The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
"What makes [Christopher] Middleton very different from these, however, is that he simultaneously became increasingly modernist and experimental, like a plant that reaches up towards light and delves into the earth for the different kinds of sustenance it needs. In this, he is similar to Davie and Gunn, who began to take a sympathetic interest in Modernism in the 1960s." Henry King • Eborakon
"But this is no ordinary vagrant. As the monologue proceeds he cites Jesus, Marx, and Jung, uses occasional expressions in French and fears for the preservation of his “spiritual integrity”. It is an intellectual discourse on self and society which maintains a sense of poetical writing in a constant rhythmic poise with quite strong figuration and alliteration when it gets excited." Peter Riley on David Gascoyne • Fortnightly Review
"‘The main thing is to be useful,’ ­Amichai would often say'." Rosie Schaap • New York Times
"The narrative in which a person is irrevocably marked by a single event is characteristic of our popular culture (just look at all those superhero movies). It co-exists oddly with the idea that the individual is both free and free to change. Meanwhile, “I know I know too much” might be the mantra of the postmodern subject, who must simultaneously live within this post-Freudian narrative and constantly ironize it." Ailbhe Darcy • Critical Flame
"The poet we encounter in Beauty/Beauty is someone who knows when to listen (“Last Sunday he said: / to be of use ought to be / the aim of our lives”) and when to balk (“World as I am surrounded by the idiocy of men”)." Evan Jones • Guardian "Although Perry’s collection marks the accomplishment of her own voice and style, a poem like the Casida of the Dead Sun points to her readiness for wider challenges, including a fruitful exchange with other writers and languages." Carol Rumens • Guardian
"In addition to creative work, we also sought pragmatic responses on how to ethically engage contexts, like the MFA workshop, as sites of cultural and perceptual invention. As a teacher of creative writing, I may be teaching a craft, however, I am also teaching, through my conversation and language, the ethics of my craft. Thus, we sought honest and informed responses to aid in potential conflict situations that may arise in classroom critiques: how to engage offensive or cliché racial characterizations, offensive or cliché gender representation, sexist or homophobic imagery, etc." J. Michael Martinez & Khadijah Queen • Evening Will Come
"The key to Goethe is that the spiritual “healthiness” so disliked by [TS] Eliot was not that of a man with a perfect constitution but that of a recovered invalid. He knew the “weakness” that Arnold described all too well. Goethe’s early life was a privileged one—he was the only surviving son of a prosperous bourgeois family in Frankfurt—and as a young man he teetered on the brink of waywardness. Though he studied law, at his father’s insistence, and even practiced briefly, the occupation was never more than a cover for what really interested him, which was writing poetry and falling in love." Adam Kirsch • New Yorker
"A paradox: though the best poetry is often made via razor-thin calls between similar words, and though a single poem may undergo a manuscript’s worth of revision before it feels just right to both reader and poet, some of the poetic texts we cherish most — collections of Emily Dickinson’s fascicles, or the First Folio of Shakespeare — have been assembled by way of scraps, best guesses, and any number of transcription errors." John Cotter • The Smart Set
"Poetry thus becomes utilitarian." August Kleinzahler • Chicago Review (2005 Christopher Middleton issue)
"When C.D. Wright died Jan. 12, American poetry lost one of the great ones, one of the figures who changed what the language can do, one of the writers whose lines and titles, sentences and similes are going to last at least as long as American English." Stephen Burt • LA Times
"But midway through The Road Not Taken, [David] Orr addresses Frost’s poem from what has become among critics an increasingly unusual perch. For a few pages, he treats the poem not as an objective document, an historical artifact, a cultural conceit, or even an ingenious composition, but instead as a human speech." Matthew Buckley Smith • Partisan
"It is an unfortunate commonplace in Kinsella criticism to talk about the poet’s mature work in terms of the demands it places on the reader." Adrienne Leavy • Irish Times
"Literary England was hostile to what threatened its mediocracy and grip on power." Tom Pickard • Poetry
" By and large, nobody listens to things like poetry reviews apart from other poets, and those involved in the forever failing, but quietly heroic cottage-industry of its production and promotion" Peter McDonald • Tower Poetry (pdf)
"One of the last to go will be Chris Mannix, whose name might be seen to serve as a nod in the direction of “Chris” in The Magnificent Seven and a wink in the direction of Ben Hur: A tale of the Christ. As it turns out, some of the very lenses used to film the chariot race in Ben Hur were “refurbished” by Panavision to allow Tarantino and his cinematographer, Robert Richardson, to shoot the film in Ultra Panavision 70. It comes as no surprise, yet again, that we come to see the stagecoach less as a stagecoach than a chariot with a team of six, including big close-ups of horses’ hooves and heads that replicate shots in Ben Hur." Paul Muldoon • TLS
"To be a refugee is to leave with only what you can carry. You can carry your crippled father, you can carry your baby, you can carry the spirits of home. You can carry a tune." A.E. Stallings • TLS
"Jonathan Bate’s malice is the glue that holds his incoherent book together—malice directed at other peripheral characters but chiefly directed at its subject. Bate wants to cut Hughes down to size and does so, interestingly, by blowing him up into a kind of extra-large sex maniac." Janet Malcolm NYRB
"If you write poems in the United States today, your poems owe something to C.D. Wright’s vision. And yet she was one of those poets—like Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, W.S. Merwin, Adrienne Rich—it’s dangerous to imitate." David Biespiel • Partisan "Even categorizing her as uncategorizable is too easy: she was part of a line of mavericks and contrarians who struggled to keep the language particular in times of ever-encroaching standardization. I think of the messy genius of James Agee and Mary Austin as two possible antecedents for her genre-bending, lyrically charged, often outraged and outrageous American English." Ben Lerner • New Yorker "Recently I was asked to do an interview on National Public Radio for a programme that usually interviews people writing timely nonfiction or who are noted players in the sociopolitical sphere. I scheduled it in, and then I was notified I was to be replaced by someone with a history book just out, and the interview would probably be rescheduled later. The rescheduling never occurred." CD Wright • The Wolf
"Although Pound never noticed, it’s not too much of a stretch to see James Laughlin—Pound’s admirer, disciple, student, PR agent, publisher, counselor, friend—as a kind of Poundian “factive personality” whose life amalgamated many seemingly dissonant strains in twentieth-century America into a coherent whole, and in doing so changed the direction of U.S. cultural history." Greg Barnhisel • Humanities
"Brandon Courtney’s second collection, Rooms for Rent in the Burning City, follows his first, The Grief Muscles, by only a year, and it passes the sophomore slump test." Paul Scott Stanfield • Ploughshares
"Beckett’s advice to a young Aidan Higgins paraphrased by himself says a great deal: 'Stow your troubles early. Chin up. Anticipate squalls.'" Rosita Sweetman • Irish Times
"Auden, more lucidly than most, was able to identify and describe characteristics of the cultural malaise that continues to resonate 40 years after his death. Many aspects of modern life tend to alienate us from any communality, and shut us within our subjective selves. It becomes difficult to believe in the reality of other people. Fragmentation, a lack of encounters with the sacred, and a monotone impressionism characterize much of our artistic production. In verse of the last 60 years the result has been a hyper-subjectivity in its two polarized forms of hermeticism and confessionalism. In the face of such a situation, Auden argued, ‘Art can only have one subject – man as a conscious unique person’." Simon West • Sydney Review of Books
"I can readily see that I am not the intended reader for The Unauthorised Life of Ted Hughes." Michael Hofmann • Australian Book Review
"It is this testing of boundaries that makes Geis a work of great aesthetic and intellectual range, and marks O’Reilly as a sustaining presence in contemporary poetry." Lucy Collins • DRB
"Burke’s poetry collection “City of God” was a good example of the influence of the internet on modern poetry and the way in which it has transformed the layout of the poems, how they’re distributed, and how they are interpreted." Francesca Gavin • Sleek
"When asked to deny the crime, she says, in Anne Carson’s 2012 translation of Sophocles: ‘I did the deed I do not deny it.’ She does not seek to justify her actions within the terms of Creon’s law: she negates the law by handing it back to him, intact – ‘If you call that law.’" Anne Enright • LRB
"It’s thin enough on the ground, the poetry of winter, warm when it should be hot, maybe, sparse when lavish is called for. Perhaps that’s only as it should be, poetry following the rule of nature, like any living thing." Vona Groarke • Poetry Ireland Review
"There is often in Ashbery’s poems this sense of idiosyncratic discovery, as though one were walking into a hallway one had never seen before, a hallway shockingly new, irrepressible, fascinating, and yet almost dangerous and haunted with a kind of gleeful foreboding. And at times it is unclear – perhaps this partly why the poems can be foreboding – where the fantasy or nostalgic reverie stops and reality begins. " Andrew Michael Field • California Journal of Poetics
"I would guess that since my mid teens not a year has gone by without my daydreaming about the death of David Bowie." Brian Dillon • The Dublin Review
"For what then seemed a lengthy spell, from the late 1950s well into the 1970s, the standard-bearers of American poetry were a group of manic depressive exhibitionists working largely, if not exclusively, in traditional metre and rhyme schemes, analysands all, and with self-inflating personae that always reminded me of those giant balloons of Mickey Mouse and Pluto associated with Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. They published and reviewed one another in journals like the Nation, Partisan Review, the Kenyon Review and Sewanee Review, with a good deal of auto-canonising." August Kleinzahler • LRB
"What’s obvious in these few lines is, first, Quinn’s faith in rhyme as a destination. The poem imagines a store of rhymes available in the English language, to which we can turn at intense moments and amongst which we will find treasure. This idea is conservative in a pure sense: it is because the rhymes are “ancient” that we can trust them. Rhyme imagines that the English language is possessed of a wisdom that is bigger than you or me." Ailbhe Darcy • DRB
"There is often, in this volume more than [Carl] Phillips’ other books, a feeling of ‘a disturbance in the force’. Phillips’ poems adumbrate a feeling that wholeness is out there, but it lies slightly out of reach." Ian Pople • Manchester Review
"Technical specifications: Burroughs, Gysin and the cut up, Dada, the art movement, Dada, my father and Dada, the name of the father. Détournement and the dérivé, Basquiat’s erasures. Flarf but not as you know it. Conceptual writing maybe." Robert Herbert McLean • Irish Times
"I’m afraid this is one of those hackneyed moments where the critic, me, says of the poet-critic writing of another — a skein of commentary tough to acknowledge without wincing — that he may as well be talking about himself. (Perhaps style is the outward struggle of our egotism, a hope that, in talking of ourselves, we may say with surety real things of others, too.)" Vidyan Ravinthiran • Poetry
"The light of evening, Lissadell,/ Great windows open to the south, / Both beautiful, one double-glazed." Kevin McAleer • Irish Times
"But it’s a mistake to confuse confusion with profundity, as I believe O’Brien too often does." Craig Raine • Areté "No one does social observation quite like O’Brien." Ben Wilkinson • Guardian
"When he discusses the Welsh poet and artist David Jones’s maddeningly difficult poem The Anathemata, another epic work he admired enormously, Auden is honest enough, amid a detailed analysis, to remark of one section, “I am not sure what this is about. The Norse Invasions?” Nobody else is sure either, as it happens, but I cannot recall any critic, and certainly not one of Auden’s authority, making such a candid admission of bafflement, and it is refreshing." Eric Ormsby • The Wall Street Journal
"With its frequent-flyer air-miles and fondness for describing hotels, [Karen] Solie’s work is, superficially at least, a poetry of displacement." Aingeal Clare • TLS
"And, frankly, looking around at the forty- or fifty-strong audience, one hardly has the impression that all of human life is here gathered." Adam Crothers • Literateur
" I’m reminded of Gore Vidal’s Lincoln, when back in 1984 his depiction of the great man stirred up quite a storm. Vidal was interviewed on Start the Week along with Richard Adams, of Watership Down fame. Adams was asked his opinion of Vidal’s novelisation. “I thought it was meretricious.” “Really?” retorted Vidal. “Well, meretricious then – and happy New Year.”" Maurice Riordan • Poetry Review
"I know some people love the book, I’m aware of that, but I really think being in the audience when these lectures were delivered was a better experience, because it’s really true that at some point in the middle of that particular lecture, I passed out all these notes to the audience. I just passed out pages of my own notes." Mary Ruefle • Divedapper
"So you can observe all you want, and you can observe other people’s problems all you want but you have to get at the emotional and maybe the political repercussions for the speaker. That doesn’t mean you necessarily confess, that doesn’t mean you have to tell true facts, or anything like that. It means you can use narrative in a way that will make the poem be about more than just how you feel about something." Daisy Fried • Divedapper
"In very different ways, both Grennan and Sweeney write poetry with a youthfulness that only comes with maturity. Likewise, these collections affirm the accomplishments of each poet’s distinctive style. “I can’t stand / being in this crap poetry world without / you”, Sweeney complains, to John Hartley Williams (‘Co-Author’). Whatever contemporary malaise Sweeney has in mind in those lines, neither he nor Grennan are in thrall to it. Anglophone poetry is richer for Sweeney’s fantasia and Grennan’s lyric infusion." Gregory Leadbetter • Poetry Review
"Bate, it appears, turns a blind eye to anything that does not obviously fit his thesis." Jane Feaver • Poetry Review
"What was the most expensive work of poetry in 2015?" Gregory Cowles NYT
"It’s possible to speak of a mental calm in the act of composition which opens the mind to progressive thought and enlarges its resources by overcoming the inhibitions created by anxiety. It’s a quality of the text rather than the author, though I think certain mental habits must be conducive to it." Peter Riley Fortnightly Review
"I am not writing epic poetry although I like what Milton said about lyric poets drinking wine while epic poets should drink water from a wooden bowl. I would like to drink wine from a wooden bowl or to drink water from an emptied bottle of wine." Anne Boyer • Bookforum
"The erotic doesn’t operate on the level of nouns. The proliferation of certain kinds of nouns we might be conditioned to regard as “erotic” doesn’t actually make the text, nor even the nouns themselves, erotic." Mia You • Jacket2
"Brooke’s reputation, or symbolism, rather, as doomed promise destroyed by war, reached its zenith in the interwar period. An international committee (Cavafy was a member) founded by Belgian poet and intellectual Paul Vanderborght organized the creation and establishment of the memorial, which was to be set on a plinth of Skyrian marble—400,000 drachmas (a princely sum) were raised by public subscription for the monument alone. Then there was the question of where to put it." AE Stallings • Hudson Review
"Middleton’s verve is such that what begins as an academic exercise will suddenly take an imaginative leap in a wholly unexpected direction." Marius Kociejowski • Guardian
"Twelve years of close textual study have led us to conclude that this is indeed the most likely explanation, but some critics have been more hesitant about jumping to conclusions." John Crace • Guardian
"The racism and mirthless obscenity of the King Bolo pieces, like the utterly tedious Columbiad, are a form of punishment, like being locked in at the Ivy League equivalent of an interminable rugby club dinner. Hamlet says of his father, ‘He was a man. Take him for all in all’, and we must do the same for Eliot, while wondering how grateful he himself might be for such liberal consideration." Sean O'Brien • Independent "Does this edition matter? Of course. I am so pleased to have lived to see it. “Eliot wrote nothing that is not of interest,” said Ricks at an event at the British Library on Monday. Is it where to begin? Of course not. “Anyone who reads Larkin for the first time in that edition [the scholarly Archie Burnett] needs his head seen to,” said Ricks. “Or her head. Equal opportunities.”" David Sexton • Evening Standard "Ricks has written of his dislike of “intertextuality”, preferring “allusion”, but the Eliot echo chamber mapped in the notes is distinguished by the amount of references it turns up to Milton, Keats and Tennyson – favourite poets of Ricks – rather than to a poet such as Yeats, who is less favoured by that editor. “These fragments I have shored against my ruins,” Eliot writes at the end of The Waste Land. Might the sheer mass of allusions uncovered in Eliot’s simplest utterance be sand-bags piled against the hostile claims of canonical rivals?" David Wheatley • Guardian
"In the aftermath of a poet’s death, images become metaphors; metaphors, symbols; and symbols turn into neon signs. Gestures otherwise innocent come to mean more than they should." William Logan • New Criterion
"Three forms inspire Bluets: the philosophical tract, the lyric poem, and the autobiography. Where it is philosophical, it borrows from a form of writing perfected by early twentieth-century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, whose books suggest order because their propositions (or mini-arguments) are numbered but whose writing subverts that order because the argument posited in one proposition is often reversed in the next, a method Wittgenstein called “pulling the rug out from under the reader.” The experience is destabilizing but also intimate: his reversals allow his readers to think with him. " Jocelyn Parr on Maggie Nelson • Brick
"The self-scrutiny of his earlier work is still there, but there is more light than darkness in the imagery, as the imperative persists to bear witness and to give expression to the realities of human life in all its complexity and imperfection." Mairin Nic Eoin • Irish Times
"As I read postwar British poetry fully, I became less enamoured with the Movement tones of Phillip Larkin or Donald Davie and reviled their small, digestible, miserable artifacts of everyday British life, what Andrew Duncan likens to the 1950s domestic white goods of an individualist capitalist economy. If we believe the historical rewrite of pro-Movement critics, the Georgian poets had all but done away with early modernist experimentation. Gradually as I labored through postwar British poetry, the technical, lyrical sameness — a self-assured universal “voice” — began to rise from the pages, forming into homogenous, efficient, and consumable vehicles of meaning. The conservative, mainstream British poem behaved like modernism had never happened. Its low-risk game of truth and meaning left little room for nuanced poetic subjectivities that challenged the singular British voice." Sandeep Parmar • LARB
"[His] sole purpose in choosing to write in English rather than Russian was to get closer to Auden, “the man whom I considered the greatest mind of the twentieth century”. Andrew McCulloch • TLS
"“There was a chap working there who was very different from the others. He was grumpy and he was older, and differently dressed, and I learned that that was Basil Bunting." Mark Knopfler • The Chronicle
"The politics of Utter comes ultimately, then, not in its readiness to champion and answer to old categories and interpellated postcolonial identities, but in fact in its fierce refusal of easy reading or reduction." Vivek Narayaran on Vahni Capildeo • Caribbean Review of Books
"[Christopher] Middleton, whose verse is generally spoken of as "experimental", was a restless spirit among poets, which went hand in hand with a life-long compulsion to travel – he was a regular visitor to France, Germany and Turkey, for example. Few poets have been quite so fully steeped in the literature of other tongues. He belonged to no school or movement, and he is quite impossible to place or to pigeon-hole." Michael Glover • Independent
"Rankine mulls over several highly publicised sports events (with Serena Williams, the Rutgers University women’s basketball team, and an Algerian footballer) where the bright light of international television captures racially situated aggressions. These public performances do the work of solidifying, making real through a poetic archiving that which is often denied." Anton Nimblett • Caribbean Review of Books
"It would be nice if poetry wrote itself. Occasionally, when I was younger, I had the feeling that it did: poems were likely to be written quickly, in a flush of enthusiasm it pleased (flattered) me to call inspiration. Sometimes so quickly that in some kind of weird hippocampal storm I had the feeling I was remembering something and copying it down rather than making it up as I went along. Those were the best times." Caitriona O'Reilly • Trumpet
"It was also soon established how everybody in the room felt about Philip Larkin." Michael Caines • TLS
"‘National Poet’: it’s the kind of designation that can seal up the pleasure to be had from the poems, like a mausoleum." Vona Groarke • Poetry Ireland Review
"As writers’ primary access to artworks throughout the twentieth century, museums and galleries, and their coffee table style publications, have operated as regulators for twentieth century ekphrasis – the verbal representation of visual representation – by limiting the available source materials and directing the ways in which they are processed. The result has been largely homogenising, with ekphrastic poetry dealing predominantly in the fine art of white, Western males, and exhibiting a poetic approach that mimics an art critical-historical one, asking readers to view the pieces in question as ‘timeless repositories of human wisdom’." Sophie Collins • Prac Crit
"Voyage demonstrates the elements that formulate an identity, inform a life. There is the personal—the “I” as an agent, a witness, a mind and body present. There is also the historical—all the shit that precedes one’s birth that has an impact, now, even when it traces back to antiquity. [Robin Coste] Lewis asks, “What can History possibly say?” Everything and nothing, it seems." Diana Arterian • The Rumpus
"Bringing this new selection of Tanikawa’s vast output together from his sixty plus published collections was surely no easy ask, but the representative offering presented here offers a compact, easily navigable, albeit at times unbalanced resource to those readers already familiar with the poet and perhaps looking for an abbreviated hit. It also provides a sprawling, exciting gateway for those brand new and looking to get into Tanikawa’s poetry." Simon Haworth • Manchester Review
"Few books evoke place as much as this one evokes the entirety of the natural world." John Findura • Tarpaulin Sky
"My Blake, the radical visionary poet of the 1960s, seems almost old-fashioned now. I realize how many other Blakes there have been, both before and since." Richard Holmes • NYRB

"Attention to the moral character of the art at its most public is long over-due. Quite apart from the always-rumoured fixing of awards, there is an ugly history of substance abuse that needs to be acknowledged and put behind us." Michael Schmidt • PN Review
"Wallace Stevens warned that it is in the nature of the modern imagination to always feel oneself at “the end of something” but there are too many factors converging at the moment not to feel that some kind of crossroads has been reached." John Fanning • DRB "For Bernstein, the consumer has replaced the reader in today’s privileged interpretive communities." Cassandra Seltman • LARB
"When I taught for five years it was murder. To be part of something that absorbed you, took care of you, and named you. It made me feel like I was dying. People make their peace with these things, but I’m much better at being in a profession like poetry where it would just be with me as I fell or as I rose. Whatever happened I could keep writing poems." Eileen Myles • New Republic
"The animus against ‘1940s poetry’ remains automatic and unquestionable." Peter Riley responds to Roger Caldwell • PN Review
“The Irish-speaking world was where you could talk about things like bringing the stallion to the mare, but of course you couldn’t do that in middle-class convent English. If you didn’t know Irish you wouldn’t really ever, I think, get the feel of my poetry. It’s just part of me.” Maire Mhac an tSaoi • Irish Times
"Benjamin Péret, one of the chief mediums, would throw himself on the floor, which he took for the surface of the sea, and make swimming movements. When asked what he saw, he would answer: water. Water the colour of water." Agnieszka Taborska • Asymptote

"In an essay titled “The Present State of Poetry” in American Poetry at Midcentury, Delmore Schwartz recalled: “In 1936 Stevens read his poems for the first time at Harvard—it was probably the first time he had ever read his poetry in public—and the occasion was at once an indescribable ordeal and a precious event. Before and after reading each poem, Stevens spoke of the nature of poetry…the least sound counts, he said, the least sound and the least syllable. His illustration of this observation was wholly characteristic: he told of how he had wakened that week after midnight and heard the sounds made by a cat walking delicately and carefully on the crusted snow outside his house.”" Susan Howe • The Nation
"Hofmann’s line has been called prosaic. But while the rhythms are certainly depressur­ized, every word feels artfully chosen and placed, and the vocabulary is phenomenally rich. " Mick Imlah • Wild Court
"In many ways, Carl Phillips reminds me of John Ashbery, a poet I admire, but mostly, these days, from afar. For many, Ashbery’s elusive presence in poetry has been life- and mind-altering. For me, feeling lost so much of the time, it heightens a loneliness that’s already there. So I wonder about the thrill I feel reading Phillips, who is also elusive, also playing with different registers of language, also willing to go much further into unreality than I ever would or could." Jonathan Farmer • Slate
"Citizen is a poem precisely because modernism happened and continues. First and foremost that means the TS Eliot of The Waste Land. And like many seminal, iconoclastic works since (Ginsberg’s Howl, Ashbery’s Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror) – the very first readers and critics judged what Eliot produced not to be poetry, exactly, but rather “a puzzle”, a “documentary”, “as near to poetry as our generation is at present capable of reaching”." Adam Fitzgerald Guardian
"[Jorie] Graham is, along with John Ashbery and Frederick Seidel, one of the very few living American poets to have advanced a worldly, Modernist model of the poem into the 21st century. She has seized for her own uses a patrimony rich with philosophical and linguistic experimentation, bypassing the sort of small-scale, homegrown free verse that has come to dominate the journals and university programs and public-radio stations of our time." Ange Mlinko • The Nation
"I wanted to bring together a selection of such poems in their depiction and response to ‘war’ in the process of identifying inclusiveness as a principle: of soldiering and reactions to war from both participants and civilians alike; from ‘professional’ poets, to those who have made poetic responses: an anthological statement that embraces the reality of the Irish experience, rather than one that reads such experience from an exclusively ideological position of either nationalism or unionism, the counterparts of Irish chauvinism or anglophone insularity." Gerald Dawe • Irish Times
"An amalgam of Tony Blair and Jimmy Saville (which I take it to be) is meaningless unless all harm, sexual, political, commercial or anything, is one harm. That it is, is a fundamental belief in this whole dynamic and virtuosic line in recent British poetry, deriving ultimately from Cambridge poetry and sometimes almost explicitly proclaiming its belief in the corruption of the entire globe or the Fall of Man." Peter Riley • Fortnightly Review
"Insofar as there is a grand theme to [Nathaniel] Mackey’s poetry, it is the lamentation of sublimity’s evanescence. If it were objected that this “theme” is no theme but a necessary condition for most lyric poetry, I could only answer that Mackey’s project is vast." John Tamplin • The Volta

"So too for hoyoot: for all their investment in labor history and folk history, Pickard’s poems possess a political urgency that gives them a startlingly contemporary feel. Their lasting value is their live rebuke to the forces of political reaction wherever and whenever they appear." Andrew Peart • Chicago Review
"The ambitious young intellectual buys himself a laptop, rents himself some friends, and settles down in Brooklyn to write poetry, poetry, and more poetry. He blogs, and tweets, and puts his new poems on Facebook. Everyone loves him. Everyone whispers in his ear how brilliant he is." William Logan • Battersea Review

"As a monologue, it’s ridiculous: evil might be banal, but it doesn’t sound like that. As poetry, though, it’s astonishing: the line-break flagging the additional meaning latent in ‘home’ (‘home in on’), the swing of ambiguity in ‘hold steady on’, the ‘huge debt’ and the oozing eye invoking the terrifying vision of justice in Exodus 21:24 (‘eye for eye, tooth for tooth’)." John Clegg on JH Prynne • Poetry London
"Poetry is becoming progressively fluid, merging protest and performance into its practice. The era of Conceptual Poetry’s ahistorical nihilism is over and we have entered a new era, the poetry of social engagement." Cathy Park Hong • New Republic
"But recognition, no matter how prestigious, for one black writer is not enough." Angela Chen • Guardian
"Is the long-form poem making a comeback?" Roger Cox • Scotsman
"Bate’s account, then, gives the impression he has had access to two bits of communications which are not in the archive (an initial one from Olwyn Hughes elaborating on the “certain episode”, followed by a letter from Alvarez asking about the journals). His biography attributes to them evidence the archive does not hold. Olwyn Hughes’s letter of 9 June 1988 may indeed imply that she suspected Plath and Alvarez’s relationship to be different from that hitherto portrayed, but her letter details no grounds for the suspicion or for credence in Bate’s salacious vignette, and neither does Alvarez’s reply." William Wootten • Guardian "He also makes significant allegations about the centrality of Al Alvarez, the critic who helped to establish Hughes and Plath as harbingers of a new poetics and who may have been, Bate alleges, Plath’s final confidant and Wevill’s spurned lover." John McAuliffe • Irish Times " I am always happy for interested parties to consult me privately about my sources, especially if they do so before making assertions in the press." Jonathan Bate • Guardian
"This doesn’t for a moment mean that we’ve steered away from work that deals with women’s bodies and details of the female experience. Rather, we’ve tended to want to represent work that I might describe as quite brutal. Work that shows women as fearless satirists, politicians, rigorous intellectuals and brilliant comics, with a perspective that is, in my view, all the more valuable for its present novelty in the public realm, albeit no less universal than a man’s." Sophie Collins • Cordite
"The “New American” can be a clear, lapidary style, but often in the pursuit of sprezzatura one is merely left with spontaneity (see aforementioned anthology). Garrulousness is the biggest pitfall. Stray thoughts, dumb thoughts, blowharding, and attitudinizing have nowhere to hide." Ange Mlinko • Poetry
"James [Fenton]’s “For Andrew Wood” is now much read at funerals, and will replace, at my guess, that poem of Auden’s made famous by that film. So his private poems, have, in a way, become as public as his public ones." Julian Barnes • Guardian
"In its resourcefulness and diverse forms, Due North stands out because it isn’t like other British poetry being written. It is a book of voices, historical, self-conscious, critical, unrelenting." Evan Jones • Guardian
"Lit mags are idealistic gestures that speak to niche audiences: they are quiet conversations in a very noisy room." Emmett Stinson • Sydney Review of Books
"Hewitt might have allowed himself to be forgotten were it not for the enthusiasm of the younger, and more famous, John Montague. Montague negotiated a Collected Poems with MacGibbon and Kee in the late ’60s and organised a crucial tour of Northern Ireland that may have re-attached Hewitt to the Belfast that had rejected him." Thomas McCarthy • Irish Examiner
"Rankine’s suggestion that commodity culture is killing us is nothing new—modernism, as always, got their first." Lisa Siraganian • Nonsite
"It’s notable that the poets quoted by party political leaders have almost always not only written in English, but been of English origin: never Scottish, never Welsh. (Gordon Brown misquoted Goethe, without naming him, in 2009: ‘And so I urge you, as the poet said, “dream not small dreams because they cannot change the world.”’)" MG Zimeta • LRB
"So long as it remains a gated community of white privilege, disdainful of more “popular” forms like spoken word, the avant-garde cannot claim to be radical." Andrea Brady • The Conversation
"I’m in New York. And now that I’ve made you jealous I can strike that off of my bucket list. Wish you were here." Rowan Ricardo Phillips • Little Star
"Allen Curnow was wanting to be rid of weak nationalist self-assertions, the ‘Kowhai Gold’ kind of thing, that offered the picturesque – tuis and bellbirds, ‘scenic’ bush, mountains and seas, and romantic ‘pioneering’– rather than the tormented inner conscience of the nation." CK Stead • NZ Poet Laureate
"In fact, even before the performance, Goldsmith’s “brand” was in trouble. His PoMo for Dummies “no history because of the internet” declarations became absurdly irrelevant when black men were dying at the hands of cops." Cathy Park Hong • New Republic

"Finally, the poet may wish to use, as epigraph, lines from poets in his or her own poetry cohort. The seeming impulse, here, is to forward the work of friends, to start a conversation between equals, or to begin a school. All of which is bad enough. But the true impulse behind such epigraph is, of course, colonial: to be the poet who first quotes another poet, to plant a flag in uncharted territory. This is the Epigraph of Incest, and it is the worst example of epigraph, since it is exploitative, since its violence is friend on friend, and since it opens up the quoted poem to the epigraph hunters of the future, and therefore brings about—and is—the quoted poem's first death." Josh Bell • Diagram
"Williams’s next book, With Ignorance (1977), would introduce the innovation with which he was most associated. Though critics would see the influence of Walt Whitman in the long line that became Williams’s trademark, it was a formal strategy that he put to very different ends, “making room”, as he said, “for consciousness”, as well as continually renovating the poetic space that it opened up." Ahren Warner • Guardian "“I wasn’t a particularly intellectual kid,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “What I was, was a really bored kid. I read everything I could get my hands on.” He also grew to be 6-foot-5 and was recruited to Bucknell University in Pennsylvania to play basketball." Martin Weil • Washington Post

New poems

Galina Rymbu Music and Literature

Conceição Lima, tr. David Shook World Literature Today

Michael Longley Poetry London

Ange Mlinko Poetry

Xiao Kaiyu Asymptote

CD Wright Poetry

Douglas Dunn Guardian

Steven Heighton Eighteen Bridges

Peter McDonald The Irish Times

Dana Gioia Hudson Review

Elizabeth Arnold The Nation

DA Powell California Journal of Poetics

Tom French Manchester Review

Hester Knibbe Berfrois

CD Wright The Awl

Haydar Ergülen Asymptote

Amit Majmudar The New Criterion

JT Welsch Eborakon

Beverley Bie Brahic Manchester Review

Alexandra Oliver Partisan

John North Manchester Review

Cathal McCabe Manchester Review

Emily Berry Poetry Review

Jamie McKendrick Poetry Review

Kim Seung-Hee Asymptote

Thomas McCarthy PN Review

Sarah Howe Clinic

Ingrid Ruthig Matrix

Joseph Massey Hyperallergic

Jana Prikryl The Nation

Liz Berry Compass

Rachael Allen The Quietus

Tara Bergin Blackbox Manifold

Chris Andrews Blackbox Manifold

Vona Groarke Turbine

Medbh McGuckian The Harlequin

Robin Fulton Macpherson The Dark Horse

Dorothea Lasky Prac Crit

Claudia Emerson Blackbird

Lyn Hejinian Coconut

Anne Carson New Yorker

Frank Bidart Threepenny Review

Henri Cole Paris Review

Caroline Bird Poetry

Brandon Courtney Memorious

Vahni Capildeo Prac Crit

Jennifer Moore Memorious

Sam Buchan-Watts Likestarlings

Crispin Best Queen Mob's Teahouse

Martyn Crucefix Blackbox Manifold

James Schuyler Paris Review

Dylan Thomas PN Review

Crispin Best Robot Melon

Tom Pickard The Nation

Adam Fitzgerald New Republic

Jaswinder Bolina At Length

Olga Pek B O D Y

Paul Muldoon The Nation

Esther Lin Cortland Review

Lawrence Joseph The Nation

Daisy Lafarge Poetry London

Blunt Research Group Chicago Review

Rodney Jones Smartish Pace / Poetry Daily

Lawrence Joseph Commonweal

Ada Limon Compose

Ben Okri Guardian

Ross Gay Waxwing

William Logan New Criterion

CK Williams Manchester Review


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