The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
"He was anti-existential, like MacDiarmid impatient with what he saw as the ontological 'fuss' of the likes of Kierkegaard, instead seeing proper action, and 'courage' in the naming-of-all-things." Tom Leonard remembers Edwin Morgan • Blackbox Manifold
"The work of the soulful Chinese wandering poets, Li Bai and Du Fu, or the Japanese Buddhist priest Yoshida Kenkō, whose Essays in Idleness,dating from the early fourteenth century, reflect on the immersed intensity of life lived apart from public agitations: “What a strange, demented feeling it gives me when I realize I have spent whole days before this inkstone, with nothing better to do, jotting down at random whatever nonsensical thoughts have entered my head.” Sven Birkerts • Lapham's Quarterly
"Is there a link between journalism and poetry?" Roy Greenslade on Olivia O'Leary and Seamus Heaney • Guardian
"Often he travelled about to get the Mediterranean sun or to give lectures. Then he had 'talked myself tired drunk port wine been paid compliments what else is fame.' Yeats effortlessly throws off epigrams that add to the total wisdom of the ages. 'Is not love being idle together happy in it. Working together being happy in it is friendship.' By this definition his relation with George passed after about six years from love to friendship. She remained the Dublin manager of Yeats Industries International." Adrian Frazier • Irish Times
"Vargas Llosa has written that ‘the realm of imagination became in Latin America the kingdom of objective reality’ and it would surely be a fine thing to have invented Bruno Tolentino, the poet, polemicist, Catholic apologist, pathological liar and convicted drug-smuggler. I cannot, alas, lay claim to this; he has, as it were, the merit of his own originality—no one more so." Chris Miller • PN Review
"In his early adulthood Miłosz saw the world plunge into evil, but unlike many of his friends and contemporaries he survived that evil and even outlived the repressive political system he had once believed to be an inescapable destiny for his nation. Disagreeing with Adorno, he believed that poetry was possible after Auschwitz and that just as there is the extermination camp, so also there is the flower, the wood, and spring." Enda O'Doherty • Dublin Review of Books
"Moreover, we end without knowing what happens next because being at home with unknowing is, one hopes, our hero’s destination." Timothy Donnelly introduces Dan Beachy-Quick • Boston Review
"If in Mexico I might have bumped into Rulfo and Arreola, in Chile the same was true of Nicanor Parra and Enrique Lihn, but I think the only writer I saw was Rodrigo Lira, walking fast on a night that smelled of tear gas." Roberto Bolaño • NYRB
"A striking description of the anxiety of choice occurs when Odysseus is trying to decide how to oust the suitors from his home. No course seems clear to him, and he tosses about in irresolution. The Robert Fitzgerald translation (which the authors usually prefer) says: '…He…rocked, rolling from side to side [entha kai entha], as a cook turns a sausage, big with blood / and fat, at a scorching blaze, without a pause, / to broil it quick: so he rolled left and right [entha kai entha], / casting about [mermērizōn] to see how he, alone, / against the false outrageous crowd of suitors / could press the fight.' Has there ever been a better presentation of the anxiety of choice, which our philosopher-authors tell us Homer knew nothing about?" Garry Wills • NYRB
"There is a measured elegiac air to Longley’s book that sometimes approaches the wistful, but the mortal soul’s inclination to sadness, to Weltschmerz, is pulled up time and again by a sense of gratitude for the world of delight, for life as pure gift." Theo Dorgan • Irish Times "Luckily, we trust him: 'How snugly the meadow pipit fits the merlin’s foot.'" Clive James • FT
"It is difficult to think of another poet whose style is so unmannered, whose tone is so engagingly true." Kenneth Sherman • Globe & Mail
"A poem’s salt takes a long time settling to the bottom." Anna Kamienska • Poetry
"Mess can challenge or disrupt the order of things; but it can also reveal an alternative order, one which is ‘richer’, that is to say a more suggestive and more imaginatively engaging and fruitful. [John] Clare prefers the wilderness of the bank overgrown with brambles and molehills to the carefully landscaped gardens with their laurel shades and gravel paths." Mina Gorji • Moveable Type
"In a long poem or a sequence of poems, you’re trying to formalize your obsessions and give them a shape and a name. The key is to realize if the connections you are making are ones with resonance. That is something a DJ does. A DJ draws a connection between two seemingly disparate things and says, 'Look, they are alike. You can dance to them.'” Kevin Young in conversation with Elizabeth Hoover • Paris Review
"What happens when writers—in this instance poets—move to other countries and so encounter different places, cultures and sets of experiences?" Rosita Boland • Irish Times
"[Jack] Spicer adapted the format of the established older poet vetting the emerging poet, turning to Federico García Lorca to introduce him even if the martyred Lorca had to do so from the grave. Understandably put out, Lorca begins: 'Frankly I was quite surprised when Mr. Spicer asked me to write an introduction for this volume.' And thus begins Spicer’s provocative poetics of engaging the dead in his literary practice." Peter Gizzi • The Sienese Shredder
"Auden wrote in the 1960s that 'a poem which was really like a political democracy... would be formless, windy, banal and utterly boring.'" Jeremy Noel-Tod • New Statesman
"Niceties don’t much interest him; nuance does. Mr. Murray’s verse wears, from the waist up, a cosmopolitan, Philip Larkin-like wit. From the waist down, it dresses in worn dungarees and mud-caked boots." Dwight Garner • NYT
"Were you a Futurist, an Acmeist, or a Symbolist following the footsteps of Blok? Pasternak was the latter, later explaining, in People and Situations, one of a series of early autobiographical sketches, his belief that reality was subjective but in a universal way and that an artist became immortal when the 'happiness of existence he experienced' and his innermost sensations were felt centuries on by other people." Michael Weiss • New Criterion
"Like the paintings—which typically zoom in on an embroidered tablecloth, an arrangement of flowers, or the varnished wood grain of a table—her poems discover, in their solitary moments of contemplation, a human connection." David Yezzi • New Criterion
"I've never believed that the imagination, the thing that made poems, is separate from the rest of life at all. It's a part of it." WS Merwin • Missoulian
"Similarly, there are stories about his death. In the best-known one, after he died both Hindus and Muslims laid claim to his body. A quarrel broke out but when they lifted the shroud they saw instead of the corpse a heap of flowers. The two communities divided the flowers and performed Kabir’s last rites, each according to its custom." AK Mehrotra on Kabir • Poetry
"The art of appearing artless is [Derek] Mahon's mature speciality: wry throwaway quotes (and self-quotes) simply 'go with the flow' of his imagism. The casual manner includes the rhyming pattern (non-symmetrical) and the rhymes, a characteristic, unobtrusive mix of para-rhyme, full rhyme, and the hardly-unusual but ever-pleasurable pairing of stressed and unstressed syllables ('brewing'/'sing')." Carol Rumens • Guardian
"[I]t seems important to keep the idea of an independent or unaffiliated—even 'bohemian'—intellectual alive, as also the idea of an avant-garde, however remote these specters are at the moment, however much arguments about their value are arguments about the past. They might be arguments about a future." Keith Tuma • Chicago Review
"Before submitting, be sure to check our web site for the upcoming THEME. Our Spring 2011 issue will be devoted to Poems about Spiders. Send us a poem about a flea or tiger, and we'll return it nine months later with a note scrawled across your cover letter that WE'RE ONLY READING POEMS ABOUT SPIDERS, STUPID! (If you don't have a poem with eight legs write one!)" David Alpaugh • Stride
"Every one of these artists and poets sought, in their various modes of art, the transfigured but still recognizable real, the recording of perceptions and banal facts almost for their own sakes, with as little metaphysical inflation as possible." Dan Chiasson • NYRB
"The new biographical fallacy results from the impulse to lumber an artist’s work with the detritus, literary and otherwise, of the artist’s life." April Bernard on Bishop • NYRB
"Much later, in verse published after his death, Yeats would ask about his early, popular romantic nationalist drama Cathleen ni Houlihan (1902), 'Did that play of mine send out/Certain men the English shot?' Fifty years later Muldoon made fun of the query: 'If Yeats had saved his pencil lead/Would certain men have stayed in bed?' From Yeats’s couplet and Muldoon’s rejoinder, Wood spins an argument about how passion in poetry (that apparently fruitless genre) can inspire a toxic politics devoted to apparently fruitless self-sacrifice." Stephen Burt • The Nation
"In the collection’s final poem, 'Previews,' the speaker goes to the movies with his family and discovers that the previews are not so different from the main feature." Piotr Florczyk on Dan Chiasson • Boston Review
"If [Paul] Muldoon’s poems suggest traditional music, it is so that they can play against it—as is probably true of the way his ‘three-car garage band’, Rackett, pitches itself against the more comfortable melodies of, say, Leonard Cohen. The band’s name (which I suddenly notice rhymes with ‘maggot’) tells you plenty about where he wants to take his stand." Bill Manhire • Poetry London
"It changed his entire perspective, reoriented his vision. The poet who had sung hymns to the wholeness of the human form, who had praised 'the body electric,' would soon turn his attention to the disfigured and maimed, to men who lay in the hospitals with arms and legs missing, bodies resembling meat, men who lay inert beneath the coarse woolen blankets, quietly suffering, the dying and the dead." Randall Fuller on Whitman • Humanities

New poems

James Galvin Threepenny Review

Laura McCullough Painted Bride Quarterly

Jac Jemc TRNSFR (pdf)

Helen Phillips Hotel St George

Clare Rossini Paris Review

JT Welsch Blackbox Manifold

Monica Mody Boston Review

Mikael de Lara Co Likhaan (pdf)

Stanley Moss PN Review

Telephone Project 2 At Length (pdf)

Telephone Project 1 At Length (pdf)

Hiromi Ito Granta

CJ Allen Manchester Review

Bernard O'Donoghue Manchester Review

Alexander Lumans The Collagist

Stephen Dunn Serving House Journal

Jensen Beach Sixth Finch

John Beer Poetry

Camille T Dungy Cave Wall

Elizabeth Robinson Conjunctions

Ross White The Collagist

GC Waldrep Harp & Altar

Kevin Young At Length (pdf)

Mirand Mellis Conjunctions

Amy King Octopus

Maurice Riordan Poetry London

Daisy Fried Poetry


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The Page is edited by John McAuliffe, Vincenz Serrano and, since September 2013, Evan Jones at the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester. It was founded in October 2004 by Andrew Johnston, who edited it until October 2009.
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