The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
"When Daphne was changed into a laurel tree in Metamorphosis, her first awareness began with finding "her feet benumb'd and fastened to the ground." So the woman in [Michael] Schmidt's poem will "stand/ On trunks for feet and pray/ Like Laura turned to tree/ With bough and bloom …"" Carol Rumens • Guardian
"In the midst of mocking his project, [Giacomo Leopardi] cannot resist comparing the Zibaldone to life itself in its immensity, opposing life with a counter-life of his own design, self-created, a little cosmos won from chaos." Brian Patrick Eha • American Reader
"You may remember him as the dude who’s played every poet in Harold Bloom’s The Western Canon." Michael Lista on James Franco • National Post
"[Paul Engle's] career was a long slow slide from full-throated poetic aspiration into monochromatic administrative greatness—a modern story if there ever was one." Eric Bennett • Chronicle Review
"We Americans are populist in all the wrong places. We’re a nation that can’t funnel enough money to our failing banks, our pharmaceutical firms and our military contractors, but when it comes to dead and difficult poets we stand on our hind legs and become bravely anti-elitist. (This is assuming that adjunct professors and poets neck deep in M.F.A. debt meet your definition of “elite.”)" Chase Madar • Al Jazeera America
"To look at an object is a spiritual activity; it is not mechanical. The object is not there, you see. The object is only there when your mind meets it." Etel Adnan in conversation with Lisa Robertson • Bomb
"Judges Robert Bringhurst (Canada), Jo Shapcott (UK) and C.D. Wright (USA) each somehow read 539 books of poetry, from 40 countries, including 24 translations, between the annual deadline for submission to the prize (31 December) and the 8 April press release: approximately five and a half books per day. " PN Review on the Griffin Poetry Prize
"[W]e recognize the dialectic that we believe continues to structure architectural knowledge: Modification vs. Frugality. Enough of the Least." Lisa Robertson • Winter Anthology
"Borges had lived in Europe between 1914 and 1921, and the forty-six poems he gathered in Fervor de Buenos Aires reflect what he found upon returning to Argentina." Graciela Mochkofsky • Paris Review
"I’m not, customarily, big on walking in the forest unless there’s a Hansel and Gretel Bar & Grill about 300 yards in, but I’m glad I did." August Kleinzahler • LRB
"The difference in modes was an affair of scale, nay entire orders of magnitude, as interpretation zoomed out from the consideration of a whole poem to that of a whole culture. And there lay the trouble: where the quantitative shift in focus was so enormous, you had to worry lest it entail a qualitative change in attentiveness." Herbert Tucker • Winter Anthology
"But it wasn’t Merrill’s facility in the language that drew him to Greece: just the opposite, in fact. Though he spoke French, German and some Italian and had studied ancient Greek at Yale, demotic Greek was new to him when he first arrived on the continent. That lack of facility in the language lent mystery and glamor to his encounters there." April Lindner • CPRW
"How could you identify a nearly Baroque poem if you saw one? Nearly Baroque poems exhibit elaborate syntax and sonic patterning, without adopting pre-modernist forms (they never look or sound like Richard Wilbur)." Stephen Burt • Boston Review
"With Boland it is always more than the poems, though. The theoretical garden where the poems grow is a product of invented belonging, a deliberate, Yeats-like act by someone who was never at home in a simply defined Irish house." Thomas McCarthy • Irish Examiner
"Places are, of course, not exchangeable, but in [John] Mateer’s roaming imaginary they become, at least to some extent, drawn into a kind of codification of broad historical tendencies and movements." Paul Hetherington • Sydney Review of Books
"The paradox is that although the documents were bought by the British Library with taxpayers' money, and can be seen by anyone, the right to quote at length from them rests with the estate." Jonathan Bate • Guardian
"Dante and Virgil are the only centres of dignity in the landscapes of Doré’s Divine Comedy: the condemned figures of Hell, who in life were kings, popes, and other prominent figures, are vulnerable and exposed, frightening and deformed. As the Greeks understood, satire has a shaming and savage edge; it does not, after all, have to be funny." Jennifer Thorp • Oxonian Review
"No. I didn't get any encouragement from [my parents] at all. I'm really glad about that. I can read a poet now and tell within a few lines if they have been encouraged by their parents. You know the ones who have been told from an early age: "It's marvellous Tarquin." It's invariably rotten." John Cooper Clarke • Observer
"Bill Knott’s voluble self-flagellation may have been some strange play for publicity, but the facts of his biography raise the uncomfortable possibility that at least some of his stunts—even, perhaps, his faked suicide—were expressions of unbearable inner turmoil." Robert P. Baird • New Yorker
"To hear Frost growling out “one stone on a stone” is to get the music of the whole argument of the poem in one’s head." David Yezzi • New Criterion
"Many of Moore’s poems, Leavell reminds us, feature “camouflaged and armored animals” that are “misunderstood, self-reliant, and invariably solitary”—a manifest reflection, of course, of Marianne’s own circumstances. But the poems, as any reader of Moore well knows, are the very opposite of cries of the heart. Mary, after all, read every word—so raw confession, or anything close to it, was not an option. Hence Marianne was forced to devise what amounted to a new type of poem, stunning at the time, not only for being syllabic in form (something which was previously all but unheard of in serious English poetry) but, perhaps even more so, for its extraordinary, even clinical, degree of precision and dispassion." Bruce Bawer • New Criterion
"“Compose” is what musical composers do, of course, but its older sense is “to put together,” to build, to construct. The “words” of a poem shouldn’t be chosen to please the ear, but to ambush reality." Dan Chiasson NYRB
"Well, poetry is in trouble. Poetry is troubled. The health of our literature is up for grabs and most definitely in question. For all that, critics pull on their jockstraps just like any garden variety athlete; we here, for one, do not understand why they are beheld with such awe." Norm Sibum • Encore
"Nor does Hopkins spare the celebrities of his day, hating the blank verse that 'the scare-crow misbegotten Browning crew' and others have ‘exuded’, adding ironically that 'the Brownings are very fine too in their ghastly way.'" Helen Vendler • LRB
"Mary Dalton, in her book of thirty-eight centos, Hooking, has, I’ll argue, taken great care in presenting a coherent thematic accruing in rage and environmental lament." Brian Palmu • Maisonneuve
"Women’s Poetry may be a good diagnostic tool for gauging one’s optimism about the state of poetry and the position of women in the field." Rebecca Hazelton on Daisy Fried • Poetry
"This was certainly the case in Manchester, where Poetry Nation (founded by Michael Schmidt and C. B. Cox in 1973, relaunched in 1976 as PN Review and still going strong) was published twice a year on a fraction of the New Review’s budget and at almost twice the cover price. (PN’s Arts Council subsidy in 1976/7: £2,100.) It was unremittingly hostile to the New Review and its Editor. Alan Munton depicted them as belonging to a decaying line in bourgeois humanism and Donald Davie questioned why a putsch on the London literary scene could never be mounted by literary-minded students from red-brick universities such as (say) Manchester, challenging the “Oxbridge stranglehold on our literary life”." David Collard • TLS
"For if we date the onset of Ashbery’s late period to around 1987 (the year he published April Galleons), we will have to conclude that over the last quarter century he has written some of his most moving and lasting work—and, as a corollary, some of his funniest." Stephen Ross • Shearsman
"Almost Invisible, Strand’s thirteenth collection and one that consists entirely of riddling prose poems (the man himself won’t deign to give them that dubious classification, though it’s really the only halfway useful one), is, if nothing else, evidence of the teetering line between good and bad poetry. Every poem’s success hangs in a fine linguistic balancing act: a fact that poets forget at their peril." Ben Wilkinson • Poetry Review
"There is no great originality of thought in Housman. That is to say there are no underlying insights that have never been expressed before; but the demand that there should be such would have silenced all poets since Shakespeare at the latest. A lack of originality is not the same as shallowness." Anthony Daniels • New Criterion

New poems

Erica Wright Gulf Coast

Vijay Seshadri Singapore Poetry

Matt McBride Offending Adam

Srikanth Reddy Winter Anthology

Rowan Williams Guardian

Donna Stonecipher Winter Anthology

Vidyan Ravinthiran White Review

Donna Stonecipher Molly Bloom

Stevie Howell Best American Poetry

Michael Prior Malahat Review

Bernadette Hall Best New Zealand Poems

Thomas McCarthy Irish Times

Gregory O'Brien Best New Zealand Poems

Kris Anderson The Lifeboat

Louise Gluck Threepenny Review

Joe Dunthorne The White Review

David Constantine Herald Scotland

Grace Chia Singapore Poetry

Ange Mlinko The Wolf

Iain Britton Fortnightly Review

Christian Wiman New Criterion

Paul Muldoon Poetry Review


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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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