The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
"The Earl of Surrey invented blank verse by translating Virgil; Milton trained to be Milton by translating Latin poets, then translating his own verse into Latin; when Auden wanted to adapt Marianne Moore's syllabics to his own sense of line, he turned to Alkman's meter (alcaics, also adapted into Latin by Horace); and to this day, reading classics at Oxbridge is a conventional start to a poetry career." Ange Mlinko • NYRB

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

"Nowadays, epic poetry is banished and bookshelves groan with memoir and nature-autobiographies. It’s hard to imagine a time before their existence. Indeed, we may have come too far with our “I” – in her 2019 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, the novelist Olga Tokarczuk said that the sheer success of the first person narrator was “akin to a choir made up of soloists only, voices competing for attention, all travelling similar routes, drowning one another out”. But in 1806, it was unheard of for a poet to explore his own self-development. This self-creating was quite new." Kathleen Jamie New Statesman
"Campus poems are intended perhaps for the community of poets and likeminded souls outside the academy; to share a joke, often half against themselves. They may not take themselves too seriously (if a campus poet were an instrument it would be a tiny violin)." Anna Woodford The Poetry Review
"One of the things I love about winning the TS Eliot prize is that I am so black. I didn’t go to Oxford or Cambridge, I am the only black in the literary village." Roger Robinson Guardian
"My father certainly thought there was something in the idea that coronavirus showed children’s hidden instincts towards their parents. Back in Prague, he was writing poetry on the subject. He’s been a poet all his life, but his radio career had meant that he was only able to produce one book or so per year. Now, hemmed in between retirement and the plague, he was tinkling out a books’ worth in a month." Peter Pomerantsev Granta
"As an M.F.A. student, Ngai maintained a commitment to what one reviewer called “a fairly extreme mode of poetry.” Her poems are jargony, enigmatic. Dashes stretch across the page. In a poem called “My Novel,” Ngai writes of “a meadow full of pronouns … a scene of necessary doubling, where language was rising with the pressure of heat.” Where we might expect to find natural objects — flowers in a meadow, hot air rising — we find only language. What Ngai came to desire, but did not achieve until after she finished her Ph.D., was to get away from that field of words, that inescapable “doubling” between signifiers and signified. “I started to realize,” Ngai told me, “I wasn’t that interested in bringing everything back to language. I wanted to use that insight to go somewhere else.”" Charlie Tyson Chronicle of Higher Ed
"Shiki had studied English, admired Abraham Lincoln for his self-sacrifice to his principles, and loved to play baseball. But Shiki was also a passionate scholar and practitioner of traditional Japanese and Chinese poetic forms. He shrewdly countered Anglo-American modernism—with its emphasis on the spare, the fragmentary, and the suggestive (and, in Ezra Pound’s case a decade later, an Orientalist interest in Confucianism and the Chinese written character)—by promoting a Japanese alternative steeped in tradition but laced with contemporary experience. “As it spills over / In the autumn breeze, how red it looks— / My tooth powder!”" Christopher Benfey NYRB
"She started attending classes taught by the feminist poet Kathleen Fraser, who encouraged Bellamy to look into a writing group led by the poet Robert Glück at Small Press Traffic in the Mission District. These weekly workshops became a place for writers who were disillusioned with the then-popular Language Poets, whose work emphasized a stark division between the writer of a piece and its voice. This new group challenged that division, inserting subjectivity into the text and playing with, as Milks writes, “the possibilities of loosely autobiographical storytelling to produce an exploded and unstable ‘I.’”" Claire Mullen The Nation
"I love this sentence by Carl Phillips in The Art of Daring, "Who can say which is better, the glory of foliage or the truth of what's left when the leaves fall away."" Ada Limon jubilat
"TOn one level, then, what we might call the ethos of erudition (an Erudite-geist?) may be simply the latest iteration of a poetic tradition always seeking new ways to convey complex and disorienting experience; it is a tradition that has long stood in counterpoint to prevalent discourse, playing on its imperialist language. Black poets’ current zeal for formal innovation, manifesting as it often does in an urge to appropriate scientific lexicons, heralds the desire for an imaginative agency profoundly informed, but not bound, by its markers of identity." Jerome Ellison Murphy The Yale Review
"Christopher Reid’s Not Funny Any More features ‘The Great Turnip’ and no prizes for guessing who that turnip might be." Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"One of my mentors, a black female poet of Wanda’s generation, recently flatly said, “She was mean.” She could be mean. It was a sharpness she honed over her years outside the care of poetry collectives, coalitions, and institutions. Her poems often record the mood of one who feels exiled, discounted, neglected. Imagine how mean the famously mean Miles Davis might have been had no one taken his horn playing seriously, and you will have a sense of Wanda’s rage." Terrance Hayes • The Paris Review

"Fuller’s also a cult figure. His poetry is read and respected by all the smarties at the University of Chicago. One time I went to a thing downtown after a friend’s reading, some kind of dinner deal, and Fuller was there, and my friend could barely breathe, perceiving Fuller had actually attended her reading. She was all “That’s William Fuller?!?” It was like somebody had told her George Oppen had come back from the dead and gone to her reading." Anthony Madrid • Rhino

"The Trinity poet (and I call her that most advisedly) Ethna MacCarthy was a vivacious, spirited, brilliant presence in the lives of three very important male figures in Dublin’s literary world." Thomas McCarthy • Dublin Review of Books

"The opening lines of Hope Mirrlees’s poem Paris plunge the reader in place and personal experience. “I want a holophrase”, it begins, and perhaps that is what the whole work is trying to be, for a holophrase is a single word that stands for a complex idea." Erica Wagner • New Statesman

"Born late in the fourth century ACE, Claudius Claudianus has long been considered the last of the classical Roman poets, a title he earned not only due to the era of rapid decay he witnessed, but for his poetry’s subject matter, some of which he devoted to the mixed-race general Stilicho, whom Gibbon called the last of the Romans." André Naffis-Sahely • Wild Court

"During my research for The Kenyon Review, I found that John Crowe Ransom, in general an excellent, open-minded editor, had one crucial blind spot. He published very few women writers, having argued in his often-quoted (in)famous essay about Edna St. Vincent Millay, “The Poet as Woman,” (1936) that a woman is “[l]ess pliant, safer as a biological organism” than a man and as such “indifferent to intellectuality.”" Marian Jansen • Berfrois

"The result is an unexpectedly contemporary volume that makes startlingly plain how civilisations are so often doomed to repeat themselves, be it through corruption, ambition, ineptitude or desire. “Look at me, Maximin shouts, look / what I can do”: we draw our own parallels when the poet reflects that “his body is taut but has no purpose / than to flex and recover”. Elsewhere, the poems are able to speak with a philosophical directness in adopting ancient voices, but also with the intimacy of the diary entry or letter." Ben Wilkinson Guardian
"He swerves to effect: his shrewd sideways and backwards glances count, pouring light on a subject from several directions simultaneously. Any given moment is likely to be underpinned by what went on before or what is to come. He knows the power of parallel universes. The willow pollen and honeysuckle are barely seen but should not be overlooked. They are irrelevant and crucial." Kate Kellaway Observer

"For all they have to hype and glad-hand each other, poets compete, now as ever, for non-poets’ attention. That competition’s like a sea, all too often draining them of colour, in which they can be smoothed and cut down to size. The public then combs a shore of innumerable pebbles, each of which proclaims itself a gem. Francis seems to have resisted that homogenization, and held out for his own particular shape." Graeme Richardson TLS
"These people find their rage in the disruption of their comfort. “Won’t someone please think of the Arby’s?” seems like a very weird place to put your concern. What America are you mourning? Target wasn’t in the fields, cotton-bloodied hands. Walmart never hung from a tree." Danez Smith • New Yorker

"One could write a history of modern Greece through the funerals of poets. The national poet Kostis Palamas died during the German Occupation and his funeral, attended by 100,000 mourners, turned into an anti-Nazi protest. Likewise, when the Nobel laureate George Seferis died in 1971, with Greece under the dictatorship of a military junta, thousands followed his coffin through the streets to the cemetery, singing his poem “Denial”, which had been set to music by Theodorakis." A.E. Stallings • TLS

"Manchester is a central character here, its rooms and streets luminous, often ominous under the intensity of McAuliffe’s gaze. The Manchester Arena bombing is the incendiary centre in "City of Trees", tree pollen erupting in “slow green explosions”. Prophetic uncertainty shivers right through this subtly linked seamless collection, building to the final "Blown Away", a mere tent which the narrator failed to secure." Martina Evans Irish Times
"He’s the armadillo of poetry: armored, elusive, prehistoric, a survivor." Christian Wiman Poetry
"Not everyone cared for Whitman’s fleshy frankness back in the day." David Wheatley • Literary Review

"In the Dominican Republic,” my Dominican friend Silvio Torres-Saillant told me at the time, “no one lays a more legitimate claim to intimacy with the yearnings of the Dominican people as well as with the texture of their collective voice than Pedro Mir." Jonathan Cohen • Asymptote

"My thirteen-year-old daughter had no opinion about The Last Straw as a title but tells me that The Sea Field is ‘a terrible title for a book’. Of all of our household she is the one who knows the actual Sea Field best. To her mind there is nothing metaphorical about it. (A friend who has studied English points out that it is an oxymoron, which reminds me that Oscar Wilde considered ‘Royal Irish Academy’ to be a triple oxymoron)." Tom French Books Ireland
"During the sentencing, Crown attorney Jennifer Ferguson adopted a highly unusual tactic—exhibiting verse as evidence. The poem offered up was, according to Ferguson, based on an incident in the life of Francis’s wife, whose home, in the judge’s words, appeared “to have been a torture chamber.”" Anita Lahey • The Walrus

"Not long after news of his father’s illness reached WB Yeats in Dublin, the Spanish flu came even closer to home when his heavily pregnant, 27-year-old wife, George, was struck down. At that time, the couple, who had married in 1917, were renting Maud Gonne’s house at 73 St Stephen’s Green. It was an alarming time for the Yeats family as the Spanish flu took a surprisingly heavy toll on younger people between 15 and 40, who accounted for almost half of the total deaths recorded." Daniel Mulhall Irish Times
"Their meanings are often elusive, not so much puzzling as hard to pin down very definitely, working as they do through suggestion rather than statement and lending themselves to different levels of interpretation, often set in motion by the gentlest of hints. To me, such a hovering between meanings is a pleasure in itself, in the context of a short poem, and given the remarkable clarity of form and verbal grace of Valéry’s writing." Edmund Prestwich The Manchester Review
"The Edward Hirsch who emerges in his poems is helpful, courteous, kind, brave, clean, and a little guilt-ridden—in other words, a Boy Scout mensch with some tragedy in him." William Logan • New Criterion

"This to me is allowing an actual injury to pass and punishing a symbolic and technical transgression instead. It is being offended by something in print, and not in life. [...] One begins to see a pattern emerging – of restrictiveness, fussiness and oversensitivity. Hardwick, on the issue of the letters in the poems, began by saying to Lowell, “The matter of your work is yours entirely and I don’t think you have it in your power to ‘hurt’ me”. Then, when the book came out, she was hurt. Much later, it became a matter for banter between them. " Michael Hofmann TLS
"For Miriam Lord, an Irish Times columnist and humorist, it was too much. “The taoiseach has succumbed completely to the Heaney bug and is now a super-spreader … Leo must poetically distance himself immediately. Because this thing is infectious.”" Rory Carroll Guardian
"So where the Book of Job ends with the unjustly suffering Job silent in adoration, the Book of Jonah ends with Jonah mired in perplexity. It has been said that there is no humour in the Bible. Humour doesn’t necessarily come in guffaws. We are left to consider the scene, as Jehovah spells out his rationale for sparing the inhabitants of Nineveh: although humans can’t tell their right hand from their left the city is also full of ‘much cattle’ which merit consideration. Cattle are dumb and don’t talk back." Iain Bamforth PN Review
"While the concept of self-isolation may be less of a stretch for poets, whose work has always necessitated solitude, it is nonetheless other to the nature of poetry, which is to connect and connect (a tenet central to the work of Poetry Ireland). The mind-mapping impulse inherent to image-making, where one thing links unexpectedly to another, may remind us of molecular patterns of connection, that everything is in everything else." Colette Bryce Poetry Ireland Review
"[Wanda] Coleman won an Emmy, in 1976, for her writing on the daytime soap opera “Days of Our Lives,” and wrote an episode of the much rerun buddy-cop show “Starsky & Hutch.” Soon she devoted herself more fully to her own writing and performing. Her first full-length book of poetry, “Mad Dog Black Lady,” appeared in 1979, and was followed by a dozen or so more, as well as short stories, essays, and a novel." Dan Chiasson • New Yorker

"Our professors had a great deal invested in novels and poems; and it was probably even the case that, at some point, they had loved them. But they had convinced themselves that to justify the “study” of literature it was necessary to immunize themselves against this love, and within the profession the highest status went to those for whom admiration and attachment had most fully morphed into their opposites. Their hatred of literature manifested itself in their embrace of theories and methods that downgraded and instrumentalized literary experience, in their moralistic condemnation of the literary works they judged ideologically unsound, and in their attempt to pass on to their students their suspicion of literature’s most powerful imaginative effects." Jon Baskin the Point
"Reminiscent of one of this century’s great elegies, Denise Riley’s A Part Song, The M Pages is similarly probing, hurt and skeptical. Bryce is a poet of great assurance, and this sequence alone makes the book a necessary addition to the library of readers interested in contemporary Irish writing." John McAuliffe Irish Times
"The poems will come later, when the suffering has sifted down from shared experience to solitary aftermath. When it is felt more in the singular than the plural, poetry will be one of the ways we try to understand what has happened to us." Vona Groarke Cambridge Reflections
"The life of the poem lies in the fusion of these gleanings with Empson’s vivid on the ground observations – most strikingly, ‘the paddy-fields are wings of bees’; and its boldness from the way in which they are subordinated to two conceits. ‘The dragon hatched a cockatrice’, drawn from Isaiah, works from the observation that many features of Japanese culture were absorbed from Tang dynasty China. China is of course the dragon." Diana Bridge PN Review
"Something about the stark language and repetition in the poem grabbed me before I noticed its structure. I appreciated it even more when I saw how the poem was based on the fundamental theorem of arithmetic, which states that every whole number greater than 1 has a unique prime factorization. Glaz composed phrases to represent each prime number and combined them as dictated by each number’s factorization, using “for” for exponentiation and “in” for multiplication." Evelyn Lamb Scientific American
"I am inescapably a pedagogue. And everyone should learn ancient Greek." Anne Carson • LitHub

"Meanwhile Mezey’s poetic style changed; he followed the zeitgeist into free verse. “When I was quite young,” he wrote, “I came under unhealthy influences — Yvor Winters, for example, and America, and my mother, though not in that order.”" Dana Gioia LA Times
"The wasted land that William [Merwin] bought in 1977 is part of an ahupua‘a called Pe‘ahi—the valley and watershed of the Pe‘ahi Stream. When he arrived, the stream had already been dry for over a century, and the land around it stripped of its trees." Chelsea Steinauer-Scudder • Emergence Magazine

"I find Celan’s meetings with Martin Heidegger and Martin Buber (both mentioned in Economy of the Unlost) curious. Surely, he must have anticipated distance in these two deeply distant figures. Plato described love as ‘an intermediate state between possession and deprivation’. It’s not always clear where our affinities lie. But is Celan adding to a storage of distance with his poems inspired by his meetings with Heidegger and Buber." Sarah Byrne Southword
"He sees poetry, rightly I think, as a way of resisting the many forms of violence imposed upon us by technological, commercial and political powers. This is what Wallace Stevens meant by “the imagination pressing back against the pressure of reality,” and it can take overtly public form, as it does in some poetry by Yeats, Auden, Heaney, as well as in figures like Haki Madhubuti (formerly Don L. Lee) and Amiri Baraka, or in the sometimes foolish public actions of poets like Robert Frost, as well as in more private, quasi-religious gestures from the likes of Rilke. Burnside’s book is never comprehensive, nor does it attempt to be." David Mason Hudson Review
"The power dynamic sharpens in “Crossing Borders,” with an experience familiar to those of us routinely delayed at checkpoints—I can’t think of another poet who writes so “feelingly” about this, except Seamus Heaney (a Catholic in Northern Ireland, stopped at a roadblock, a sten gun in his face)." Vidyan Ravinthiran • Poetry

"In Murray’s case, the groundswell of criticism from the left presented him with an opportunity to present his voice as marginalised and under siege by a ‘metropolitan elite’. Mudrooroo came to conceive of his writing as having an activist role in rehabilitating an Aboriginal identity estranged by the colonial experience." Ben Etherington • Sydney Review of Books

"Siting itself beyond the identifiably personal, here and elsewhere, enables Kingdomland to become home to a community of women, whose difficulties negotiating their lives and bodies are recreated with discomfiting vividness." Alice Hiller Magma
"It has been a privilege to publish in PN Review so many of her major essays and interviews, and her poem sequences, and at Carcanet to publish her own poems, her anthologies, her Dublin, and books about her. More than just a privilege, it has been a continual pleasure, a pleasure enhanced by frankness on both sides, and some instructive disagreements. It will be hard for many of us to adjust to her absence." Michael Schmidt Irish Times
"The life of the poet is always a summons to try to set down some truth that was once true and will go on being true. No poet should have to worry about the public respect, or the lack of it, in which this art is held.” Eavan Boland Poetry Ireland Review
"Meanwhile I enjoy keeping in more regular contact with friends and family on both sides of the world, and wonder if I've been to my last book launch." Fleur Adcock Newsroom
"When Trump performs his press conferences, wouldn’t it be brilliant if his words landed on the deaf ears of a whole nation? What if we simply refused to hear the hatred of his pronouncements?" Ilya Kaminsky • Lithub

"n fact, everything in No Matter seems to be the matter. The phrase is an idiom at home in the mouths of dismissive millennials. Something that is “no matter” might be, in more late-Nineties terms, “no big.” Or perhaps this phrase presents an ontological problem, one of consequence (something will not matter) or substance (something that has lost all its physical matter). Thanks to Prikryl’s expert implications, the title often functions in multiple ways simultaneously." Chelsie Malyszek Threepenny Review
"It is bracing to see Paterson – a dab hand at form (40 Sonnets won the 2015 Costa poetry prize) – returning with eloquence and vim to rhythms of speech." Kate Kellaway Guardian
"[Ciaran Carson's] Still Life seems at first to be a collection of unrelated poems about paintings, but worked into these is the record of a daily routine of hospital visits and walks round the Waterworks Park (which should now be renamed Ciaran Carson Park). This strand is his most personal work and reminds me of James Schuyler’s long poems about humdrum daily life, The Morning of the Poem and A Few Days. I would love to check if Ciaran knew these but there is no email reception in the void." Michael Foley Irish Times
"Our Table of Contents, both online and in print, eschews categorical divisions into poetry, fiction, essays, etc. and thereby, perhaps, encourages fortuitous finds, discoveries of treasures not intentionally sought. Moreover, we list our works first by title, then identify them by genre, and only lastly by author (and translator, for translations). In doing so, we continue a practice typical of magazines a half-century ago, one hard to find elsewhere today." Editors Massachusetts Review
"When technique is in place, everything is in place, primed for mystery." Paul Henry Poetry Wales
"The Fugitives as a group had ceased to be taught by the time I arrived at Vanderbilt in 1983. I had students in my first five years who explained that they had come to Vanderbilt to study the Fugitives, and I felt their reproach. I was there to teach poetry, of course, but especially to develop the creative writing program. The scholars who might have taught the Fugitives had other interests, mainly in fiction. No one was teaching the Fugitive poets, not as a group, not in a class about them. Our Southern literary critics felt no allegiance to them and were in fact interested more in the broader sense of a Southern tradition which, like regional literature generally, was bleeding through its boundaries." Mark Jarman Hudson Review
"If Travisano’s readings of the poems are usually strictly biographical, well, so are most others these days, nearly turning Bishop into a thing she dreaded—an example of identity poetics—when she would rather have been a window on the world. The truth is that these biographical readings contain some justice." David Mason Hudson Review
"We were never very regular wage-earners, a writer married to a chess grandmaster. A quarter of a million sounds like huge wealth but perhaps it should just be thought of as the equivalent of a few years’ salary at a decent rate." Fiona Pitt-Kethley LRB
"Well, even before we get to the improbable “man, you—can you?” the neologisms have altered our minds: “Goldengrove unleaving.” I don’t know if Goldengrove is an actual stand of deciduous trees or not; I vote for Hopkins having invented this tract name to carry all the beauty of loss in a single word." Kay Ryan • Lithub

"Here, we are given so much: a sense of wonder, a volta, a return from the skies to the earth, and then finally a subtle reflection on belonging. [Mina] Gorji’s fellow Carcanet poet, Thomas A Clark, works in similarly short stanzas, focusing on the minutiae of the natural world, though Gorji succeeds in suggesting the emotional and political resonances of her chosen subjects, from octopi to wasps and moths and onward to the planets and the stars." Seán Hewitt Irish Times
"A lot of the technical stuff that’s available to fiction writers looks like something it would be fun to get my hands on. And it gets frustrating because there are so many novels where the writer has a lot of exciting stuff going on but then towards the end they start to back away from the excitement. It’s like they’re teenagers who have organized a massive party while their parents are away, and just when the evening’s hitting its groove they get this massive rumble of guilt and they turn down the music and kick everybody out, and try to give the impression that all they’ve done all weekend is revise for their geography exam. With a lot of novels I’m happiest if I read to about halfway and then put it aside before everything gets tidied up." Matthew Welton Carcanet
"Les Murray once called Dawe “our great master of applied poetry”, and as [Bruce] Dawe said to me in that interview mentioned above: “Like many critics of particular things, I am half in love with the things I criticise at times; I know the appeal such media phenomena as TV have because I’ve felt it, too.” And in this, we have the key, just maybe, to why a Dawe poem can get us onside whether we agree with its gist, or not." John Kinsella Guardian
"We arrived early enough on Aegina to stroll by the quayside and have lunch outside at a taverna in the middle of the fish market, toasting Katerina [Anghelaki-Rooke] with the light, local, resinated white wine – bright and pale gold like the winter sunlight, and with the faint aroma of island pines – as cats darted in and out of the fish stalls with little silver fish in their jaws. Katerina had a flare for living – for food and drink, for friendship, for eros, the physical world – and is often spoken of as a poet of the body. That she was larger than life would make you forget she was actually diminutive in stature, and often racked with pain." AE Stallings TLS
"But poetry – whatever that is without digressing down a rabbit hole – creates the right tone to convey the larger meaning of the game or person. Take the mini-masterpiece by the great modern playwright Harold Pinter. “I saw Len Hutton in his prime / Another time, another time.”" Johnny Watterson Irish Times
"Time … isn’t just circular. Things don’t just repeat themselves over and over again. We’re not trapped in some tragic fate...Real progress takes places in the moment within each human being. Real progress is love." A.F. Moritz • Toronto Star

"And, yes, the poems are also a profound reflection on the clouds descending on Iraq, ‘war by war’. But Mikhail’s poems explore the moments of transcendence in all that. For every one of these short poems, which has a slightly propagandist lilt to it, such as, ‘Ask not how many houses were built. / Ask how many residents remained the houses’, with its conscious echo of John Kennedy; there are several small jewel like pieces that are truly luminous: ‘The sun reveals / a hole in the boat, / a glow in the fins / of fish still breathing.’" Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"The Unlaunched Books podcast seeks to make a space online to talk about one of the minor side-effects of these strange days and weeks and months, writers’ unlaunched books. Each week we will talk to poets about the books we would have been hearing at festivals, and talking about with friends, this spring and summer." Unlaunched Books
"If we are in a place of refuge, on our own or with others, would we be a useful presence or a distressing one? And what would we do next if that refuge itself came under attack or duress?" Rishi Dastidar Poetry London
"The piece wasn’t going well and I sympathized when I came across Lear’s plea to William Holman Hunt for painterly guidance: “If you cannot tell me how the shadows of the blessed jackdaws will fall I don’t know what I shall do.” Coincidentally—or, not uncoincidentally—he spoke elsewhere 
of being in a state of “knowingnothingatallaboutwhatoneisgoingtodo-ness.” I took this as a cue—and an excuse: the essay would be “about” not knowing what one is about. Pleased that I now had a subject, I stopped writing and went for a run." Matthew Bevis Poetry
"There are several things that qualify someone to be a critic. They require some expertise; they must be able to write; they should have taste (reviews have everything to do with taste – and nothing). But the most vital qualification is that they should love whatever it is that they write about. As the late AA Gill put it: “If you don’t love it, why will you care if somebody does it badly?”" Rachel Cooke Observer
"Ordering a collection is quite an instinctive process. I enjoy shaking the poems loose from the order in which they were written and discovering a web of connections between them: how these might determine a pattern. With The M Pages, it seemed significant that ‘Death of an Actress’ took the opening position." Colette Bryce Picador
'"Why persist in existing, the poet Rilke asks, “when this span of life might be fleeted away / as laurel”? The answer he gives is at once straightforward and glorious, and it is one with which Brian Greene would surely concur: “. . . because being here is much, and because all this / that’s here, so fleeting, seems to require us and strangely / concerns us. Us, the most fleeting of all.”' John Banville The Irish Times
"What is meant to make Benn’s work ‘timeless’ puts it in orbit around a collapsing star, as modernity moves in to make it implode.
Sachs’ work directly mirrors this gravitational implosion. It is its holy opposite. She crushes the protons and electrons of ordinary language to form charged, neutron constellations, in colours we have never seen before.
Tiny, but impossibly dense, many of the later poems are the afterimages of the collapse of the monstrous swell of Benn and others, and their cultural elevation of nihilism to art." Steve Hanson Blackbox Manifold
"In this book he has assembled what amounts to Kenyon’s spiritual autobiography, as modest and profoundly moving in its way as the casual perfection of a single stroke of lead white describing the touch of light on a pewter vessel." Averill Curdy New Criterion
"In 1887, the story goes, College members sent Whitman a birthday card, which included a gift of £10. A note of thanks returned, and an exchange between Camden, New Jersey, and Bolton, Lancashire, began." Evan Jones Poetry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New poems

Naush Sabah Rigorous

Caitriona O'Reilly the High Window / Poetry International

Richard Scott Poetry International

Chad Campbell The Scores

Rachel Long The Poetry Review

Shane McCrae Scoundrel Time

Galway Kinnell Poetry Daily

Anne Haverty Irish Times

James Tate Blackbird

Mícheál McCann Poetry Ireland Review

Alvin Pang Alligatorzine

Tom Sleigh Threepenny Review

Tim Seibles Poetry

Rita Dove Poetry

Bill Manhire Shenandoah

Jamila Woods Poetry

Isabelle Baafi Anthropocene

Ian Pople Poetry

Paul Batchelor Poetry Daily

Evan Jones London Review Bookshop

Dean Young Threepenny Review

James Womack Literary Review

John McAuliffe Irish Times

Fleur Adcock NZ Poetry Shelf

Vahni Capildeo Best Scottish Poems

Nick Laird New Yorker

Eavan Boland New Yorker

Vahni Capildeo PN Review

Paisley Rekdal American Poetry Review

Kay Ryan APR

Eavan Boland New Yorker

Victoria Kennefick Poetry Ireland

Gëzim Hajdari Lincoln Review

Andre Bagoo Magma

Kevin Graham Irish Times

Eavan Boland Tuesday Poem

Ian Seed Anthropocene

Susannah Sheffer Threepenny Review

Tom French Gallery

Colette Bryce Guardian

John Freeman Poetry Wales

Matthew Sweeney The Moth

Martha Silano Scoundrel Time

John O'Donnell Irish Times

John Koethe Poetry

Rachel Boast Poetry

M.L. Martin Kenyon Review

Tara Bergin Evergreen Review

Jenny Bornholdt The Spinoff

Linda Gregerson The Poetry Review

Patrick Cotter Blackbox Manifold

Maurice Riordan Irish Times

Mark Anthony Cayanan Kritika Kultura (scroll down)

G.C. Waldrep Blackbox Manifold

Aria Aber Yale Review

Gabriella Attems The Scores

Callie Gardner The Scores

Vahni Capildeo PN Review

Don Mee Choi Granta

Nyla Matuk The Walrus

Noel Monahan Irish Times

Tom French The Manchester Review

Finuala Dowling The Manchester Review

Evan Jones The Walrus

Tenille Campbell The Walrus

Kiki Dimoula Poetry International

Dana Levin The Adroit Journal

Alice Miller The Poetry Review

James Pollock The Walrus


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