The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
"Brecht’s living influence ought to amount to more than – what, the estimable Billy Bragg. There has been a string of false dawns (but also false dusks) – publications, productions, adaptations, translations. Brecht’s standing in English seems a lot to pin on any one work or endeavour. But Stephen Parker’s Bertolt Brecht: A literary life is that rare thing, not only the biography of a genius, but itself a biography of genius. Parker, a Professor of German at Manchester, has written a foot perfect, detailed, fascinating and really inward book on a man who was plausibly described as “one of the most complicated human beings of the past fifty years”. It may well be the best literary biography I have read, the intricate demands of the subject met and unfussily answered by the insightful calm and nuanced decisiveness of the biographer." Michael Hofmann TLS
"The young players were accompanied by poets as they visited cemeteries and memorials, and the work they came up with was sent to McMillan, who used it to create the new work." Ian McMillan • Irish Examiner
"No mere adherer to form for form’s sake, Heaney proved himself capable throughout his career of ringing notes in a variety of forms from the sonnet to the villanelle and within these forms, employing a complex series of different stanza types, from his famous quatrains that featured in much of his 1970s poetry, to his variation of Dantean terza rima." Richard Rankin Russell • Irish Times "Guidebook, handbook, tribute album: the essays in this issue are even more than I hoped for." Vona Groarke • Irish Times / Poetry Ireland Review
"TS Eliot could be severe, but he was not nasty in those years, as later he sometimes became. In a letter to Desmond MacCarthy of October 8th, 1930, he adjudicated between DH Lawrence and Aldous Huxley: “Lawrence was a man who could say the same thing over and over without once becoming boring, whereas a feeling of tedium began to creep over me after one or two Huxley books.”" Denis Donoghue • Irish Times
"All of which means that, although of an earlier generation, the poet who most comes to mind when encountering Tonks is David Gascoyne. The comparison appears at first sight instructive: their best work written by their late thirties, a powerful sense of their own destinies as poets and of dissatisfaction with the flawed world which greeted them, descent into mental instability and then silence. But the contrast is equally illuminating; whereas Gascoyne’s voice matured from the Surrealist excesses of his youth into the most serious examination of man’s relationship to God and mortality – as in the sequence “Miserere” and the metaphysical poems – Tonks remains frozen at an early stage where the work has not yet settled. As with other poets, though not all, who stop writing young, she does not often get beyond an anger and an attitudinizing which are essentially adolescent." Hilary Davies • TLS
"Longley is fond of recalling a description, apparently Tennyson’s, of the lyric as an S-shaped structure, and this poem exemplifies such a balance of swerve and symmetry." Tiffany Atkinson on Gluck and Longley • Poetry Review
"This book, too, has received high praise. From its title, with its clear genuflection to Elizabeth Bishop, we might assume that Mehigan’s poetic temperament was a kind of opposite to Glück’s. And that is, mostly, true. Mehigan is a master of the small, closely formed lyric, although this book contains two longer narratives, ‘The Orange Bottle’ and the title poem. Mehigan is also a skilled formalist, but not, perhaps, the costive post-Hechtian classicism of the recent New-Formalism of Timothy Steele and Dana Gioia." Ian Pople on Mehigan and Gluck • Manchester Review
"The image of early Heaney as a pastoral ingenu is woefully in need of updating." David Wheatley • Guardian "Many feel that poetry is nothing more than an effete gesture of right-mindedness, or a mere entertainment, like some intellectual puzzle or game of literary trivia. Heaney’s work showed that they could not be more mistaken." John Burnside • New Statesman "Effortlessly, Seamus Heaney gives us ‘The song of the tubular steel gate in the dark/As he pulls it to.’ As Bloom says in Ulysses, ‘Everything speaks in its own way. Sllt.’ Sllt is the noise made by a paper-slitting machine. Heaney’s genius is an amalgam of moral complexity and the simple make-over of reality to his readers. He can describe things. He can describe things in a phrase, spray them with fixative." Craig Raine • Spectator
"Most of us in the profession were content to have our say on Pound and move on. I offered my pennyworth to say that the enabling motive of Pound’s Cantos is a line in Canto LIV, “History is a school book for princes”. Each of the Cantos displays an example, a parable, a moral lesson, an anecdote, the kind of thing a good governor should think about." Denis Donoghue • Irish Times
"Memo to James: The best poems generally manage to be about two or more things at once." Daisy Fried • NYT
"Poetry is much more about remaking or realigning the past than it is about charting the contemporary scene. It’s a long game." Michael Hofmann • The Paris Review
"The sustained quality of the poems across them, and the formidably compact Collected that emerges, directly echoes the achievement of the ur-canonical poet of our time, Elizabeth Bishop. The Bishop comparison holds in other ways too, notably in how formalism co-exists quite comfortably with the customarily relaxed idiom of the poems. [Michael] Donaghy can work in whatever form he likes: seemingly, none of them come amiss; at the same time, he does not appear to have had one that he particularly favours." Michael Hinds • DRB
" O’Callaghan should be more readily regarded as a champion of this critical mission: an example for the Trinity/Dublin-based writers promoted through Metre. Wheatley and Quinn, in particular, acknowledge O'Callaghan's role, and it is fair to say that without his intelligent questioning of Irish poetic practice, the road would not have been so well-prepared for the likes of Alan Gillis, Leontia Flynn, Miriam Gamble, Eoghan Walls, Matt Kirkham and the rest, who are finding their own ways to reinvigorate the art." Paul Maddern • Poetry International
"What is missing in Enniss’s book is an emphasis on Mahon’s artfulness and inventiveness, the clarity of tone which has been so influential on subsequent generations of Irish and British poets, and how he has created new places where, as his most famous poem puts it, “a thought might grow”." John McAuliffe • Irish Times
"Jeremy Noel-Tod, the editor of the new book, is polite about Ian Hamilton, but it is soon apparent that Noel-Tod is hospitable to almost anything one might call ‘alternative’: what he calls in his introduction ‘avant-garde poetics’. New entries sometimes read as if some gleeful parodist had got to work on Noel-Tod’s proofs, inventing unlikely poets and their works." Anthony Thwaite The Dark Horse
"Mehigan has a quiet command of form and an intelligence never quite tapped by his designs—it’s like watching a Chevy V8 dragging a horse cart." William Logan • The New Criterion
"The poems seem considered and less self-expressive and possibly even unintentionally aiming for an actual reader-other-than-friends." Pam Brown • ka mate ka ora
"Oddly enough, though, reviews can alert you to practices in your work that you weren’t aware of." Anne Compton • Malahat Review
"I turn to poetry to help me to think, to feel, to perceive." Jim Ferris • Poetry
""I find them evenly lit," he once said in reference to his poems' apparent darkness." Mark Strand • BBC
"Ap Gwilym, who called himself a second Taliesin, may well have had the earlier poet’s ode, which I’m translating now, in mind as he wrote his own hymn to the havoc that art can work in the world. This poem shows ap Gwilym’s muse tumbling, at the pace of his words, through the world." Gwyneth Lewis • Poetry

New poems

Ciarán Parkes Threepenny Review

Bill Manhire Poetry

Daisy Behagg Poetry Review

Lamorna Elder Manchester Review

Michael Longley Irish Times

Neil Rollinson Manchester Review

Paul Muldoon Plume

Joey Connolly Poems in Which

Joshua Weiner Manchester Review

Ada Limon APR

Conor O'Callaghan Poetry International

Simon Haworth Manchester Review

Dora Malech Iowa Review

Nathan Curnow Arc/Cordite

Mark Strand 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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