The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
"As much as I, too, love the poetry of feeling my mother tongue in my bones and blood, I would not be able to translate into it for the very fact that my literary knowledge/experience (the four decades of studying literature and writing about it) has been in English. I owe my proficiency as a literary translator to the considerable command I have obtained of a range of aesthetic and linguistic strategies by immersing myself in—and critically examining and reflectively internalizing—literary works written in English, both historical and contemporary." Aron Aji • The Millions

"One of Noel-Tod’s witnesses declares that the prose poem “is the circle we draw around our interactions with the world.” Another says it “resonates with ‘the absences that it accommodates.’” These soft-focus definitions should give us pause." Jason Guriel • The Walrus

"In other words, if flowers first came to symbolise love because of their promise of fertilisation and pollination, why do we associate the outer parts of the flowerhead – petals and sepals, corolla and calyx – with love, when it is the plant’s more hidden sexual organs that carry out its reproductive functions?" Daisy Lafarge Maljournal
I’m not criticising Whitman; as with every great poet who took an interest in politics (Pound, Yeats, Geoffrey Hill, even), the best of him wins out over the worst, and his expressions of disgust with and excoriation of pre-Lincoln officeholders like the poem, ‘To a President’, illuminate one of those famous contradictions Whitman contained within himself." Don Share PN Review
"We seem recently to have entered a phase in the cycle of literary fashion that favours self-expression over thingness. Or maybe the self has become poetry’s privileged thing. On this understanding, the poem is treated as a dispatch from an essential core of selfhood. I tend to think of poetry instead as a species of artefacture, closer to sculpture or musical composition than self-portraiture or memoir. Not that those two understandings are totally incompatible. It’s more a question of emphasis.”" Steven Toussaint • Poetry Shelf

"At moments, the way that The Octopus Museum fuses lyric poetry with approaching dystopia is reminiscent of the bleak, tech-heavy environment in Cathy Park Hong’s Engine Empire (2012), though Hong pictures a world of monitoring and VR and depression, and Shaughnessy’s is one where “since we used all the air conditioning it’s become impossible to think things through.”" Calista McRae • Harvard Review

"These are poems that arrive at locations where poetry used to be, but poetry doesn’t live there any more." Paul Batchelor New Statesman
"I’ve come to the conclusion that poetry can indeed uplift and sublimate and help us to make things good, but that it can also encourage us in false and sentimental ideas and emotions. Poetry can guide us, and it can lead us astray. And we have to acknowledge this, if we want to grant poetry its proper place in our lives. “The primary function of poetry, as of all the arts,” wrote Auden, “is to make us more aware of ourselves and the world around us. I do not know if such increased awareness makes us more moral or more efficient. I hope not. I think it makes us more human, and I am quite certain it makes us more difficult to deceive.” Auden died in 1973, most of his best work produced in the 1930s and 40s. It turns out that we need him now as much as ever." Ian Sansom Guardian
"The state of Irish poetry is not a subject to which I devote much thought, but I welcome the blossoming of women’s poetry in the North and I am still excited by the achievements and continuing creativity of the apprentice poets and friends (and their predecessors) who found poetry in Belfast in the 1960s." Frank Ormsby Irish Times
"Rarely has one poet’s aesthetic taste exercised such control over the formation of a literary canon." Michael J Sullivan Essays in Criticism
"The premiere of Scenes from Comus at the Proms in 1965 was a breakthrough for Hugh Wood. This setting of passages from John Milton’s 1634 masque is as much a symphonic poem as a cantata, a fusion of the Schoenbergian techniques that are paraded from the very start, as the solo horn unfolds a 12-note theme, with sensuously romantic textures. Half a century on, it seems a quintessentially British work." Andrew Clements Guardian
"Bei Dao turned seventy on the second of this month. Did the Chinese-American poet in Hong Kong and his friends celebrate the event? Could he — or they — have done so? Would this poet of quiet reflection and un-quiet expression have got himself to mark anything, even something as special as his seventieth birthday, in the conditions that now prevail there?" Gopalkrishna Gandhi • Telegraph India

"When I asked W.H. Auden what he would like to hear Armstrong say, he replied at first with a mischievous chuckle: “I’ve never done this before!” adding, “What else should he say? It would be a true statement.” But when I went on to ask if he would not prefer something more elevating, perhaps about world peace, he grew sober. “Well, that’s a little different,” Auden said. “We all know that the chief reason for their going there is military, so I don’t think you should ask them to say much about that!”" Edward Mendelson • NYRB

"Given poetry’s marginal (at best) status in our culture, it’s not surprising that the contemporary poetry world doesn’t acknowledge the existence of comic poetry, since it could threaten whatever remains of poetry’s reputation as a ‘serious’ art. Current poetry shows little interest in being funny: it mostly alternates between cataloguing the uninteresting ephemera of the poet’s daily life and a humourless performance of virtue, in which poets express ideas in fashion among the faction of other poets who make up essentially one hundred per cent of their audience, and in return are told how ‘radical’ they are for boldly reciting opinions that everyone in the room already agrees with. (One is reminded of Tom Lehrer’s comment on the folk scene: ‘It takes a certain amount of courage to get up in a coffee house or a college auditorium and come out in favour of the things that everyone in the audience is against, like peace and justice and brotherhood and so on.’)" Brooke Clark • The Literateur

"[Lola] Ridge was born in 1873 and grew up at the tail end of the Victorian era, with its corsets and curved-heel boots, courting chairs and fan-shaped dance cards, but she wrote and published in the first half of the twentieth century, with WWI, the Great Depression, women’s suffrage, working-class movements, union worker strikes, the Russian Revolution, gender and race discrimination, race riots and antisemitism clanging up against each other, making themselves known." Jena Schmitt • PN Review

The Page is on holidays. We will be back in September.
"If I had to say what I love best about Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith, it would be the expression on her face, as if she is just disgusted at the mess Holofernes is making. The Uffizi houses the orange Judith, where it hangs near the exit of the building – the final point at the end of hundreds of marble busts and serious men and a sea of rust red floor – a large dark cloud of female fury you must walk past on your way to the door, and sunlight." Rebecca Perry Magma
"Originally comprising 13 precocious poets with no common theme or style, the movement lacked definition but not enemies. When a young disciple was reprimanded by the school vice-rector, his definition was gleefully adopted: “I don’t know what nadaísmo is – only that it’s abomination.”" Mat Youkee Guardian
"[Callimachus] felt poets should avoid the Homeric and concentrate on brief forms. He claimed to have been visited by Apollo, who advised him to “fatten his flocks but keep his muse slender”. The younger Appollonius, on the other hand, author of the Argonautica, the only surviving epic of the age, strongly disagreed. Evidence of a bitter feud between the two has come down to us and thanks to a fragment of papyrus we know that Ptolemy II passed over Callimachus and appointed Apollonius as chief librarian. It’s unlikely to have been the first time in history when rival poets slugged it out, or when worldly ambition and artistic vision mixed in a bitter potion, but at least the shade of Callimachus can find consolation in his livelier posthumous reputation." Peter Sirr DRB
"The current show, based largely on the collection of Grolier member (and exhibition co-curator) Susan Jaffe Tane, presents a wealth of Whitmaniana: copies of every edition of Leaves of Grass published during the poet’s life; letters and manuscripts; many, many photographs (Whitman was by far the most photographed American poet of his century), including the famous frontispiece shot where he contemplates a cardboard butterfly perched on his finger; an array of Whitman-branded material (a cigar box, an Old Crow whiskey advertisement, an applesauce can, even a J. Peterman page describing their “Walt Whitman pant”); and a fascinating selection of artist’s books and multimedia presentations inspired by Whitman’s verse." Mark Scroggins Hyperallergic
"That someone else is the poet we know as Carolyn Forché—the poet who spoke for those listening ears, who gave voice to those terrorized and disappeared." James K.A. Smith • Image

"Recalling how wondrous it seemed that I identified so strongly with O’Hara’s poems, it’s this paradox I think of. The poems’ boundless interest in others is extended to the self, yet this self-interest is undercut with a suspicion of what the self thinks it knows, and is. He writes with a compassion articulated in the tension between the solitary and the social, and this is one of the reasons I look to him still." Karen Solie Magma
"I shan't lose my temper. I’ll just record briefly what a dismal astonishment it was to find Michael Hofmann in his introduction trotting out a block condemnation of the 1940s in British poetry which has been around since the 1950s, repeated again and again by a succession of poet-critics without ever a shred of analysis or any kind of option." Peter Riley • Fortnightly Review

"Tsvetaeva is obsessed with Rilke as he is dying, writing love letters in a three-way poetry orgy between her, him, and Boris Pasternak, who would later win the Nobel Prize for Doctor Zhivago. She is also in love with Boris, (in a very relatable move, she’s kind of in love with everyone, all the time), and both she and Boris idolize Rilke, or Boris idolizes her idolizing, or something, and Rilke, in turn, allows this idealization and often feeds it back, enfeebled but still reflective. It makes I Love Dick look positively restrained." Audrey Wollen • Affidavit

"I remember reading a Joseph Brodsky essay in college in which he wrote that at the heart of every poem is the desire not to give death the last word, even just in capturing a moment and holding it still until you can mine it." Tracy K Smith Observer
"“The Octopus Museum,” Brenda Shaughnessy’s fifth collection of poems, posits an apocalyptic future that looks a lot like now, an extension of our current dystopia in which food, water, housing and medical care are scarce or too expensive to access. What is it like to live in this world of “irreversible change”? It’s hotter, naturally, more peripatetic. Less obviously, “the Octopodes,” a conglomerate of semi-benevolent cephalopods, are our new non-alien overlords: “We still do not know their language. We think they think we are too stupid to learn it and we know they know they are probably right.”." Elisa Gabbert • New York Times

"I pursued connections between traditional music and poetry occasionally in my work, though this did not always go down well in England: Andrew Duncan, for example, wrote in his Handlist of Late 20th Century Poets that my “admiration for folk styles...chased out literary interest almost altogether”. Yet in the face of all charges of crudity, traditional music can be analysed with a subtlety completely absent from much contemporary poetry criticism. You could talk about Roscommon, Kerry or west Limerick bodhrán styles and aficionados would know exactly what you meant, while binary divisions as simplistic as Kilburn High Road’s have been peddled in UK poetry for decades. This is being complicated by a younger generation of poets outside the traditional camps but the reflex here is to reach for adjectives like polarised when many people don’t fit easily into boxes, or think outside them." Ian Duhig Irish Times
"There is a poem in which he says that he has a middle name in Arabic he can’t quite manage. There is a generosity in this, an invitation to step into the poem and mispronounce ourselves along with him." Ross Leckie The Fiddlehead
"Oswald will probably win the Oxford professorship – the result will be announced this afternoon – and that is a great thing. But we could have had Oswald and Riley, and Carson, and who knows how many others, all sharing a platform together – in the running, as they ought to be." Frances Leviston LRB
"That we are in the presence of a strange imagination becomes obvious from the first poem in Rachael Allen’s debut collection." Helena Fornells The Scores
"Sometimes Thorpe’s vocabulary can detain you (he is to language what a botanist is to flowers). Reading The Alarm, I had to look up gryke (fissure between blocks of limestone), vambrace (piece of armour for the forearm) and plackart (I’m still not sure what it means). It is encouragingly clear that language will not dwindle on Adam Thorpe’s watch." Kate Kellaway Observer
"[A]t her best Stallings gives Anthony Hecht and Richard Wilbur a run for their money." William Logan • New Criterion

"Of the three poets, Oswald is the best known and the most authoritative. Her statement is the most detailed and convincing in its aims. Even so, her election is hardly inevitable. She is, after all, a woman." Hal Jensen TLS
"‘Wasps in the retina’ sounded too literal in English, and probably absurd to a reader. The image of wasps isn’t meant to be read literally, here; it is understood in Albanian in the same way we say grerëza or miza-miza, if your foot or hand goes numb – you feel ‘flies-flies’ – which suggests both a rhythmic sound and a vibration. In this instance, ‘wasps in the retina’ was a metaphor for orgasm. I didn’t want this metaphor to be lost, so I translated it as ‘a buzz in the retina’, hoping this was both as fresh and suggestive as the corresponding image in Albanian. My other challenge lay with the word ‘underwear’. The English term is so banal, and alternatives like ‘lingerie’ sounded superfluous and not at all natural; they failed to capture the casual sense of the Albanian word mbathje, used in the original. So I decided to cut the word altogether." Ani Gjika and Luljeta Lleshanaku Cordite
"But what they don’t understand is that the ostentatious left-wing politics of academia is camouflage for a deeply conservative way of life. The closest analogue to the humanities as it currently functions is the Anglican Church in the nineteenth century. The Church had vicars and it had curates then, and it divided its young people into these two streams. Vicars were propertied, lived in the major centres, acceded eventually to the responsibilities of administration. The curates were poor, and worked for an annual salary, and lived in the sticks. The humanities in the United States works the same way, with tenured faculty paid six figures to think, and the contingent faculty paid a few thousand a course on a contract basis." Stephen Marche TLS
"[Ilya Kaminsky's] political acuity stretches from the Soviet experience to the recent history of his birthplace, Ukraine, and to America today. These are revealed to be the mutually inextricable threads of a single knot—the story of occupation, resistance, and complacency." Valerie Duff The Critical Flame
"[Ciaran] Carson was going against a more conventional path of poetic development, whereby a nervously formal poet loosens into a freer aesthetic (as in the trajectory of, say, Thom Gunn’s work). But Carson’s development took a more dialectical path, the restrained, well-crafted poetry of his first collection, The New Estate (1976), giving way, a decade later, to his characteristic digressive and long-lined collections The Irish For No and Belfast Confetti." Ross Moore DRB
"Goldsmith’s Deserted Village, is, as Montague notes, “one of the first statements of a great modern theme: the erosion of traditional values [“the rural virtues”] and natural rhythms in a commercial society”. One thinks today of comparing him with a versatile modern writer such as Wendell Berry (b1934) the novelist, essayist and poet whose themes might well be described as Goldsmithian, especially the key theme concerning the erosion of the moral fabric of local communities. Goldsmith identified the evils of imperial greed in the first great anti-imperialistic poem of the period of England’s greatest imperial expansion." Fergus O'Ferrall DRB
"At a recent reading in Plymouth, Allen answered questions about the process of writing Kingdomland and discussed ideas around performance, specifically the performance of femininity. But there’s also an implicit performativity in the way that she asks us to inhabit different entities in the poems – like the ‘mimic octopus’ we can be a purblind monkey, an opal gland or cucumber, though not even the mutable form of the octopus is allowed to stand. Ultimately, this creature ‘might be many things / but it cannot mimic me.’" Sarah Cave Poetry London
"The fourth and final section of this carefully organised book opens out into a kind of poetry whose direction might take Xie forward in the future. Here, the introspection of the travel poems becomes more an investigation into how one sits within one’s own life as a whole. Xie’s method here is to take the short, charged comments which have enlivened the travel poems and shore them up one against each other." Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"It was on a whim that he went to a weekend conference on Turing around the time of his centenary in 2012, and then began reading about philosophy of mind. This was a difficult time for Eaves. He had been arts editor at the TLS for 17 years, where it was a struggle to carve out imaginative space to write fiction. He left in 2011 to teach English and creative writing at the University of Warwick, but though his third novel, the family saga This Is Paradise, and a poetry collection [Sound Houses (Carcanet)] were coming out, he felt that creatively he had “nothing else in the tank at all”." Justine Jordan Guardian
"There are lyrical touches in essays such as “Rogue Thoughts in Coole Park”, in which [Rita Ann Higgins] writes: “An adjective like blissful was swanning around in my head but I never let it out for fear of shattering the stillness.” There is a sense that the lyrical cannot be indulged in until the problems of the world have been tackled first." Amanda Bell DRB
"The British reader is reminded, here, of J. H. Prynne’s writing, the exotic, technical language exactly placed, the sense of a precisely visualized scene, both present and also seen slightly out of the corner of one’s layman’s eye. [Forrest] Gander is perhaps different to Prynne in that the title of the sequence, the fact that its sections are named alternately, ‘Entrance’ and ‘Exit’, and the black and white photographs which accompany the poems, all point towards a closely particularised trajectory for the sequence." Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"if the wider tone of his oration was designed to get up the nose of those in the audience, it seems to have worked; I.A. Richards was reported as saying that it would take poetry twelve years to mend the damage that Housman had caused in an hour, an anecdote Housman was pleased to record and repeat." Simon Armitage The Poetry Review
"There are autobiographical pieces, poems of history and imagination and, in The Great Unburned, there are witches overhead: “Slow at first, over fields and fences, / over the god-fearing steeples we’ll climb, our broomsticks / tight in the grip of our shameless, fantastical thighs.” It is a poem of formidable skill (that “fantastical” perversely and satisfyingly makes the witches real) and written in the hinged form Copus invented (she dubbed it the “specular”). The second half of the poem mirrors the first, and yet the doubling back is not straightforward – the punctuation changes and you lose some italics. You never enter the same poem/ river/ flight path twice." Kate Kellaway Observer
"Today, with 28 collections to his name, Armitage is part of the national curriculum and his work deeply embedded in the British psyche – as well as carved into the Pennines, where poems appear on six “Stanza Stones” between Marsden and Ilkley. Having produced everything from a translation of the Middle English poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to a more recent poetic look at a world in meltdown, The Unaccompanied, he is one of the UK’s bestselling poets." Alison Flood Guardian
"At sixteen, waiting out a bomb scare at her high school while next to a display of dissected insects, Souvankham Thammavongsa wrote a poem called “Frogs.” She treated the poem as if it would be her last. “I didn’t want to go out without it being my choice—or at least without an argument,” she said in an interview. “I was angry.”" Anita Lahey • The Walrus

"I had been a nun for almost 20 years and was facing both my 40th birthday and a major life decision when I first encountered Bishop’s poetry in my doctoral program at George Washington University in DC." Patricia Dwyer • Lit Hub

"Murray struck against what he called the “imperial trap of exclusion”. He wrote within a tradition defined by the Scottish writers Hugh MacDiarmid and Sorley MacLean (he had a strong poetic and ancestral link to Scotland); by Robert Frost and Robinson Jeffers; by a host of poets he celebrated in essays and tributes. Only, not the Anglo-American modernists. His impatience with Ezra Pound and TS Eliot was unwobbling." Michael Schmidt Guardian
"What we now have here is the collected poetry of a singular and driven voice. A poet who travelled widely both literally and imaginatively into some of the most difficult corners of the late twentieth century world; from Wormwood Scrubs prison, to the moors of his northern England, from Amish Pennsylvania to ‘a Sarajevo bread queue’. Part of Smith’s drive is to inhabit these places as nakedly and fully as he possibly could, and to write as clearly and unsparingly as he could about that inhabiting. Sometimes, therefore, he can remind the reader of an entirely different poet, someone like Keith Douglas, a poet whose voice and writing seems of another kind to that of his contemporaries. This book shows how hugely successful Smith was as a poet, and what a resource he provides for those writing in his wake." Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"The world could come to Bunyah, New South Wales, as he went out and read his poems to an international audience. A traveller who could bring a “bat’s ultrasound” right into the room (via his poem of that name), Les had one of the most fervent and avid intellects I have encountered. Although university educated, he was a fierce autodidact, whose facility for foreign languages informed the etymological plays and departures of his poetry." John Kinsella Guardian "Les Murray, celebrated Australian writer and Carcanet poet, has passed away at the age of 80. We have published his work for well over 30 years, and he was a true friend of Carcanet." Carcanet
"He effectively sets the tone of emergency with an essay on Scott Timberg’s lament Culture Crash: The killing of the creative class. The numbers are indeed dismal. Eighty per cent of American newspaper and magazine cultural critics have been fired in the twenty-first century. This is partly what Giraldi means when he says the danger is real. The material conditions that created our inherited idea of a thriving literary culture – that is, the mid-twentieth-century idea – are vanishing." Michael LaPointe TLS
"Sometimes, when it is time for them to go out again, they don’t wish to leave. Eddie, the youngest and largest at eighteen months old, will reluctantly sit on a glove and let me take him back out to the aviary, but Charlie and Max, more than four years old, don’t like the glove. So, I point at the open door, I tell them “bedtime” and stroke their tailfeathers. This is their signal to go." Frieda Hughes TLS
"[T]he only part of the AWP conference worth attending is the part that is not the AWP conference." Jasper Bernes, Joshua Clover, and Juliana Spahr • Jacket2
"Stanley Plumly, a poet and University of Maryland professor who served as the state’s poet laureate for nine years and also published well-regarded nonfiction studies on literary and artistic subjects, died April 11 at his home in Frederick, Md. He was 79." Matt Schudel • Washington Post

"It’s as though Minnis’s newest work is accidentally political, just as her early work was accidentally feminist." Sandra Simonds Poetry
"I like to look at the words in a poem I’m translating as if they were objects: specifically, objects on display in a market stall in a foreign country." Annie Muir LAFF
"Formal poetry, narrative verse, satirical verse or light verse, dramatic verse—all these options have, with a few exceptions, largely vanished from mainstream poetry. Poems now are almost exclusively concerned with the feelings of a speaker who appears to be, at most, a slightly distanced version of the poet." Brooke Clark • The Walrus

"The business of poetry is remarkably good at devaluing the art of poetry.”" Jonathan Ebersole • Tourniquet Review

"From the intertwining anecdotes of the etymological, historical, botanical and political, [CD] Wright’s germinal thesis branches out with a bold statement that “minus the expectations, trees and humans do manifest a common gestalt.” What is it? In a typically learned and wide-ranging reference, Wright enlists Simone Weil to explain: “To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul.”" Carol Muske-Dukes NYT
"In a country prone to disaster and rife with atrocity, the Filipino poet, myself included, responds to disaster or atrocity by writing poetry about it. In some instances, the magnitude of the death toll, or the extent of the violence, can drive a poet to mobilize other poets to write more poems, to post the poems on social media to reach a wider audience, perhaps put together an anthology, perhaps donate the sales from the anthology to the victims. Such gestures seem to restate even as they conceal the division between aesthetics and politics. There is something amiss in collective action when all that comes out of it is more poetry." Conchitina Cruz • Bloomsbury
"The gorge was the secondary location for the Games. There was hunting with eagles, bone tossing, horseback archery and dog racing, contests for singing and weaving, oral narration. One event was simply called “honouring a grandmother”. The quickest way between events was to take a horse. It was easy to feel at home in this faux-medieval world. Loudspeakers hidden in wooden towers intermittently played epic movie-soundtrack music. Hungarian archers wandered about looking for a place to charge their phones. A couple of Saudi falconers sat on the ground, drinking coffee. Yaks grazed behind them. Tall Kyrgyz wolf-hunting dogs were led to their starting traps for a race. Golden eagles slept, tied to a post or resting on the back of a stationary horse. As night fell, wedding parties started up, complete with feasting and dancing. Over the five-day festival, more than twenty marriage ceremonies were held in Kyrchyn gorge." Peter Frederick Matthews TLS
"The cry instances and surpasses Eliot’s formulation in ‘Marina’ – “Living to live in a world of time beyond me” – for Seferis makes time and self into something beyond, and that beyond is, again, the marvellous real. Because the poet finally is not interested in documentation but exaltation." Ishion Hutchinson on George Seferis The Poetry Review
"Paul Klee said that ‘[a]rt does not reproduce the visible; it makes visible’. Murray may have written about ‘inlocked worlds’ and ‘inlocked hands’, of an anchorite living in an irreversible reclusory complete with a walled-up door, but she continually pushed against those boundaries and limitations, against the unknown. It is little wonder, then, that in Murray’s world the body becomes the landscape, something more substantially durable and enduring. ‘It is a bit worrying that I so rarely feel even a momentary belonging’, she confides in Auden. While Yeats talked about poetry as the thinking of the body, there is also a sense of what Emerson called ‘alienated majesty’ in Murray’s writing, suffused as it is with veils and sphinxes, hieroglyphs and symbols, seals and bones, something Delphic, distinguished, mysterious, that needs deciphering: ‘An illusion of dream veils the symbol of the symbol, / Puts its seal upon the head, a birthmark to the bone.’" Jena Schmitt on Joan Murray PN Review
"Thus, one way into Koethe’s writing is the sense that it is discursive; that it explores issues verbally. In Koethe’s case this means, to some extent, moving away from description to an exploration of, particularly, relationships, emotions, inner states. Koethe, himself, in his book of essays on poetry, Poetry at One Remove, published in 2000, comments, ‘an overly narrow view of [poetry’s] range and possibilities, one that insists on the concrete and particular and proscribes the abstract and discursive … strikes me as pernicious…’" Ian Pople Manchester Review
"What went unmentioned was the pile of seventeen steamer trunks, each bound in twine with sealed knots, lying between two basement elevators. These mysterious, unlabeled trunks were surrounded by the fog of forbidden knowledge that gathers about the surviving blocks of Plato’s Academy and the ruins of the ruins of Palmyra. At last I had the courage to ask. They contained Ezra Pound’s papers, awaiting the end of a lawsuit over ownership.”" Willian Logan • The New Criterion

"Discover, omit, place, genuine, imaginary, garden, real, toads, poetry, reading, contempt. I write these terms on the board and we turn them over in our mouths and minds. We mix and match. We play. We discover. We omit." Jacquelyn Ardam • LARB
"The pleasure in A Violent Streak is knowing [Stephanie] Warner will push the limit; just short of a game of literary chicken, she is never out of control.”" Elee Kraljii Gardiner • BCBOOKLOOK

"Lines such as ‘You are greatly disappointed in Obama’s foreign policy / You think the great American novelist in David Foster Wallace’ could have come directly from the Guy In Your MFA twitter account.”" Nell Osbourne • The Compass

"This past Super Moon Vernal Equinox, America lost one of its greatest poets. Linda Alouise Gregg was born on September 9, 1942, in Suffern, NY, with her twin sister, Louise Belinda Gregg. They subsequently grew up on the west coast in Marin County, riding horses in a camp their father ran, running with deer on hills that rolled from Forest Knolls all the way down to Point Reyes. Such paradisiacal landscapes figure prominently throughout Linda’s body of work.”" Timothy Liu • Literary Hub

"The limestone headstone bears the epitaph WB Yeats composed himself: 'Cast a cold Eye On Life, on death. Horseman, pass by!' Now, over 70 years after the burial, previously unseen colour film of the event has emerged which had lain in a box in attics and wardrobes in several different houses around the country." Eileen Magnier RTE
"When asked by a newspaper what I felt about the [UNESCO City of Literature] designation I mumbled something about not being sure what it meant but that if it resulted in practical initiatives that promoted literature then it would be a good thing. But even as I spoke the words I felt as if I had taken a mouthful of corporate chewing gum. It was as if the weight of official approval, of municipal and ministerial good cheer was somehow too much." Peter Sirr DRB
"This is Michelle O’Sullivan’s third collection; her first appeared in 2012. I had been attracted by single poems before then, but the weight of her three books, and especially this one, convinces me that her work deserves to find its way to attentive readers. Readers who will not try to fit her into any boxes narrower than the big one marked “poets”, who will appreciate her skill with language, her alertness to the deep music of the world." Eilean Ni Chuilleanain DRB
"Merwin was one of the world's greatest poets of loss, chronicling the human condition as well as the destruction of the environment wrought by industrialization with immense feeling as well as an ascetic sense of acceptance, inflected by his Buddhist practice. “One of the things that’s hard to talk to people about is that knowledge is all that we know—which is admirable and impressive and fantastic and unique—is nothing in comparison with what we don’t know," he wrote. "And it will always be nothing—the unknown is always going to be far greater. If you focus on anger, you lose touch with why you’re defending something in the first place: that you revere it and love it and respect it."" Bridget Read Vogue "Merwin was also a lifelong environmentalist. Over decades, he slowly transformed a plot of land on Maui’s north shore into a thriving, 19-acre palm forest." Hawaii News Now
"In an early formulation—a 1933 letter to R. P. Blackmur—he referred to “the Whitmanian trick of writing loose poetry about a loose country, or the Joycian trick of going crazy to express madness.”" Leo Robson • The New Yorker

"The differing accounts that readers form of Collins’s poetry cannot be proven false. One reader may find the collection entirely personal; another might find it remote as deep space. Who Is Mary Sue? will speak in as many voices as it has readers. Male writers have long been offered this multiplicity. Who Is Mary Sue? is a welcome example of a female writer claiming it for herself and for others." Lily Meyer Poetry
"There is a main axiom in art: you should respect the audience. I do not care about all this, nor do they bother me. You know the picture swallows us. I attempt my own images not to overlap reality. For me, poetry evolves formally through new language appointments. In fact, verbal, syntactic and formal experimentation is of great interest, but I do not consider poetry the theatricalisation of cliché." Yiannis Antiochou • Greek News Agenda

"He just wasn’t interested in the abstract. He wanted to get down to cases. I’m just thinking of his teaching twentieth-century poetry. He loved the thing itself. He loved the poems. He probably loved the poets, too. But as far as turning it into some wonderful philosophical something, no, not at all. He wasn’t interested in that." Nancy Gardner Williams Paris Review
"In Baxter’s rejection of Brasch’s aestheticism we can see how far away he is, not just from the refined and somewhat snobbish editor of Landfall, but from the modernist assumptions of the nationalist mainstream – elders like Curnow and Sargeson, but also his key contemporaries (Frame, Duggan, Smithyman et al). To Baxter as a humanist, a Christian and activist there are always more important things to worry about than poetry." John Newton The Spinoff
"“lips-gear scalpel batter, ” for instance, or “love droid voice ”; “global badger-tetanus, ” “lie flan debit mash liability, ” “beauty vanilla bonds, ” “Yakult / spine cooler, ” “carnauba wax rissole, ” and “elf neon crossbar. ” The ploy is at once hysterically funny and deadly serious; it shakes an apotropaic totem of verbal absurdity at capital’ s pitiless extinction of true names, even as it bundles nouns into new, untold composites that the poem’ s light must bend around. [...] [The ode] is the mode in which he has actuated the remarkable (and as yet unheralded) shift from coterie poet to public poet, honing a voice through which increasingly to inveigh, accuse, and anathematize the enemy, but also to celebrate, inspire, and commemorate the resistance. " Julian Murphet Chicago Review
"My memory is that we were on that gently descending path for an hour but I found out later that it’s only about 400 feet long. The slowness was in the time it took for me to adjust to the unfolding scale of this journey and my need to keep re-making the decision that I was not going to turn back, which had the effect of returning me in my mind to the start." Lavinia Greenlaw The White Review
"I have only one criticism and one request of the editors and publishers. Volume four of these letters appeared 13 years ago. When the first few volumes appeared, in the 1980s and 1990s, the poet’s daughter, Anne Yeats, remarked to me that she’d be dead before they all appeared. I replied: “Miss Yeats, we’ll all be dead before they appear.”" Anthony Roche Irish Times
" That day, we were back with Donne again: “The Sun Rising”, one of the language’s greatest love poems, as fresh and exultant now as it was when it was written four centuries ago. But rather than scouring the work of Forward or Pulitzer prize winners to find something to read with it, this time I turned to YouTube. The poem I chose was Hollie McNish’s “Watching Miserable-Looking Couples in the Supermarket”." Sarah Crown Guardian
"Thynne likes Duffy, but works by contemporary young poets like Helen Mort, Caroline Bird, Sarah Howe and Rebecca Perry particularly struck a chord. “You read that you’re not alone, that what you’re going through is normal,” she says." Donna Ferguson Guardian
"Many of us find ourselves seeming like we’re fighting for the interests of the artist, but we’re really fighting for the interests of the economy, or in the interest of performative personality." Hanif Abdurraqib in conversation with Nawal Arjini • The Nation
"England is to be re-found in the encapsulation of its qualities by acts of enlightenment, in which landscape, geology and language are united in an individual experience felt as a kind of epiphany or a glimpse of the total, also an authentic re-mapping to counter the falsity of the decadent late Romantic and ironic versions. It is important that these acts, be they writing, painting, music or whatever, are not mere representations; they are direct creation of the other and real place in its other world, which is the only way there is to reach and restore the one we live in. The discourse is exhortatory rather than analytical, operating at two extremes: the particular and individual or “local”, and the most ambitious bid for remote distance, the tension between these two forming the total. Realisations of the present and of ancient time, prehistoric or geological, are the bases of an over-arching juncture which is a refuge, a shelter making the work possible, and a protection from alien temptations into the pastoral dream. The English focus protects, for instance, from the pseudo-heroic false colours of Scotland or Ireland because it is where you are." Peter Riley Fortnightly Review
"Reading [James] Lord's claim in Plausible Portraits that "From the beginnings of civilization, it has been the human likeness which has most preoccupied man," Cole is moved to express his desire that poetry should be a kind of intense portrait: "I want to write poems that are X-rays of the soul in moments of being and seeing. This includes the ghastly, the insane, and the cruel, but also beauty, Eros, and wonder."" V Joshua Adams Pop Matters
"But then thoughts are sometimes so delicious precisely because they can’t be expressed, their complexity does not permit them to exist. Such thoughts in their dark ingenuity parallel the work of the Soviet paper architects (the followers of Piranesi’s Imaginary Prisons) whose baroque and unconstructable designs were an antidote to Soviet planned architecture with its permitted ceiling heights and mandatory rubbish chutes. Paper architecture was the victory of the dreamer over the builder, the idler over the achiever." Sasha Dugdale PN Review
"Scholarly purists prefer the laconic Latin title Petrarch himself gave it: Rerum vulgarium fragmenta. The adjective vulgaris is a lexical description, referring to the fact that the poems are in Tuscan rather than Latin, so the title translates roughly as ‘Fragments of Things in the Vernacular’. The more obvious meaning, ‘Fragments of Everyday Things’, is also present, and perhaps ironic – to be disappointed in love is indeed a common experience, though when viewed through the distorting lens of 14th-century poetry it becomes something complicated and metaphysical. After Petrarch’s death in 1374 the collection acquired more aptly Italian titles. Rime sparse (‘Scattered Rhymes’) is taken from the opening lines of its first poem: ‘Voi ch’ascoltate in rime sparse il suono/di quei sospiri ond’io nudriva ’l core’ (‘You who hear in scattered rhymes the sound of those sighs I fed my heart with’). The most popular title is even simpler: Il Canzoniere (‘The Songbook’), which seems to express a sense of the work’s definitiveness as a collection of lyric poetry." Charles Nicholl LRB
"What to talk about to Ned Rorem? Frank O'Hara." Bill Berkson Poetry
"There are poignant metaphors for the rareness of a human birth. A needle thrown from the earth and a needle thrown from the sky. A blind turtle surfacing once a century and a yoke floating over the five oceans of the world. The needles meet mid air and the turtle lifts its head through the yoke. This is how we are all conceived." Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint • Territory

"Poetry can provide a necessary circular path, especially if you’re like me, where the page offers a place to think out loud. But poetry, simultaneously, provides a way OUT of the circularity and the spin. It can provide unexpected resolution—a quick turn, surprise, a daring jump, or rupture." Layli Long Soldier in conversation with Stephanie Sy-Quia • Review 31
"Saying that a poem always remains a question means that there will always be an infinite number of answers. Once there is an answer, the value of the question is a bit exhausted. But if a poem is constantly asking and constantly garnering different answers, different solutions, it remains something very fruitful. I think there can be many different answers to one poem, one question." Emily Jungmin Yoon in conversation with Lauren Kane • Paris Review
"[T]he issue of literary autonomy was among the deepest fault lines in the cultural cold war. Leftist thinkers, in the Arab world as elsewhere, formulated their own poetics and erected their own artistic canons, which emphasized the intrinsically political nature of literary activity. This helps explain why the tone of the Beiruti Modernists is so often embattled and even shrill. As opposed to their late-Modernist peers in Europe and America, the Arab poets could rarely afford the postures of polished certitude. Their anguish arose from the feeling that they had not only to preserve their museum of civilization but also to build one in the face of determined antagonists." Robyn Creswell • Paris Review
"Unlike most other contemporary writers, [Padraic] Fiacc had experienced life as a vulnerable emigrant, having been raised in New York in the 1920s and early 30s, and then uprooted from his family home and all its familiar securities. He embodied the diaspora condition in an intense and clearly unreconciled form. His work was often viewed with suspicion and, with equal measure, he was at times viewed as an unfathomable, unpredictable presence in the wider community." Gerald Dawe Irish Times
"[Aimee] Nezhukumatathil’s poems are like the ocean on a calm day: glittering, lovely, and eminently accessible on the surface. However, if you venture deeper into them they ask for all the dexterity and courage you can muster." Tamiko Beyer • Georgia Review
"People responded to [Martin Luther] King’s calls for peaceful protest not because they imagined they were invincible, [Nikki] Giovanni said, but because they knew they were imperiled. 'It was a dangerous time,' the poet recalled of the ’50s and’60s, especially for black Americans. 'You woke up everyday being surprised that you were alive.'" Emily Lordi • Atlantic
"Echoing [Charles] Olson’s metaphoric mapping of the social space of the magazine, Jack Spicer declared, in his lecture on 'Poetry and Politics' at the Berkeley Poetry Conference of 1965, that 'a magazine is a society.'" Mande Zecca • Jacket2
"[Y]our question makes me think about the difference between 'a walk' and 'walking'—something that this book project had me thinking about constantly as well. They are different. 'Walking' is goal-oriented, and I have a gait that I think of as 'transportation speed'—its purpose is to get you there, and it often does so faster than the metro or the bus. But when taking a walk, the walk and the walking are themselves the goals, and it's on those occasions that I incorporate chance or a constraint—though I'm often just led by whim." Cole Swensen in conversation with Maria Anderson • Rumpus
"People get to the easy line and they think that’s the end. But that’s actually the beginning. That’s where you know, 'Oh shit, now I gotta tell the truth because I just lied.'" Jericho Brown in conversation with Aaron Coleman • The Spectacle

New poems

Justin Quinn Yale Review

Vona Groarke Guardian

Bhanu Kapil Maljournal

Maria Koulouri Parmenar Press

Cheryl Follon The Dark Horse

Susannah Sheffer Threepenny Review

Colette Bryce Irish Times

Sean Lysaght The Clearing

David Ferry Poetry

Luis de Gongora Asymptote

Dana Gioia The American Scholar

Marilyn Hacker New England Review

Lisa Kelly Wild Court

Ciaran Carson New Yorker

Nick Carbo Scoundrel Time

Karen Solie Granta

Annie Freud The Scores

Denise Riley Poetry London

Michael Prior The Walrus

Martina Evans The Compass

Danez Smith Poetry

Charles Simic The Threepenny Review

Alicia Ostriker Smartish Pace

Denise Riley The Poetry Review

Vahni Capildeo Poetry International

Frances Leviston New Yorker

Simon Armitage The Poetry Review

Rita Ann Higgins Irish Times

Brooke Clark Better Than Starbucks

Jason Guriel The Hopkins Review

Ken Smith Poetry Archive

Les Murray PN Review

Jennifer Martelli Tinderbox

Beverley Bie Brahic New Yorker

Karl O'Hanlon Wild Court

Aaron Kunin Titanic Operas

David Ferry Threepenny Review

Jana Prikryl Poetry

Wendy Trevino Poetry Project

Linda Gregg Literary Hub

Dianne Seuss Scoundrel Time

WS Merwin New Yorker

Aaron Poochigian New Criterion

Joshua Weiner The Manchester Review

Sheri Benning Manchester Review

Deryn Rees-Jones Manchester Review

Vona Groarke The Irish Times

Liz Quirke The Manchester Review

August Kleinzahler Bars and guitars

Iain Twiddy The Manchester Review

Sam Riviere Poetry

Hugh Foley White Review

Jericho Brown Nation

Catherine Barnett

Dorothy Chan Nightblock

Justin Quinn B O D Y

Alexis Almeida Apartment

Romalyn Ante Poetry London

George Abraham The Shallow Ends

Robin Blaser Floating Bear


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