mean it is probably before the First World War. The presence of the minaret of the Bairakli Mosque proves a terminus ante quem: the building’s roof was blown off in November 1912." A.E. Stallings • TLS

"The poems I selected are not about cultural or ethnic personal identity; they consider social conditions created by the settler-colonial state and how such conditions may impinge on identity, or attempt to erase identity. As I started to think about the effects of resistance poems, I also began to question the frequently drawn distinction between, on the one hand, poems of private consideration (such as those communing with nature, an object of romantic love, or other loci of meaning English language readers often associate with the English Romantics or the American Transcendentalists), and poems of public concern in which political agency and resistance are the subjects, akin to Kei Miller’s ‘something larger’. The anthology represents the return to concerns with collective identity at a time when concerns of personal identity seem to dominate as a mode for poetry published today, particularly in the United States." Nyla Matuk PN Review
"These “letter poems”—which often alter Hardwick’s words, and sometimes attribute whole quotations from others to her—puncture the fantasy of the new life otherwise indulged in The Dolphin, in ways so devastating to Lowell and Caroline Blackwood that they constitute a raid on the entire project of the book." Dan Chiasson • Yale Review

"The bland, uninflected nature of [Morgan] Parker’s writing here is part of the devastating critique of White liberalism. Had the writing been less measured the point would have been lost. Parker’s writing is couched a kind of politeness which, in itself, ironises the statement." Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"Cows – denigrated symbols of motherhood – are the most endearing of Hill’s signature animals. Refigured and transfigured throughout her collections – here they are made of roses or rubies – they never become tired perhaps because the urgency never goes away: we need to really see them in the same way as we need to see her oddball narrators who are so clear-sighted even if they might toss a “big head like a caber” or “swing the sweetcorn by its hair”." Martina Evans The Poetry Review
"I’m drawn to the seriousness and relentlessness of Bidart’s work—the sense that he is using the best tools he has, and inventing new tools, to ask the most important and difficult questions he can of life and of himself. To read him is to experience someone writing utterly without defense, with a kind of lacerating honesty." Garth Greenwell • The Atlantic

"Riley remark[s] on how the “tension between exposure and the wish not to be seen at all” is “held especially sharply” by the lyric poem." Maria Johnston The Poetry Review
"The two poets, with a history of a ten-year friendship, were at each other’s throats, discussing recent Polish history and, particularly, the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. The Uprising, to Herbert, was the moment of national heroism. To Miłosz – an example of political idiocy. When on the warm summer night in Berkeley the two poets got heavily drunk, Miłosz provocatively said that for a nation so deprived of sense, it would be better to be under the Soviet rule. Herbert reacted, in the most unparliamentary language, by accusing Miłosz of cowardice during the war and of conformism under Stalinism (Miłosz, for a while, worked a diplomat in Stalinist Poland)." Jerzy Jarniewicz Arete
"Scottish poet Roddy Lumsden, who has died at the age of 53, had a profound influence on the course of British poetry." A.B. Jackson • The Scotsman

"For these poets, “lineage” is not an abstract concept. As Szymaszek says in a 2018 interview with Cutbank, her affiliation with the Poetry Project made her “part of a lineage” of “active poets” who are “interested in the history of poetry, and what needs to be passed on.” As hallowed poetic ground rich with history that continues to host and support young poets, the Project is at the heart of this lineage-building. “I don’t really describe my own lineage in a particular way,” Szymaszek says, “though I will say I worship at the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church.”" Nick Sturm The Georgia Review
"In his early poems, one hears the echoes of Yeats, and a search for an archetypal medium for a sort of dark pastoral. Here, [John] Montague (in his own words) “felt their shadows pass // Into that dark permanence of ancient forms”." Sean Hewitt Irish Times
"Here, the redactions, the gaps within lines, the slashes, the lyrical essays and the syntactical disruptions feel like assurances of the author’s up-to-dateness. Are these devices signals, or are they deployed with authenticity and skill?" Kathryn Maris TLS
"[T]his is not merely highbrow fan fiction for Odyssey enthusiasts." Declan Ryan on Alice Oswald TLS
"MacGreevy’s Poems, Beckett’s Echo’s Bones and Other Precipitates and Devlin’s Intercessions – expressed a kind of militant syntactical anger in defiance of the more traditional airs and graces of leading poets such as FR Higgins; the same in relation to art and artists. But it would be a misreading to think that these men and women constituted a self-conscious “group” as MacGreevy more than anything else shows, his commitment to Ireland and Irish art as a national concept was as a passionate European." Gerald Dawe Irish Times
"The fallout is captured in real time in the hundreds of letters that follow—Hardwick’s bitter discovery and recrimination, Lowell’s self-serving evasiveness, their separation and divorce, the unexpected period of creative output that followed, the incredible damage wrought by The Dolphin, and their eventual unlikely reconciliation." Dustin Illingworth • The Nation

"Over more than three decades and thirteen books of poems, Carl Phillips has been conducting an inquiry into intimacy, especially sexual intimacy, that is as daring, as wild, and as reverent—as unflinching—as the inquiry I read in Haring’s mural." Garth Greenwell • Sewanee Review

"Of course, the lyric poet in the twentieth century lives with the legacy of objectivism and modernism. But [Amanda] Berenguer’s determined gaze creates portraits of considerable depth and beauty. And she creates a seemingly effortless combination of space and intimacy." Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"Just occasionally, one discovers a new poet who is indisputably in the first rank, a poet who seems, almost effortlessly, to be able to move and challenge the reader. Dario Jaramillo is such a poet and one who has been lucky to find a translator as self-effacing and skilful as Stephen Gwyn, whose versions are rhythmically adroit, musical, and true to the text and the spirit of their originals." David Cooke The Manchester Review
"There’s a message in this poem, I guess, but it’s not transformative. The likes take us nowhere, and nothing can ever change again for Eric Garner—he can go nowhere now. What we see at the end is just a man who (unlike us) is no longer breathing. The poem’s flat language is an act of trust, and what makes this an idealistic poem. Instead of trusting metaphoric leaps or originality or any sort of verbal sparks, it trusts flat, banal, utterly normal language. Maybe that makes it seem possible that banal, flat, normal humans can do better than we have been doing." Daisy Fried Plume
"Somewhere, right now, someone will be preparing to attack those sentences. There have always been gangs in poetry – groups or movements formed in the interests of self-protection or self-promotion. But in our febrile, fissile times, poets have shown themselves only too ready to turn on their own in ways that show a dangerous contempt for what poetry is – for the imaginative and rhetorical and aesthetic practices that are its life, and that ought to be sacrosanct, at least among practitioners. (It’s not as if defending them is a priority for anyone else.) No one has put this more forcefully than Michael Hofmann, in his recent TLS review of Les Murray, where he decried a moment “when poetry is seen most readily – almost pre-emptively – as a dangerous form of trespass or encroachment (‘How does this demean me? Where is the diss in it?’)” and concluded, “Unless and until poetry gets free of this base and neurotic form of invigilation, it won’t be – and there won’t be – poetry”." Alan Jenkins TLS
" It takes time to achieve even a basic competence in any language and few will have the leisure to gain a reading knowledge of the languages of Gilgamesh. Increasingly though, anglophone readers only ever gain access to foreign literature through the lens of their own global language. Consequently, it is all too easy for them to fall into the trap of thinking that what they read in their own language is somehow entirely synonymous with the original. Latin and Greek disappeared long ago from most schools and even the major European languages are under threat in our universities. ‘Virgil’ in English is not the same as Publius Vergilius Maro in Latin. The same could be said about such widely read poets as Baudelaire, Rimbaud or Rilke." David Cooke The Manchester Review
"Recognizing the logistical unfeasibility of making literature accessible through economic development, UNESCO has essentially recategorized literature as a legacy activity of aging elites — a “residual rather than an emergent practice.” Way harsh, right? Put simply, what UNESCO learned through all its hard work is that literature requires surplus leisure time, publishing infrastructure, enforceable copyright policing, and accessible educational institutions in order for the market of symbolic goods to also function as a market that pays livable wages. In the absence of these very expensive networks, the dominant character of world literature — whatever its content might become — can only remain of equal concern to both the rich and the poor insofar as it continues to mark a defining line between them." Chris Findeisen LARB
"Still Life (Gallery), the book he finished before his death this October, was another departure. The poems take their cue from paintings – by Poussin, Angela Hackett, Gerard Dillon and Yves Klein – which he describes lovingly, before they become occasions for speculation and memory: where did he first see the paintings, and with who? What has brought them to mind now, as he makes his mundane way around the house or to the hospital for check-ups? Slowly, in long, long lines, each image, each poem, opens up like a Japanese paper flower in water." John McAuliffe and Martina Evans Irish Times
"Kaur has used her own tools—her phone, her body and face (it doesn’t hurt that Kaur is strikingly beautiful), her sketches—to dismantle the master’s house: Many American readers consider a young woman of color our most prominent poet. Even if I think they’re wrong, it’s hard not to be thrilled by this fact." Rumaan Alam • New Republic

"If I can claim a footnote in literary history it may be that I cajoled Ciaran into writing prose books." Neil Belton Irish Times
"I admire Lerner’s analysis, but I would like to start rather lower down on the intellectual scale. If we want to think about how poetry in general is regarded by a wide public, we might start by asking, how do we recognise a poem?" Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin Irish Times
"If ‘Madoc’ were a novel, I wouldn’t persevere with it. But, as I have said, Muldoon doesn’t set problems. It is more that the poem is too full of solutions: no body, no motive, but stacks of clues – what to do with all the recurring figures, the CRO-riddle, Bucephalus the (s)talking horse, the white (shaggy?) dog, the valise that survives into the SF future, the polygraph. Any one of them might lead to the heart of the matter." Michael Hofmann LRB (1990)
"You don’t have to give up the people you already love—as Frozen 2 rightly says—to leave home and find more. You don’t have to lose yourself, your community, or your existing family, in order to figure out who you are." Stephanie Burt • Pangyrus

"The life of the poet is always a summons to try to set down some truth that was once true and will go on being true. No poet should have to worry about the public respect or the lack of it in which this art is held." Eavan Boland Poetry Ireland Review
"“They were arranged, hectored, and re-arranged,” Bishop wrote. “Miss Moore’s hat was considered too big: she refused to remove it.” (“I wish I had worn a minimal hat like yours,” she told Bishop on their taxi ride to Brooklyn later that evening.)" Erwin R. Tiongson • Slate

"Any poet’s career is likely to involve the discovery (willed or not) of new themes, but the old ones tend to hang on, never finally dealt with.
This is partly the consequence of the poetic culture. We inherit too much in literary terms, and it is too various, bears the signs of much handling before our fingers get near it. I don’t expect the engineer finds herself downstairs at three in the morning trying to re-draw her diagrams which looked quite satisfactory at three in the afternoon. For the poet, the shifting about of allusion and reminiscence seems never to finish, and the places one has visited in the past can suddenly reappear with all their allure but from a new perspective." Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin DRB
"Many of the poets mentioned here have yet to release a full collection, Hewitt included; others, such as Ostashevsky, Naffis-Sahely and Stern Zisquit, already have more established reputations. The Michael Marks Awards have played a central role in the increased popularity and prestige of the poetry pamphlet in recent years: today it is taken up as often by titan as by tyro." Camille Ralphs TLS
"Clearly, this is not a dry-as-dust exegesis or a bare-bones student’s guide. Schmidt looks at the text as living literature and his enthusiasm is infectious, suggesting that the reader may discover here archetypes anticipating Kerouac’s On the Road, the various descents to hell of Homer, Virgil and Dante, the flood in Genesis, perhaps even Ballard’s Drowned World, and the story of David and Jonathan in the Book of Samuel. Fascinating, too, is the way in which Schmidt explores the fragmentary nature of the poem and the friable material upon which it was written." David Cooke The Manchester Review
"In The Mother House (Gallery, €11.95), Ní Chuilleanáin’s established preoccupations – allegorical journeys, the ghosts of the past, religious life – are copiously on show, but with a newly sharpened elegiac edge." Aingeal Clare Guardian
"A privileged, restless young woman, [Elizabeth Smart] sailed across the Atlantic at least twenty-two times, haunting London bookshops. That was where, in 1937, she first came upon the poetry of George Barker, then the wunderkind protege of T. S. Eliot. Upon reading Barker poems like “Daedalus” (“The moist palm of my hand like handled fear / Like fear cramping my hand”), she experienced a mental orgasm of sorts, later summing up her reaction as, “It is the complete juicy sound that runs bubbles over, that intoxicates til I can hardly follow . . . OO the a—a—a—!” She determined to marry him." Dale Hrabi • The Walrus

"But [Robert] Lowell never returned the letters or showed copies to her. For a long time, it seemed they were lost. [Elizabeth] Hardwick, who died in 2007, supposed that Blackwood had destroyed them after Lowell’s death in 1977. In fact, Blackwood had saved them. In 1978 she gathered 102 letters from Hardwick to Lowell and sent them to Frank Bidart, Lowell’s literary executor. Acting on what he believed to be Lowell’s wishes, Bidart held the letters for ten years before depositing them at Harvard with instructions that they were to “be kept here at Houghton Library until the death of Elizabeth Hardwick.” Having been made public in The Dolphin without her permission, Hardwick’s letters would be preserved without her knowledge, and at Harvard to boot." Langdom Hammer NYRB
"Creasy’s inclusion of Morley and Richards in Black Mountain Poems addresses the gender bias of Allen’s canon-making anthology. There were women writing poetry at Black Mountain, as Creasy’s volume makes slightly clearer. The selections (three poems by Morley and six by Richards) obscure as much as they reveal about these women’s creative lives, however." Lynne Feeley The Nation
"A moral, not a moralizing writer, she practices humanism in a world where poets tend to value myth and the arcana at the expense of the empirical and human. Her metonomies are not literary gestures, her images are literal and laden. She is direct with a passionate voice she found out through reading and translating Marina Tsvetaeva. Tsvetaeva ‘enabled me to write without embarrassment. Because she doesn’t feel embarrassed about sounding undignified’. This was a further step away from English irony towards candour. She shared her discoveries with three generations of writers. Without her, writing, especially by women, would sound different in diction, measure and tone." Michael Schmidt on Elaine Feinstein PN Review
"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

"The title poem of Muldoon’s new book Frolic and Detour (Faber, £14.99) is just such an indexical poem, crowded with proper names but threading its quest, to buy a “Hifashion chainsaw” (really!), with references to The Troggs, the wren (aka, the genus Troglodytes), the spirit of a Native American chief Tamanend, the Greek poet Stesichorus, Peter Pan, and Jane or Jenny Wren (who is “credited with playing Tinker Bell in the first West End / production of Peter Pan”.). The poem is a card trick, a feat of prestidigitation as it flips through one picture after another, so entertainingly that we almost forget that we want to “find the lady” in all this profusion." John McAuliffe Irish Times "Paul Muldoon brings centuries of knowledge to anything his eye settles on. How else to deal with “A world that now makes sense/ only in our rear-view mirror”? You may have to brush up on alchemy, Apache chieftains and the Easter Rising." Tristram Fane Saunders Telegraph
"Writing in the drb about how the fantasy landscapes of the seventeenth century, “make great play with light and shade, with hills and valleys”, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin observes how such scenes manage to say “not only look here, and look there, but perhaps even more insistently look at time, how it breaks up”. Time is constantly pressing on us throughout Sexton’s elegiac fantasia as the poems vary in length but remain constant at the level of line duration; each line is made up of sixteen syllables (to correspond with the Super Nintendo as a 16-bit console). Sexton’s achievement across this multi-dimensional elegy is to control and give animated shape to so much thought and experience in language that seems fresh, new and vital and brings the reader to life and on an immersive journey of descent and return." Maria Johnstone DRB
" The works in contention for the three categories – best collection, best first collection and best single poem – address the world head-on." The Guardian on Parwana Fayyaz, Stephen Sexton and Fiona Benson, and the shortlist
"Should we be surprised about a link between the highest levels of our political world and our most acclaimed poetry?" Alissa Quart NYT
"Harold Bloom and Anthony Burgess always enjoyed each other’s company. After Burgess’s death in 1993, Bloom corresponded with Liana Burgess, and he was very supportive of her idea to create an educational charity in memory of her late husband." Will Carr IABF
"For Coleridge and for O’Neill writing is a way of grappling with life and its ‘“restlessness”, its “fragmentary nature” and “connection’ / to “Wholeness”, that elusive grail.’ It is that sense of wanting to celebrate life and living that makes this final valedictory volume so good and so strong." Ian Pople on Michael O'Neill The Manchester Review
"Jana Prikryl’s No Matter—her second book, following The After Party (2016)—owes much of its strength to her life in New York City, a life that, as she tells it, resembles many others but feels distinctly hers." Stephanie Burt • Harper's

"I didn’t know then just how conductive a lightning rod this Harold Bloom was." Jason Guriel • Slate

"Solie’s poetry is also a form of resistance by just being so very pleasurable to read." GE Stevens Review 31
"As with her own poems, the keynote to Hacker’s translations is, clearly, a deep empathy with the poet she is translating. Such an empathy in translation ought to be obvious, but with Hacker, it inspires that warm elegance. A number of the translations are of Arab writers writing out of ‘resistance’." Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"Time wound its way into the Muldoon’s poems like a horse side-stepping its handler." Georgia Hase The Manchester Review
"The poet and scholar Michael Schmidt has just published a wonderful book, “Gilgamesh: The Life of a Poem” (Princeton), which is a kind of journey through the work, an account of its origins and discovery, of the fragmentary state of the text, and of the many scholars and translators who have grappled with its meaning." Joan Acocella • New Yorker

New poems

Patrick Cotter Blackbox Manifold

Maurice Riordan Irish Times

Mark Anthony Cayanan Kritika Kultura (scroll down)

G.C. Waldrep Blackbox Manifold

Aria Aber Yale Review

Gabriella Attems The Scores

Callie Gardner The Scores

Vahni Capildeo PN Review

Don Mee Choi Granta

Nyla Matuk The Walrus

Noel Monahan Irish Times

Tom French The Manchester Review

Finuala Dowling The Manchester Review

Evan Jones The Walrus

Tenille Campbell The Walrus

Kiki Dimoula Poetry International

Dana Levin The Adroit Journal

Alice Miller The Poetry Review

James Pollock The Walrus

Jay G. Ying Granta

Rosalie Moffett New England Review

Joe Carrick-Varty New Statesman

Daisy Fried Poetry

Roxanna Bennett Plenitude Magazine

Kim Moore Wild Court

Eugene Ostashevsky PN Review

Ken Babstock Brick

Victoria Kennefick The Poetry Review

Aurielle Marie TriQuarterly

Alan Shapiro At Length

Ian Seed Queen Mob's Teahouse

NJ Stallard The White Review

Amit Majmudar Massachusetts Review

Emily Grosholz The Hudson Review

Kathleen Jamie New Statesman

Reuben Jackson Boston Review

Emily Berry Poetry

James Kimbrell The American Journal of Poetry

Maryam Hessavi bathmagg

Charles Simic Threepenny Review

Christian Wiman New Yorker

Evan Jones bath magg

Louise Gluck Threepenny Review

Cynthia Dewi Oka Scoundrel Time

Xi Chuan, tr Lucas Klein The Manchester Review

Ken Babstock Granta

Jana Prikryl Subtropics

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

Parwana Fayyaz PN Review / Forward

Matthew Welton The Manchester Review

Finuala Dowling 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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