The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
"Giving an answer closes a door, and in teaching you never want to do that. You want to stand in the doorway and make some interesting gestures so they’ll come in, but you never want to push them in and slam the door. They won’t learn anything there." Anne Carson in conversation with Kevin McNeilly • UNSAID / Canadian Literature
"I’ve found over and over that they want to escape the inhibiting quality of Form as a hieratic, imposed felicity. They want to devise a form that allows them to do things. Pound expressed it by saying his greatest contribution to younger poets was enabling them to get things back into poems—to make historical references, for example. This recurring groping for an open form can be traced through the whole history of European literature." Jack Gilbert in conversation with Gordon Lish • UNSAID / Genesis West
"[T]o actually make art we have to turn it all off and walk away, let it bake in the oven at 425 degrees for 33 and 1/3 minutes. When we return, it’s like magic or it’s a total failure." Matt Hart • H_NGM_N
"To Langpos who once claimed a mission of institutional and social critique we now have Conpos openly wallowing in its exhaustion: a mission now stood on its purported Marxian head, purged and retooled for ready framing and exhibit in the highest cultural quarters." Kent Johnson • Lana Turner
"Those of us of Thorn’s generation didn’t document our musical lives beyond some ticket stubs and the odd snap. Lacking the frame by frame archive of social media or the cameraphone makes it easy to confuse a collective memory with your own. You can start out with a confident ‘I was there’ and find yourself quickly reduced to ‘was I?’" Lavinia Greenlaw LRB
"This is not a gimmick. This is real and it is hard. Oulipo schmoulipo." Truong Tran • Evening Will Come
"I believe failure in activism is often a deficiency of lyricism—an inability to collapse time and distance, a refusal to surprise or 'make it new,' a willingness to calcify into rigid and limiting expectations, a closure to self-transformation, an unconsidered we or you, to name just a few. I believe social quests for freedom have much to learn from freedom enacted on the page." Solmaz Sharif • Evening Will Come
"Erasure is an unrequited art. It expresses our desire to forget and, at the same time, the impossibility of forgetting." Jennifer Chang • Evening Will Come

"The question of just how “contemporary” the Breakwater Book is is a difficult one, and not unrelated to the question of how well it represents the writing that is taking place in Newfoundland in the present moment." Troy Jollimore • Globe & Mail
"And to an unidentified correspondent, Hardy professes himself 'unable to recommend any handbook for the cultivation of the Poetic Faculty. Reading good poetry is the usual course'." Angelique Richardson • TLS
"In Dickinson’s fascicles and sets of unbound poems, in which other critics have found interrelated sequences or even narrative arcs, Socarides finds the 'sheet' to be the primary unit of composition, reining in readings to the space of a single page. The 'poems are the paper,' she writes." Gillian Osborne • Boston Review
"The uneasy relationship between the intellectual—and what fraction of poets in this volume don’t carry advanced degrees?—and the laborer is not new, and is not much changed. But the point is that the pastoral has always been about limited power relative to the world—it has held up a mirror to the heroic and shown a representative person who, in Alpers’s words, “is able to sing out his dilemmas and pain, but . . . is unable to act so as to resolve or overcome them, or see them through to their end.”" Jesse Lichtenstein • Harp & Altar
"‘You’d Better Think Twice’ is more than all right in its darkening of Dylan’s break-up classic ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right’ and in the pregnant positioning of the rhyme word ‘If’ on a line of its own; or the references in separate songs to Eliot’s and Stalin’s anti-Semitism, the tasteless hyperbole wryly nodding to the ethnicity of such beloved influences as Dylan, Cohen, Irving Berlin, the Gershwins and Paul Simon. Muldoon has, rightly, thought more than twice about what he is doing." Adam Crothers PN Review
"I loved Marius Kociejowski’s poetry not because it was Canadian but because of his quite remarkable ear. Line by line it does amazing things, and he feels and thinks deeply and draws in the wake of his poems a huge amount of material rather than a birdless silence. Norm Sibum’s work I loved not because he was Canadian, which in a sense he isn’t, but because he wrote the kinds of poems I always wanted to be able to write with big narratives, differentiated voices, that were rooted in things I valued and attitudes I valued." Michael Schmidt • Canadian Notes & Queries
"The state in Russia fears the poet because, beginning with Pushkin, he (or she) is a power independent of the state and insubordinate to the state, a power just as sacred—the representative of another country, but one that falls within the borders of the same empire." Mikhail Shishkin • New Republic
"Obviously I read all the major new books by American, UK, Irish poets, and indeed beyond. For leisure, I read non-fiction, mostly." Paul Muldoon • The White Review
"[Pound] did not visit [Ireland] until 1965 when he stopped off in Dublin en route to Italy from London (where he had attended TS Eliot’s memorial service) to meet WB Yeats’s widow, Georgie. Nearly 50 years earlier he had been best man at her wedding. Her daughter Anne Yeats, who was at the meeting, recalled in 1990 that neither Georgie nor Pound spoke a single word during their time together" Stephen Wilson • Irish Times
"In Perloff’s universe one needs to access feeling (we’ll gets to this later) in an avant garde way. The difficulty is that when you put it that way it’s no longer aesthetics. You’re talking about class. When she describes language poetry as having “provided a serious challenge to the delicate lyric of self-expression and direct speech…” I feel bad for the limp wristed word delicate because it sure takes the hit of Marjorie’s contempt. In a bit she will explain for us how she traded up to conceptualism because (sigh) by the 90s language poetry “felt [my emphasis] compelled to be more inclusive with respect to gender, race and ethnic diversity,” and then, “it became” (exasperated) “difficult to tell what was a language poem.”" Eileen Myles • Evening Will Come
"And within architecture I chose the area that was as far from poetry as possible, which was the calculus of structures, and I’m a specialist in the calculus of structures. This was one of the things I got most right in my life. In my work as an architect I have always been very closely related with the work itself. I’m a man who does the field work. When I went to visit the work every day the first thing I did was to look for the bars around it. When I’d found one that was fairly quiet and well-hidden from the work—any work of architecture takes one or two years, and every week you go to visit the work—I always went a couple of hours early, and I went to the bar to be a poet. So from poetry to calculus of structures I passed in a matter of seconds. If you’re writing scripts for the radio, in contrast, you can’t make that step so quickly." Joan Margarit • Quarterly Conversation
"Jules Supervielle is in heaven." Peter Sirr • DRB
"This is liberal guilt at war with itself, unable to “barber its own hook clean.” Yet, like the other poems in this collection, this one “is made above all of words disarranged / to resemble an obvious truth.” " Stephen Ross on Joshua Corey • Wave Composition

"A poet who might have taught him not by slogan but example is Geoffrey Hill, whose sense of ‘pitch’ – a legacy from Hopkins – is to do with inherence, the poet occupying the poem rather than vacating it by means of irony or fragmentation. Successful inherence makes a poem accountable and impossible to parody. By contrast, tone is performative, voice controlled by a will outside the voice." Michael Schmidt on a new anthology • PN Review
"[The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry] is a seasoned critic’s effort not to replicate past occlusions in the name of tradition, when she could instead offer a view of the twentieth century’s poetry from the perspective of the twenty-first. If certain 'better-known authors' receive less space than they have in the past, it is so that today’s students can better know other authors whose importance has been obscured by factors quite apart from their aesthetic abilities or achievements." Evie Shockley • Boston Review
"There was obviously a pressure to innovate in the art/poetry context which for the poets meant a careful violation of what was considered the proper (weighty) substance of poetry, by intense, “abstract” configurations as much as by anti-poetical everyday banter. I find it impossible to know what the balance will finally be between recognition of the remarkable, original, moving and sometimes profound poetry made possible in this unusual context, and a verdict which considers it as all little more than a set of aestheticist gestures, 1890s style, thrown up by a manipulated market. But there is no doubt that all three of the poets under review used the situation they were in to extend the conceptual bounds of poetry on the basis of quite traditional lyrical skills which always show through the dazzling web in one way or another." Peter Riley on New York poets • Fortnightly Review
"To immerse oneself in Bidart’s work is to enter a crowd of scary, unusual characters: artistic geniuses, violent misfits, stunted failures and dramatic self-­accusers (including, in some of his guises, the poet himself)." Stephen Burt • NYT
"While reading this collection, I was aware that I was carrying with me a piece of biographical information that try as I might, I couldn’t ignore: Caroline Bird’s first collection ‘was published when she was just fifteen’. So for the first read through, this remarkable fact may as well have been a header on every page; a fact guaranteed to set the bar impossibly high, along with a challenge not to weigh every line, brilliant or mediocre against it." Janet Rogerson • Manchester Review
"These days, the main differences between a poet and most indie musicians are the freedom to reach out, and a willingness to work at it." Tasha Golden • Ploughshares
"Later, you hold up, as a counterpoint to Heaney, Yeats, a man who “does not hedge.” But Yeats was a veritable king of ambivalence, a writer captivated equally by the costs and the enchantments of his homeland’s “terrible beauty.” Cherry-picking a few lines from “Easter 1916” doesn’t exempt WBY from the same criticisms you lob at Heaney, though it does demonstrate how self-questioning can lend a poem complexity, depth, even greatness." Katy Waldman on Mark Edmundson • Slate
"Leavis wrote that T.S. Eliot’s poems “express a modern sensibility, the ways of feeling, the modes of experience, of one fully alive in his own age.” The same can be said of [Daisy] Fried." Melinda Wilson • Coldfront

New poems

Danniel Schoonebeek Brooklyn Poets

Elaine Feinstein PN Review

Jindřich Štyrský Twisted Spoon

Anne Cecilia Holmes Sixth Finch

Grey Gowrie New Statesman

Elizabeth Wade Diagram

Rebecca Goss Shadowtrain

Anna Jackson Ka Mate Ka Ora

Maurice Riordan New Statesman

Bernard O'Donoghue New Statesman

Henri Cole Threepenny Review

Henri Cole Paris Review

James Galvin Poetry

Evan Jones Canadian Notes and Queries

Johannes Göransson Culture Strike

Mary Ruefle American Poetry Review

Sean Hewitt Poetry

James Byrne Poetry International

Sarah Howe Likestarlings

Jessica Greenbaum Cortland Review

Anthony Madrid B O D Y


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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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