The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
"Autonomy, for [Josué Guébo], is a state of mind that begins with repossessing one’s powers of articulation; first, through mimesis. It culminates in the decision to fight for ever-expanding political freedoms." Virginia Konchan • Boston Review
"There's a great interview with Claudia Rankine on KCRW's Bookworm where she insists on calling herself a 'poet' even though her book Citizen was nominated for awards in criticism and poetry. So sometimes what a writer calls themselves may have baring on how their work is marketed. I would call Citizen a hybrid book because of how it plays with interview, observation, anecdote, and found footage. It actually might be apt to call it collage. Because there are a multiplicity of approaches to the work in terms of modes of discourse, I would call that a book with hybrid forms." Oliver de la Paz • Ghost Proposal
"For some poets, the second book is a natural extension of the first, thematically and formally. In other instances, a second book can represent a radical departure. It can help writers feel they have a 'career,' a future, a life as a poet beyond the one-hit wonder of the inaugural book. Whether much anticipated or overlooked by readers and reviewers, second books move beyond the crucible of the first book. They signal movement." Lisa Russ Spaar • Los Angeles Review of Books
"LANGUAGE poets uncovered some really beneficial weapons to use. The problem is, I think they were more interested in sharpening them than using them, as you hint. To me, their work often becomes esoteric at best and, at worst, grotesquely incestual. I’m thinking specifically of a reading a former LANGUAGE poet extraordinaire gave in Athens last year, in which they read 'white dialect poems.' I was embarrassed to be in the room. It was a perfect example of what I find frustrating at the core of a lot of LANGUAGE poetics and their conceptualist counterparts: a game that turns into self-aggrandizement for the sake of empowering an already too-prolific voice, usually in the name of 'irony.'" Jake Syersak in conversation with James Eidson • Ghost Proposal


"I wonder how much Smith dwells on how they’ve been received, whether by the black boys and queer communities they speak to and for or by the nation they call out in 'dear white america'–a 2014 recording of that poem, produced by the Minneapolis-based performance-poetry organization Button Poetry, is Smith’s most watched performance, with over three hundred thousand views. In the United Kingdom, for instance, Smith has been framed, alternatively, as instructively representative or startlingly exceptional, as a symptom of the United States’ 'insatiable gun battle with itself' or a 'YouTube star.' Incessantly, tiresomely, readers in both countries have pitted performance poetry (where Smith got their start) against page-bound poetry (where they’re currently thriving). There are, to be sure, plenty of actual differences between performance and the page—plenty to say about technique and embodiment, about demographics and cultural recognition (you are not reading the Yale Review of YouTube Videos)–but all too often those differences are elided in favor of coded evaluations about class, race, gender, and sexuality, or of supposedly self-evident judgments about what could (or could never) deserve to be termed 'poetic,' 'artistic,' 'intellectual.'" Christopher Spaide • Yale Review
"It should be awarded to a poet of true recognition, a poet admired by both their fellow poets and by the public, a poet who is both expert and enthusiast, and a poet who is an accomplished practitioner of the art as well as its champion and ambassador." Simon Armitage Guardian
"I hope that the endings of my poems will act as a refresh button, sending the reader back into the loop. But sometimes they don’t." Montreux Rotholtz in conversation with Kallie Falandays • Entropy
"These poems avoid the kind of mushily Heideggerean ecopoetics that seeks to regain our rootedness within nature by recovering particular lost words for it. There is as much enchantment here in the technical or informative as there is in the conventionally poetic: cross-referencing when a curlew was ‘required in the books’ to migrate is just as much a part of looking for it as the actual sighting. The pleasure that comes with our failed naming of the beasts reaches its zenith in our pets, the animals we know we can’t name into loving us." Jack Belloli Review31
"Poetry has changed a great deal in the 10 years of her tenure: “We have Instagram poets, performance poetry has exploded, there’s much more diversity.”" Lisa Allardice profiles Carol Ann Duffy Guardian
"The increasing note of desperation might have been triggered by the fact that Beuscher hardly ever replied. This was something that Sylvia seems to have feared from the start, and explains why she repeatedly proposes “paid-letter sessions” in three letters from July. On September 4, she writes: 'I’d be awfully grateful just to have a postcard from you saying you think any paid letter sessions between us are impractical or unhelpful or whatever . . . . It is the feeling of writing into a void that never answers, or may at any moment answer, that is difficult.' In total, Sylvia sent fourteen letters and seems to have received only two. But the editors do not make the pattern of correspondence easy to reconstruct." Hannah Sullivan • TLS "Plath’s letters to Beuscher, whom she stiffly addresses as 'Dr.' throughout, sometimes assume the tone of a psychiatric appointment, where candor and speculation, fact and hunch, are twinned. But their transparency is arresting; these are the only letters in the book where Plath sets aside the kaleidoscopic genius of her style in favor of the plainest possible account. And it is fully consistent with what has long been suspected about Hughes and Plath’s relationship that he might have assaulted her." Dan Chiasson • New Yorker
"Indeed, what is often striking about Adrienne Rich’s concept of 'transformative writing,' to borrow Claudia Rankine’s formulation, is its Whitmanian inclusiveness, as well as its use of rhetorical strategies derived from one of her earliest enthusiasms, Wallace Stevens. 'Not Ideas About the Thing But the Thing Itself' runs a typical Stevens title, and crucial to Rich’s redemptive vision of poetry is the act of clearing away the mythical accretions, the inherited narratives, that prevent analysis and understanding and liberation." Mark Ford • NYRB
"It is one of the collection’s many virtues that it doesn’t allow us the redemptive enjoyment of knowing that this person escapes at all, even though the pacing and the narrative voice imply that he is speaking, at some level, from the other side of exile – the safer side, if not necessarily the happier side." Dai George on Nick Makoha The White Review
"What if, on the other hand, Tony Hoagland’s speaker were a clownishly reactionary bigot spewing racial slurs, someone clearly not the poet. How easy it would be to put that character where he belonged: not me. Nothing to do with me. No, this poem is about a much more prevalent, more insidious sort of racism—white, liberal, emotional, infrastructural—mostly hidden—racism." Daisy Fried Poetry
"In poetry—and elsewhere—epiphanies have gone out of style. Make no mistake, though, we read looking for the same catharsis, the same edifying sense of being connected to something beyond ourselves we’ve always wanted—and literature still offers that experience, however carefully disguised." Tom Andes • Sink
"Both walking through a city and reading a poem are ways to thoughtfully and pleasingly disrupt the flow of time and possibly to intensify or concentrate your experience. Both constitute occasions to ignore or even disrupt the prevailing fantasies—predicated on speed—of global capitalism: efficiency, profit maximization, and productivity. A poem is by design inefficient; it’s not a set of instructions or a memo or a text. A walk is almost never the fastest way to get somewhere. But both walks and poems can afford a more textured and deep experience of space and time." Kathleen Rooney • Poetry
"I was waiting for Baby, I Don’t Care with heightened senses. Can she top Poemland. Is she gonna do something completely different. How old is she these days. And so on. The answers to those questions turned out to be no; no; and forty-eight." Anthony Madrid • Rhino
"Like Claudia Rankine’s Citizen or Denise Riley’s Say Something Back, this is a book that feels as if it redefines the ways in which the lyric is currently conceived." Paul Batchelor New Statesman
"But can I just say this Ilya, I saw you read at Calabash in Jamaica a few years ago and you had Valzhyna Mort read your incredible poems after you read them yourself because you weren’t sure your voice would travel to us. Then I saw you read in Newcastle this year and you had printed your poems so we could all follow you. You moved me to tears, partly because it reminded me of how we’ve had to put in extra work to develop our deaf poetics, it has to be alive for us in a physical space as well as on the page." Raymond Antrobus Poetry International
"What some enlightened people attempt, from the Vanguardia to the present day, is to achieve a state of poetry in which all arts reintegrate once more. That is to say, if from one perspective we’ re talking about evolution, from another perspective we have to talk about accumulation. Stated in paradoxical form, we can affirm that in poetry and in the arts containing poetry, there is progress, and there’s no progress." Mayra López, trans. Kristin Dykstra • Chicago Review (scroll down)
"During last February’s New York Fashion Week, the designer Tracy Reese had models strut to poetry readings on the catwalk. Even the insurance firm Nationwide is getting in on the trend; it recently released a series of commercials in which poets wax on about the miracle of a mortgage." Faith Hill and Karen Yuan The Atlantic
"is poems were best appreciated when read aloud, allowing all those internal rhymes and well-paced rhythms to be heard. In a hotel room in Prague, I read Dialann Bóthar to my companion from start to finish, insisting he appreciate the artistry of the sounds." Ailbhe Ni Ghearbhuigh on Liam O Muirthile Irish Times
"But, for most of Western history, men cried incessantly, and mostly for themselves. In one of the first written accounts of a man crying, in the Odyssey, Odysseus is drunk, and a singer, Demodocus, is taking requests. Odysseus wants to hear the one about Odysseus—of his own adventures in the Trojan War, desperately wending his way home. Listening to someone sing of his embattled sorrows, he begins to cry. “Great Odysseus melted into tears,” Homer writes. Nothing made the man cry quite like himself. And when he finally returned home, years later, in disguise, his nurse recognized him by his weeping. His cry face was his truest self." Michael Lista • New Yorker

"I have seen few photographs of the poet Jack Spicer, and none as compelling as Jonathan’ s. Spicer stands on a huge log at the bottom of a towering log pile somewhere in Mendocino County, California, in 1954. I think of him snarling on a bar stool, keeping his crew in line at the Place or some other North Beach bar. Spicer is taller in this photograph than he is in my mind’ s eye, and he has a dour expression. Perhaps he feels as out of place as he looks. Every time I look at this photograph I come away with the odd sensation that I’ m missing something, that Spicer has eluded my gaze." William Corbett Chicago Review
"Because of this strong rootedness in narrative and in autobiography, Levine has often been unfashionable among critics and writers with more “experimental ” sensibilities. Yet his writing, as Hirsch describes it, is “a fundamentally human-centered poetry, ” and, much more than an easily epiphanic narrative poet, Levine is a careful witness to a wide range of human experience, as evidenced, among other places, in this collection’ s many poems about travel in Europe and South America." Christopher Kempf Chicago Review
"Rather than simply articulating the dynamic of intimate online communication through poems that are non-complex in form and aim, post-internet poetry has the opportunity to exploit the ambivalence of cuteness. If a poem itself is tender and cute, an intimate expression of commodified subjectivity, an inadequate vehicle for politics in a marginal artform, perhaps it should also be monstrous and dangerous, looming over the streets and straining at its tethers.Within digital platforms, we are typically situated as both consumers and producers, in control and yet completely powerless: for Facebook, its users provide content for each other, whilst having their attention sold to advertisers; for Uber, its ‘partner drivers’ are able to ‘make money on [their] terms,’ whilst being managed, controlled and potentially ‘deactivated’ via the app.67 Our position is always cute; perhaps this way we retain the capacity for revenge." Lucy Burns and Charles Whalley Partisan Hotel
"Rosselli resisted the appropriation of Plath’s work by feminists, although she, like Plath, deliberately confronted gender barriers. No doubt Rosselli agreed with her fellow poet Armanda Guiducci, who wrote in Italian Women Poets (2002) that “when people speak of ‘women’s poetry’ they mean a sub-standard poetry, one that is unstructured or weak, pathetic, or sentimental. This roses and papier-maché poetry is normally compared unfavorably to ‘virile’ poetry, which we characterize as passionate, powerful, abstract, etc.”" Lisa Mullenneaux Critical Flame
"Those who are able to make a living from art will always be in a small minority. The difference between either resisting ‘professionalisation’ or identifying as a ‘professional’ poet in a more fluid sense seems to be whether we experience this as an active or passive shift, as something either structurally imposed or conscientiously adopted. Whether the reflex is to bristle or brighten at the evolving language of these debates, a clearer focus on its practical effects will help us understand the new situation it creates. Alongside questions of pay, we might come to view poetry’s occupational turn as less a threat to creative integrity than a reflection of the need to widen its opportunities." JT Welsch The Poetry Review
" The light is not dying but resurging, and even when it does begin to fade we feel it will not be raged at but accepted as a part of the natural order of things, the precursor to another Ovidian metamorphosis. The collection is wonderfully varied. There is a poem to the poet’s daughter, one on Hurricane Ophelia and one on Being a Dog; there is even a lament on the Time of Trump. All testify to the unflagging spirit of one of the very finest of Irish poets, living or dead, “still singing, still going strong”. Against the Clock gives cause for national celebration." John Banville on Derek Mahon Irish Times
"As an outsider, when you enter a prison for the very first time, what immediately assaults you is the blah architecture: nothing ornamental, the floor, ceilings, and walls painted an awful institutional gray or green, the lighting too bright or too dark." Tom Sleigh Yale Review
"Justice for Pablo Neruda, and for his readers, would be to acknowledge his sins without losing sight of his accomplishment—meaning his voice." David Mason Hudson Review
"For indigenous people in this country the English language is a kind of trade language. We are over five hundred federally recognized nations. There are over 220 living indigenous languages. This whole hemisphere is Indian country, from North to South, rich in many cultures, in many languages. English, Spanish, and French allow us to move about and communicate more globally. But it is our tribal languages that allow us to know ourselves intimately." Joy Harjo • poets.org
"While many post-conceptual poets continue the appropriation and transformation of pre-written texts that is central to conceptual poetry, there seems to be an increased emphasis in their work on performativity, the tangible impact of social media, and an eclecticism of styles ranging from employing appropriated texts to writing more freely." Hazel Smith Cordite
"Although there have been many calls for decolonization in literary studies, the issue remains: how does poetry include rather than exclude myriad traditions and, therefore, myriad voices? how does poetry build upon its foundations a new, decolonized canon?" Emilia Phillips • Ploughshares
"I’m not going to lose plausible. I won’t go into how this disagreement with my editor sorted out. Both well and not well, as it happened. No one need wonder, of course, about the origins of this dismaying “new meaning” for doughty, previously admired Mr. Plausible. Ben Jonson famously put it most memorably when he noted, “Wheresoever manners and fashion are corrupt, language is. It imitates the public riot.”" Richard Ford Threepenny Review
"When constraints bind, they also tempt escape, provoke insubordination and defiance." R.A. Villanueva in conversation with Ali Lewis • Poetry School
"He was besotted with Jackson, bored by the philosophy and history of the Literae Humaniores course, and disturbed by a humiliating personal scandal: his solicitor father was exposed as an embezzler, and the family was plunged into insolvency. Housman retreated into two things that would become his life’s focus: painstaking reconstruction of corrupted Latin texts, and his relationship with Jackson. Neither passion, though, was on the syllabus for his final examinations, which Housman duly ploughed." Will Tosh TLS
"[Muriel] Rukeyser’s work ought to be preserved precisely because she’s such an unwieldy candidate for feminist canonization. Bridging the old Left and the New, international and domestic politics, foremother and front-runner, her career poses profound challenges to the conventional schools and period divisions through which we narrate twentieth-century literary and political history." Sam Huber • Paris Review
"The quarrel in this book is between the language-loving poet for whom one phrase deliquesces into another and the more hard-bitten and judicious figure of Autocomplete, who holds language to account, who wants an ethical warrant for his aesthetic skill." John McAuliffe Irish Times
"[F]or the early [Barbara K.] Lewalski, genres exist between literature and other kinds of writing, especially Biblical and speculative, and that instead of being closed boxes, they are open channels that shuttle between fields of discourse." Roland Greene • Arcade
"[Jose F.] Lacaba would later recall that in the course of his torture, he was told: 'You’re the one who wrote that poem in that magazine.' He did not reply. 'I was flattered that a constabulary colonel was literate enough to have heard about my poem, but he was making a statement, not asking a question, so I did not bother to confirm or deny his allegation.'" Regine Cabato • CNN Philippines
"When I enter the space, it is as if I’ve entered a poem—I do not know what I’ll find, everything in it is unexpected, as it is in a poem. There are other similarities between Chaudhuri’s city and a poem: one gains no information but emerges or returns from it changed (see Chaudhuri’s definition of the poem in his essay on the Gita). What are these ‘Indian Road Signs’?" Sumana Roy • Berfrois
"All of those trails that I have walked, somehow that movement is still inherent in the work. The quality of the poems, the way they meander, the way they move, feels very much like the landscape. Whether dreamscape or landscape, it is tethered to the landscape I come from." Sherwin Bitsui • Culture Trip

"A new set of possibilities can unsettle the poetic order, as it can the social—as when a poem doesn’t look like a poem, which most often results in its not being published." Nuar Alsadir • Granta
"But on second thought I remembered some words of my poetry teacher at Stanford, the doughty rationalist and contrarian Yvor Winters. He said that it was a patriotic good for young American poets to become college teachers, if they had a gift for it. Democracy, he told us, needed a population that had learned to use and understand language as well as possible." Robert Pinsky • Boston Globe

"To wobble honestly at the edges of selfhood: it is I and not my tendentious memory that is real. I speak the words able to find the mouth. The desire to say something is sincerity enough. The poet (she because none else will) must go where speaking and not where the self leads. Otherwise we need no poets." Brandon Kreitler • Tourniquet Review

"Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned from my religious hybridity is that no faith has ever fully given me a home." Shivanee Ramlochan in conversation with Rajiv Mohabir • Jacket2
"This intractable distance, one might even say deniability, is what makes Minnis’s new work, on the face of it, so breezy and clear, so hard to place at a time when a premium is being put on the idea that poetry should be legible as the reflection of a given identity position." Barry Schwabsky Hyperallergic
"It is radical—indeed political—to hold on to your perceptions and not adjust your perspective for the comfort or recognition of a particular audience." Nuar Alsadir in conversation with Maria Isakova Bennett • Honest Ulsterman
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"‘Poetry is personal’, Stevens said in a lecture Moore recorded in a letter. Moore wrote complex poems about love, institutions such as marriage, femininity, virtue, the treatment of people and animals and the world around her, all the while embedding found voices and quotes that are unattributed and stripped of context to shift power dynamics, derailing commonly held beliefs. All while constructing the calmest of facades." Jena Schmitt PN Review
"I couldn’t think of anything much more self-destructive for a MFA candidate to do than to start churning out poems with titles such as 'I Am ‘So’ Stupid,' 'Lick My Face,' 'My Kangaroo,' 'Everything Nice Has a Crafted Satin Finish,' 'Squid Versus Ass Clown,' and 'Juan Valdez Has a Little Juan Valdez (i.e. Energy Cannon) in His Pants.' Such titles are, well, just plain bad. They evoke a suburban twelve year old’s fumbling misguided attempts to shock her parents." Brian M. Reed in conversation with Kevin Eagan • Critical Margins
"Poet, novelist and playwright Priscila Uppal has died after a long battle with synovial sarcoma, a rare disease she once called “the Kick in Your Face Cancer.” She was 43." The Toronto Star

"In the past we [Burmese] could say we didn’t know much because the military government saw to it that this wasn’t discussed and covered in media. But what’s the excuse today? People apparently know there are armed conflicts, but they don’t know what exactly is going on including the looting, the burning of villages, the raping, the arbitrary arrests, torture, and the land grabbing being carried out by the military." Maung Day • Journal of Poetics Research
"Kerridge writes that ‘[The Oval Window] cannot be read quickly and uninterruptedly, except as a beautiful but enigmatic surface, until a great deal of preparation has taken place – so much, that the idea of the eventual, uninterrupted reading turns into a mirage, always ahead.’ The rather obvious response to this kind of reading has two parts. The first suggests that, before Google, or getting hold of a lot of Prynne’s own supporting material, The Oval Window and much else of Prynne’s poetry would have ‘only’ been ‘a beautiful but enigmatic surface’. It is, surely, the sheer beauty of so much of Prynne’s writing which places it so ‘head and shoulders’ above almost any other British language-oriented poetry; and it is this beautiful surface which attracts any reader in the first place. The second part of this response is to suggest, somewhat cynically, that sourcing writing is a game which academics like to play." Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"The rhythm of reading always seems to me to be a very smooth and slow one, and much more homogeneous than the rhythm of walking. Walking is staccato. You’re constantly on the outside, constantly exteriorizing, accompanied by slight and regular jolts—not at all unpleasant, but not smooth. You’re constantly aware of the outside of your body, whereas when reading we tend to go immediately to the mind of the book, which is obviously our own minds as well." Cole Swensen in conversation with Aaron Lopatin • The Spectacle
"Language can’t be separated from the world without separating the world from itself. That’s why Lu Chi answers, even before these predictable questions are asked, by presenting his silk sentence in conjunction with another sentence, a language sentence: “In a single meter of silk, the infinite universe exists; language is a Great Flood from a small corner of the heart.” Silk, the universe, language, and the heart — he links them by creating two parallel clauses that flow into each other and unite only when they have reached far beyond our field of vision." Inger Christensen, tr Susanna Nied Poetry
"[W]e need the widest possible range of research that art can embody: witness, invention, provocation, exhortation, documentation, discovery, resistance, escape." Lisa Olstein in conversation with Natalie Diaz • Boston Review
"Every summer term, I went to talk to the documentary students before they made their film poem and left with a pile recommendations. I’d been aware of a connection between poetry and film and now it all made sense; the power of the image, how the freedom of the camera reflected poetry’s elasticity, the endless fascinating ways that film and poetry can wrap up time." Martina Evans Irish Times
"The Philippines is a logical yet invisible point of reference for unpacking the 'positive effects' of American imperialism repackaged via cultural diplomacy in the arena of institutionalized creative writing." Conchitina Cruz • Kritika Kultura
"While any type of poetry necessarily has an objectively definable form that constitutes the text’s body and border, for [Agha Shahid] Ali the borders are obvious in their rigidity and yet capacious for his artistry, as the boundaries of his exilic imaginary both restrain and free his poetry." Caleb Agnew • Arcade
"However, the poet’s trajectory was also conditioned by the sad reality of a communist country. And an eternal student he was indeed – not just on the account of his curiosity; at most times, he lived from hand to mouth. He was well over fifty and his books had been translated in the West, when he hitchhiked to Greece, because he could simply not afford a train ticket." Anna Arno Versopolis
"[F]inished and unfinished have nothing to do with this. The operable terms for the long poem are activity (praxis or poiesis—the practice or the making) and desire (drive, necessity, Middleton’s 'longing'). It’s the desire or drive to be endlessly making something 'all about everything,' inside poiesis. So will you have enough time to get this 'everything' in? The answer is, by definition, no—you won’t (no matter how old and still productive you manage to be)." Rachel Blau DuPlessis • Arcade
"[Aime] Césaire was self-consciously preoccupied with making something new in art and politics alike, but reading his poetry today (with a stronger sense of the historical specificity of his writing) provides the present with the kind of historical investigation of blackness that [Frantz] Fanon felt was unavailable. But more important, the fact that Césaire did so through the materiality of language indicates blackness’s power for a new “communicability” not rooted in an essentialized idea of race, but in new methods of critiquing the cultural machinery that essentializes. For Césaire, new words hold the promise of new worlds." David B. Hobbs • The Nation
"[C]an we quantify Poet Voice more precisely, and if so, how common is it in this sample of 100 poets?" Marit J. MacArthur, Georgia Zellou, and Lee M. Miller • Journal of Cultural Analytics
"I’m struck now, as I wasn’t when I was six or seven, by the name Google Buns. The founders of Google have a different origin story for their name, but it could be that their deep, dark secret is that they were Enid Blyton fans." Bill Manhire • The Sapling

"An attempt to chart the origins and evolution of modern poetry in Malaysia unearths complex historical processes and cultural interactions that have shaped contemporary Malaysian society. To speak of the writing of poetry in Malaysia, one must grapple with—or at least try to imagine—the essentially pluralist and polyglot nature of its people as well as the changing socio-cultural landscape, where 'the map of a thousand lives will be seen.'" Pauline Fan • Lyrikline
"The latter half of the twentieth century we saw something of a renaissance [among Greek writers, artists, and intellectuals]. But in the twenty-first century all this has dissolved because of the economic and cultural crisis and because of the domination of Germany. Germany has inflicted a second occupation, this time economic and cultural in the negative sense." Nanos Valaoritis • The Rumpus

"What I remember most of all is washing Leo Tolstoy’s ears. The year is 1989, the mornings of revolution, the year when my birth country begins to fall apart. His ears are larger than my head; I am standing on the shoulders of a boy who is standing on the shoulders of another boy." Ilya Kaminsky • New York Times

"[I]t really depends on context—where you’re performing, whose agenda, what’s the audience. We had one concert in Harare gardens in the formative years of MDC. We had this piece Chinja Napken (Change the Nappy) and the whole crowd raised their palms with the MDC symbol, you know? And at the end of the piece, I said: 'This is not about politics, it’s all about hygiene. Change your baby’s diapers when they are soiled.' And everyone says: 'Ah! Iwe mhani unofunga kuti takapusa here?' ('Do you think we are stupid?') And everyone was laughing." Chirikure Chirikure in conversation with Netsayi Chigwendere • Chimurenga Chronic
"It was chosen because someone at the University thought it was faintly inspiring and, knowing nothing about either Kipling or Biko, didn’t think about how jarring the association was. It’s public poetry as a close cousin to those inane posters with a cat hanging off a branch and the words “Hang in there!” written on them. We can only be grateful the university officials didn’t paint “there’s no problem you can’t beat” on the walls." Stephen Bush New Statesman
"The five poems by Charles Mungoshi crawl all over you like ants from the underworld. As you read his poems you have a feeling that you are working your difficult way around boulders, towards some treasure." Memory Chirere on contemporary Zimbabwean poetry • African Writing Online
"But when the publisher’s blurb on the cover of Heavy Years says that Augustus Young the prolific writer of poetry, prose and plays “worked as an epidemiologist for thirty years,” isn’t it a bit like saying Lemuel Gulliver was Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral? At any rate, “Augustus” has disappeared from the pages of Heavy Years: the narrator is nameless, so readers can no longer assume that he and the author are the same. In the gap all kinds of games become possible: the pseudonym as a literary device contributes to the reader’s almost subliminal sense of bewilderment." Marianne Mays Fortnightly Review
"[I]t matters that we have the words to describe the things we are going through. Writing has been important to me because that’s where I go to figure things out or hear what others are saying. So, for all the words that I cannot make to describe what I am going through, I go to other poets and writers to see if they have come up with the words. This helps me understand racism, sexism or the idea that spaces can be gendered. People who are whites have never needed to protect themselves from anything, so in trying to protect ourselves from things we need to name the experiences." Vuyelwa Maluleke in conversation with Gaamangwe Mogawi • Africa in Dialogue
"In the moving poem On Not Having Children, Nick Laird singles out words that have the distinction of not reproducing themselves in rhyme: “and there are words that lack rhymes: silver; month;/ depth; false. It makes them immune to doggerel/ but also to the ballad form”. He has an ear for what language betrays and, in the beautiful Incantation, for its fidelities." Kate Kellaway Observer
"I believe that art has intrinsic value in itself, and that the creation of art should be a necessary feature of any society. I believe, therefore, that the arts should be subsidized if they cannot sustain themselves along the typical market values of capitalist societies. The challenge was always going to be to find the funds to make this possible." Kwame Dawes in conversation with Matthew Daddona • Lit Hub
"As with so much else in this writing, the tenderness can unfold into very precise reflections on, for example, language, and this is case with Malroux. Cole comments on her translation of a phrase from Stevens, ‘In French, there exists no separate word to describe the total, essential , or particular being of a person (the individual self) other than the word for ‘me,’ the objective case of ‘I.’" Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"[S]omething now being called African poetry is not served well by being framed through an ill-defined African orality combined with an equally ill-defined U.S. hip hop tradition (there are, after all, many hip hop traditions)." Keguro Macharia • New Inquiry
"I come from what used to be a country of jungles. Please don’t mind me my forest (clichéd) metaphor: Tradition is the roots of the great tree; it is nurtured by its special situation, condition and make-up. A literature of genuine character and uniqueness will help to enrich world literature. So I think we have to keep the uniqueness all the time and help enrich each other. But of course even a tree changes and evolves, finding its place and special meaning in a changing situation. If it does not find this meaning it will become irrelevant." Muhammad Haji Salleh in conversation with Mohammad A. Quayum • Postcolonial Text
"The writers I admire most are involved in a kind of sensitive and sensual labor, rather than a self-consciously political practice. I worry sometimes that affect drops out of the conversation when we focus on the political aspects of the art. Or maybe the affect becomes flattened out into mere outrage, or melancholia." Srikanth Reddy in conversation with Lucy Ives • Triple Canopy
"John Ashbery wrote that Joan Murray is by definition a poet of 'uncollectedness', of incompleteness. It seems to me that she captures a kind of exquisite isolation–a 'distant majesty'. A 'ridiculous' letter to her friend Helen Anderson ends with, 'It is splendid that you are so unalone'." Amy Key • The Poetry Review
"I was in New York waiting on a platform and it was rush hour, and it was completely silent. People were not saying anything; they were just standing there. Looking at the ground, not doing anything and not talking to each other. If I attempt to give language to this, it is that it all felt apocalyptic. I am looking at this with a deep sense of disappointment." Ladan Osman in conversation with Gaamangwe Joy Mogami • Africa in Dialogue
"I hope that the point is made in proposing a necessary criterion for good translation of poetry: do all you can to preserve the original form." Xujun Eberlein • LARB
"As Orwellian specters cast shadows over our dialogue on federal surveillance, Bones Will Crow instructs us on how poets have deployed our own oft-reviled modern and postmodern techniques to bear the most high-stakes witness possible." Jerome Murphy • LARB
"I was honoured to have him accept me into the Writer’s Association after the publication of my book, ‘My First Coup D’Etat’.I am yet to know anyone who was not delighted after listening to one of those beautiful poetic renditions by Prof., which we are going to miss forever.Prof., like the eponymous ‘Rosimaya’, you have finished our Friday and wrecked the rest of our week." John Dramani Mahama on Atukwei Okai Ghanaweb
"For A Dictionary of the Revolution (2014–2017), Hanafi made a 'vocabulary box' with 160 words in Egyptian colloquial Arabic. Hanafi chose words that were circulating in public discourse immediately following the 2011 revolution. The box was then used to generate conversation with over two hundred people across Egypt, in Alexandria, Aswan, Cairo, Mansoura, Sinai, and Suez. Transcriptions of these conversations functioned as raw material for the artist’s assemblage of imaginary first-person voices speaking around each of the terms." Eva Heisler • Asymptote
"The effect of the arrival of the free market on magazines and journals was ambiguous. On the one hand, regional journals and special interest magazines flourished in areas such as Warmia, Masuria, Pomerania and Silesia. An ‘escape from the centre’ became a real option. In geographical and cultural terms, this meant breaking free of Warsaw. Politically, it implied a move away from socialist centralisation. Many new ventures were inspired and fuelled by ideas about so-called ‘small fatherlands’, which could be re-discovered or invented amidst the rubble of socialist notions of national unity. On the other hand, the quality of published journals varied and their outreach was often limited." Waldemar Kuligowski Eurozine
"Du Fu’s a great person to translate, but there goes eight years of your life. Finally it’s done." Stephen Owen, qtd. by Jill Radsken • Harvard Gazette


"Indeed, at the outset of The Criterion, Eliot famously took no salary, continuing to work full-time at Lloyds Bank and squeezing his editorial responsibilities into evenings, weekends and holidays. In this respect, he also represents the highly personal, non-professional style of editorship that intrudes into the private sphere, and not without cost to his health." Matthew Philpotts Eurozine
"The whole experience [of translation] has taught me a lot about the freedom that comes through constraint." Mira Rosenthal in conversation with Emily Wolahan • Two Lines
"Translating was crucial in giving me the courage to try writing in English. Exploring the space between languages has remained essential for me. I see translating and writing as two modes of the same process. The two modes inform and cross-pollinate each other." Rosmarie Waldrop in conversation with Eric M. B. Becker • Words Without Borders
"[P]oetry, even when it is not overtly political, when it prefers the universal, when it is staunchly private, if not blatantly apolitical, or when it is fiercely formally experimental to the point of illegibility, is nevertheless already a form of consciousness-raising, say, by cultivating attentiveness to language, to structures of thinking, to the idea of an other, to a self who is not our own—and these are necessary to participate meaningfully in political life." Conchitina Cruz in conversation with Ivy Alvarez • Cordite Poetry Review
"In a recent interview, Li-young Lee commented, ‘I think poetry is the mind of God. All the great poems that I love seem to me to all have that little ingredient. You feel like you’re in the presence of the mind of God.’ Such utterances tend to scare people on this side of the Atlantic; people might agree with Lee’s comments but they would be unlikely to say them. And Lee, who is much lauded on his side of the Great Pond, is not afraid to embrace the vatic." Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"Oddly enough, “I Shall Be Free” shares with [Robert Frost's] “Dedication” the distinction of never having been performed: it is one of very few songs from an officially released album which Dylan has never sung in concert." Daniel Karlin TLS
"If there can be such a person as the darling of poetry, that person is currently Elizabeth Bishop. ‘Darling’, I accept, is a somewhat patronising term, but I use it as a means of characterising the degree of fondness that has developed around her work. As a poet she is often ‘cherished’, and has achieved the billing that publicists, marketing departments and blurb writers prize above all others: she is ‘beloved’." Simon Armitage PN Review
"He sought to be both Virgil and Dante: at once an imperturbable tour guide to our age of horrors, and a pensive and troubled spiritual seeker. It’s a particular quality of tonal slipperiness that makes Lowell’s greatest poems so enthralling: just when we seem to be tiring of his rhetorical and imagistic bombast, he suddenly offers statements of disarming candor." David Wojahn Kenyon Review
"The culture at large really wants to convince young writers that the writing itself is the last thing that matters." Ange Mlinko FSG
"To respond to Logan’s essay truly on Logan’s terms requires not that I defend Vuong, nor even attack Logan. It requires that I engage with the ideas that Vuong represents to Logan, which have larger consequences for all writers of color, and implicates far more reviewers than Logan." Paisley Rekdal • Asian-American Writers' Workshop

"You start out believing that poetry is either self-expression or memoir (not to denigrate personal experience—our individual lives are of monumental importance to each of us). But gradually you end up knowing that the great texts issue from a larger, deeper, more communal body of—well, “knowledge” is a puny word to describe it. It’s a kind of transpersonal experience. And you can’t get there without a slow, laborious, time-consuming effort of reading and re-reading. It’s the re-reading that has mattered most to me—realizing that things I read in school 20 or 30 years ago are only now making sense to me." Ange Mlinko Lithub
"Here are a few of the different things that happen in the book: God takes a stroll through postwar Paris; drunken soldiers pull over a bus in Ghana; two vapid uptalking young women discuss their sexy Halloween costumes; a small-town reporter catalogues a summer’s worth of car accidents; a Japanese grandfather recreates his rural homeland in a hospital room; a teenager hears rumours about something called the internet; a young girl in Austria imagines setting up her widowed grandmother with a former Nazi." Richard Sanger • The Walrus

"If [John] O’Donnell’s is a populous literary imagination, John F Deane’s is much more a continuing dialogue between self and soul, in which the narrative voice strikes always an unabashedly high tone. Against the desiccated, hyper-ironised, and textually self-pleasuring tendency in contemporary verse, Deane’s Dear Pilgrims (Carcanet Press) comes as something of a shock. It is serious, veering towards solemn, and given to abstract gestures and apostrophes." Caitriona O'Reilly Irish Times
"In the beginning, there is polyphony, false starts, botched experiments, and mixed motives. Usually." Paul Batchelor on Geoffrey Hill Poetry


New poems

Jenny Boully Ghost Proposal

Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint Ghost Proposal

Don Bogen Yale Review

Henri Cole Yuan Yang

C Dale Young Scoundrel Time

Bill Manhire Sport

Maggie Smith Baffler

Vona Groarke Yale Review

Adam Fieled diode

Spencer Selby Otoliths

Rebecca Perry Poetry London

Jill Chan Otoliths

Leontia Flynn Irish Times

Kate Feld The Interpreter's House

Victoria Chang Kenyon Review

GC Waldrep Yale Review

Denise Riley Cumulus (scroll)

Peter Sirr Poetry Ireland Review

Maurice Riordan The Poetry Review

Stevie Howell Hudson Review

Addie Eliades One Sentence Poems

Mary Ruefle Granta

Safia Elhillo Breakwater Review

Ange Mlinko Poetry

M. NourbeSe Philip Lyrikline

Momtaza Mehri Poetry International Web

Theresa Lola Brittle Paper

R. Zamora Linmark Contrappasso

Hiwot Adilow Apiary

Aditi Machado Conjunctions

Rodney Jones Scoundrel Time

Kevin McIlvoy Scoundrel Time

Rosmarie Waldrop Conjunctions

Jenny Bornholdt Best New Zealand Poems

Aditi Machado The Spectacle

John Ash PN Review

Donna Stonecipher The Spectacle

Priscila Uppal The Compass

Robin Myers Sixth Finch

Jane Robinson Honest Ulsterman

Lori Jakiela Diagram

Sarah Byrne Irish Times

Stephen Sexton Irish Times

Ishion Hutchinson Lyrikline

Isoje Iyi-Eweka Chou African Writing Online

A.E. Stallings New Yorker

Truong Tran OmniVerse

Lo Kwa Mei-En jubilat

Nitoo Das Almost Island

Derek Mahon Gallery (pdf)

Carola Luther Fortnightly Review

Janet Kaplan Dusie

Tony Lopez Poetry

Mark Anthony Cayanan Rogue Agent

Heather McHugh Scoundrel Time

Andrea Brady Blackbox Manifold

Raymond John de Borja Kritika Kultura

Paul Muldoon Blackbox Manifold

Doireann Ni Ghriofa Poetry Ireland Review

James Galvin The Manchester Review

Paul Batchelor The Compass

Louise Gluck Threepenny Review

Dermot Healy Gallery

Justin Quinn The Manchester Review

Michael Prior The Manchester Review

D.A. Powell The Manchester Review



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