The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
"You can no more say what an Ashbery poem is about than you can say what a laughing hyena is about. The limits of sense, the tomfoolery that isn’t quite foolery, the impending doom that never pends—all the poems are about poetry, more or less. They’re like watching a man on a distant breakwater. From his panicky gestures and his leaps and caracoles you know something is terribly wrong, unless he’s just rehearsing the fencing scene in Hamlet." William Logan New Criterion
"While lamenting the fact that no publishers would deign to put out his work, Knott turned down publishing offers from big presses like Farrar, Straus and Giroux (which, while he was alive, put out his 2004 volume The Unsubscriber and wanted to continue working with him on other volumes) and well-known small presses like Black Ocean. Instead, he released his own collections online, maintaining that the “vanity” publishing of his work was something he was reduced to when, in fact, he willfully chose that route. The “traditional” publication of Knott’s poetry was, to be sure, desired by multiple outside parties." Jeff Alessandrelli Lithub
"The Lice foreshadows our current political climate, as though Merwin were somehow reflecting from the future. “The judges have chains in their sleeves / To get where they are,” he writes in “Bread at Midnight.” “Caesar” ends with a ghastly image of a dictator who is both tyrant and puppet. The speaker has the horrific job of transporting the leader, “Wheeling the president past banks of flowers / Past the feet of empty stairs / Hoping he’s dead.” Those banks of flowers call our attention to the hellscape that the environment has become. If these banks of flowers are natural, they’re in stark contrast to the president, forcing his control and reign over the world. More likely, they’re banks of flowers planted where they don’t belong, heaped in forced, funereal abundance in celebration of a tyrant." Adrienne Raphel Poetry
"There’s only one full-dress essay in the book, and it’s much more heavy-duty than the rest. The subject is the poetry of Frederick Seidel, and the essay handles a familiar critical problem—the morality of bad taste, the Jeff Koons–Michel Houellebecq–Bret Easton Ellis problem—expertly if not entirely originally. The essay does include observations like “The death drive is figured here as the desire to literalize the trope of the subject’s dispersal.” When I hear the words “literalize the trope,” I reach for my remote. Hyperbole is an ever-present danger up there on the high-low tightrope. What helps the critic keep his or her balance is the acknowledgment that it is hyperbole, that there is a rhetoric of aesthetic experience—the experience of reading poems or listening to songs we’re strongly attached to—that is always in excess of the actual content." Louis Menand New Yorker
"The Soviet Writers’ Union had been able to give writers enough to live on after publishing a book or a collection of poems in some literary magazine — for the official writers, of course, not to the authors of samizdat. You could live for three years after publishing a book, but it had to be a bad book, because it was the result of an inner compromise. Nevertheless, lots of people had the feeling that they could stay themselves and still, somehow, occupy some cozy step on the enormous staircase of the official Soviet literary establishment. When the system crashed, people were disappointed and disorientated. By 1992 or 1993, it became evident that the utopia wasn’t working anymore, especially for poets. It became evident that a book of poetry would never have a press run of more than 2,000 copies. It would never bring you money or even fame. I saw people crushed, melted, changed because of that. They had relied on a system that had suddenly vanished into thin air. They were still willing to make compromises, but there was no longer anyone to make a compromise with." Maria Stepanova LARB
"It can be argued she is referring to a more general language exercised in American documents, including American poetry. “Whereas” is an excavation, reorganization and documentation of a structure of language that has talked the United States through its many acts of violence. This book troubles our consideration of the language we use to carry our personal and national narratives." Natalie Diaz on Layli Long Soldier NYT
"[Tara Bergin's] The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx might sound gloomy and, as a title, even mock-Shakespearean, but it is an exhilarating read, daring, original and very funny." John McAuliffe Irish Times
"Pantling’s fine book from Smith Doorstop is yet another of those books which is likely to slip rather unnoticed beneath the average poetry buyer’s gaze. That is a great pity, because as a kind of ‘state-of-the-nation’ volume it is exemplary. And even that undersells Pantling’s rich, adroit, poetic skills." Ian Pople Manchester Review
"Lucretius, born in Rome in 99BC, in his great poem De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things) sought to rid us of our superstitions and make us see and love the world for what it is, not for what we imagine it to be. “There is a sense of luminous calm and serenity about the poem,” Rovelli observes, “which comes from understanding that there are no capricious gods demanding of us difficult things, and punishing us.”" John Banville Irish Times
"AB: Can we finish with some discussion of Channel 4 and what’s wrong with it?
DA: Wrong? What could possibly be wrong with poking fun at plebs, reality tv featuring rampant narcissists and endless advice on how to make money out of a housing bubble? You’re so moralistic, Alfie." Alfie Bown and David Alderson HKRB
"My entire room is decorated with pictures of the Rosetta Stone and Stonehenge and Roman columns and the wonders of the ancient world, but I’m also a true contemporary dirtbag, and I love Paris Hilton and figure skating rivalries and Liza Minelli made-for-TV movies. Basically, what I am trying to say is all of the imagery and references in my poetry are things that I deeply love, and want to include regardless of how thematically relevant they are to the poem." Hera Lindsay Bird • Cordite


New poems

Anthony Madrid Blackbox Manifold

Natalie Shapero New Yorker

Medbh McGuckian Blackbox Manifold

Nausheen Eusuf World Literature Today

Vona Groarke New Yorker

Denise Riley Blackbox Manifold

Tara Bergin Honest Ulsterman

Michael Hofmann New Yorker

August 2017. The Page is still on holidays.



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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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