The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
"Is it literary criticism wearing poetry’s clothes, poetry dipping its toes into academic discourse, a hybrid form, or something else entirely? Unkind critics have accused her of co-opting parts of either to conceal her weaknesses in both, but [Anne] Carson appears to be operating, as usual, in a space where boundaries and expectation mean little." Jennifer Thorp • Oxonian Review
"What does this selection tell us about Scottishness? Not a lot: that’s not the point of it, though W.N. Herbert’s ‘Rabbie, Rabbie, Burning Bright’ is certainly a reminder, even when comically distorted for our own times, of that common culture." David Robinson Scottish Poetry Library
"There is obviously a lively imagination at work here. But [Liz] Berry does not simply make things up: she also knows how to use bizarre facts to fuel her imagination. The Mills & Boon volumes lining M6 may or may not be fictitious; but Berry can make a poem out of a report about coconuts floating in a Birmingham canal." Matthew Bartholomew-Biggs • London Grip "Liz Berry knows her own flight-path, that is for sure, coming in to land with a beautiful poem The Night You were Born in which she imagines her partner's birth while pregnant with his son. It is moving because not overworked. It exists as an imagined and a remembered moment." Kate Kellaway • Observer
"From one angle, it’s hard to say what a book like [Tarfia Faizullah's] Seam is for. It doesn’t seem to serve the history it burrows into; it doesn’t suffice as a historical document; it rewrites the voices of the Birangona Faizullah interviews into her own lush lyricism, seemingly erasing the singularity of those women who speak to her, she notes, at the “command” of “the woman who runs a support group.” And yet taken from another angle—would I, as a reader, lose something important with the absence of this book?—the value is clear. I would." Jonathan Farmer • Slate
"All those barely missed connections between the units, coupled with their strict regimentation on the page, creates a kind of prosodic static electricity." Stephen Ross on Oli Hazzard • Boston Review
"One of his finest moments in [Michael Symmons Roberts' Drysalter] – which is dedicated to composer James MacMillan with whom he has collaborated in writing opera and oratorios – is the austere and beautiful love poem The Vows ( it is described on a website that recommends poems for marriage ceremonies as a “killer of a wedding poem”)". Gerard Smyth • Irish Times
"The young American writer and translator met the newlyweds in 1967 at Harvard, where Borges (who had come to international notice after sharing the first Prix International with Samuel Beckett in 1961) was giving the Charles Eliot Norton poetry lectures. Di Giovanni pitched the idea of editing a collection of his poetry in English. Their association was so satisfactory that it continued in Buenos Aires, where they translated other early works together. Di Giovanni also encouraged Borges to write new poems and stories, which he funnelled straight into the New Yorker, while finding a publisher for the new collection, Doctor Brodie’s Report; indeed, he is justly credited with rebooting the elderly writer’s career and consolidating his cult status abroad. Borges granted him 50 per cent of the rights over their joint output. However, after the master’s death in 1986 his second wife, María Kodama, rescinded this contract and commissioned new translations, from Andrew Hurley. There have been many lawsuits in the intervening decades, and di Giovanni, apparently powerless to reprint and even post his versions online, remains understandably bitter." Lorna Scott Fox • TLS
"Elsewhere, many lines read like attempts to get as many “poetry words” as possible into a single sentence. “A sepia/penumbra clears round a moon of blood” comes close but “Shadow-green patina, faint turquoise wash/over wafer-thin kaolin” probably takes the biscuit. Such lines are interspersed with fridge-magnet wisdom: “The past is not lost/but covered up by time.”" Paul Batchelor on Padel. Harsent and Longley • New Statesman
"Each generation seems to need a true adventurer, a knight who will ride out and slay all the dragons of the literary world, while we stay at home in Eire and do little chores about the house. Heaney was the dragon-slayer, bringing entire poetry scenes from Oxford to Harvard within his dominion." Thomas McCarthy • Irish Examiner
"Brain-storming of this kind, however, represents a low-level of thought: a wealth of connections is indicated, but nothing is unpacked or worked out. It is as if the quantity and diversity of associations are considered adequate to the creation of a satisfying poem. And if it turns out that the associations are not particularly appropriate to the topic, this is of no real concern. They can be superseded at will." Simon Patton on John Kinsella • Sydney Review of Books
"Irish poetry in the twentieth century, and particularly that written in and about the North after 1969, has been relentlessly, exhaustively contextualised, and not always with the insight and acuity one would wish for. It is easy to point unthinkingly to events in the Troubles to elucidate or gloss the literary works which would seem to respond to or represent them; ironically, by the same token, it is easy to slide into a New Critical belligerence which leads to a problematic and rather prudish formalism seeking always to stress literature “as” literature, somehow imperviously superior to the conditions in which it is written and received. It is refreshing to find in Russell’s study [of Heaney], therefore, some unexpected contextual connections being asserted with care paid to both text and context." Rosie Lavan • Oxonian Review
"[Thomas Kinsella's] densely packed poems reward repeated re-reading giving the reader - somewhat ironically given his bleak outlook - a life affirming modus vivendi also." Belinda Cooke • Stride
"By the closing years of the eighteenth century, well-to-do readers had at last become familiar with the astonishing fact that ordinary working people liked to sing, to make poetry, and even, sometimes, to write it down. Yet the sensation caused by Ann Yearsley’s first volume of poems in 1785 would not have been possible without her complacent editors having described her in its preface as a “poor illiterate woman”." Min Wild • TLS
"Part of the ambivalence of Muldoon’s own poems resides in modal verbs and associated speech acts, which together somehow clear a space between what is certain or not (“I must have been dozing in the tub / when the telephone / rang …”). These formulations – the longer one occupies them as a reader – appear to open up political possibilities; or rather, the possibilities of new politics. Muldoon’s forms, his metaphors, even his famous half-rhymes, now seem proleptic, throwing themselves forward to the realities of the peace process that would begin to emerge materially in Northern Ireland in the early 90s, like the forked twig “astounding itself as a catapult” in another poem in the book." Giles Foden • Guardian
"[Michael] Robbins’s voice is hotheaded and hapless, a little bit country and a little left of center." Jason Guriel • New Republic
"I’m going to invent a rival poet, or perhaps two, who will gradually become much better than me—then the people who resent me for one reason or another, will line up to support one of my rivals (i.e. me)." Ted Hughes • The American Reader
"[T]he older you get, the more artificial it all seems." Joe Wenderoth • BOMB Magazine
"Nobody would wish to have cancer, yet it undeniably brought things to my life that were, to my great surprise, valuable." Elise Partridge • The Puritan
"If it’s true that a generation is coming to maturity for which the stand-off between mainstream and experimental poetry no longer holds, then Toby Martinez de las Rivas’s first book, along with the second collections by Paul Batchelor and Oli Hazzard – all of them English poets born between 1977 and 1986 – marks a decisive moment." Matthew Sperling • New Statesman
"My husband Rob started a literary magazine with some friends called jubilat. They would publish an interview with a perfumer, a list of wrestling terms, and lots of poems, with no distinction. It was a way of saying, All of these things are poetry, which is the case for me too." Matthea Harvey • The Believer
"Whenever I sit down to write, I have to think through certain questions about form – am I or am I not going to write a sonnet? If I don’t count syllables how do I communicate a tune? If I rhyme, whose voice am I putting on?" Alice Oswald • The White Review
"There was a ferocity in Heraclitus. If we juxtapose two of his more famous sayings, ‘shit is somewhat better than a corpse,’ and ‘character is destiny,’ we might find that a kind of urgency about life emerges." Raphael Maurice • Like Starlings
"That’s the joy of good poetry: it condenses meaning into a tiny linguistic espresso. This makes it tougher and more resilient than fictional prose, more able to withstand all manner of interpretations." Aaron Bady • The New Inquiry
"This is all part of the inquiry that French poet and translator Yves Bonnefoy identified as essential to capturing the spirit or essence of a work in translation: You don’t want your car to take you to the supermarket and back; you want it to sail from the woods to a farm to a city to a beach clogged with kites and back again." Evan Fleischer • Electric Literature
"My job, for part of a summer, was to help clean up the tons of cement that escape during processing and accumulate where they aren’t supposed to be." Joshua Mehigan • Work In Progress
"The poetry world is so like the fashion world that way, isn’t it? Trend-driven and often emptily stylish. The only difference is that at least fashion recognizes and makes the distinction between prêt-à-porter and haute couture, a line that for all intents and purposes is the bottom line. People buy and wear and live in the former, and only marvel curiously at the latter." Michael Lista • Maisonneuve
"The thought of a poet writing in English who would not grow excited turning the pages of the OED, or clicking on the electronic version, is so dismal that one wishes such a personage an even smaller readership than modern poets normally manage to acquire." Alan Wall on Geoffrey Hill • Fortnightly Review
"For Larkin, writing poems was above all the art of becoming memorable, by means, as he said, of 'a verbal device that would preserve an experience indefinitely'." Jeremy Noel-Tod • Literary Review
"[James] Pollock is a poet of understatement; he puts the poem before the poet." Richard Merelman • Verse Wisconsin
"This looks like minimalism, but it is the utter subsumption of experience in phonemes. It is maximal word-as-world." Ange Mlinko on Peter Gizzi • Boston Review
"At a reading in Kilkenny, Lowell recalled the best and kindest introduction he’d ever heard a poet give: “I’m going to read six poems, and it’s going to take 37 minutes.”" Maureen Kennelly • Irish Times
"Also, you’re glad that someone else has sensed that animals know we are frauds. Your colleague’s goldfish, your neighbor’s cat, the panther at the zoo—these creatures truly belong on earth, whereas you are just a cosmic tourist, a hopelessly transient stranger." Drew Calvert • The American Reader
"[Elizabeth] Arnold is not afraid to discuss the edgeless nature of life." Liz McGehee • The Volta

"In Rome, the poet is less wolf cub than panther, not inquisitively circling and observing its subject matter, but attacking it mercilessly as prey." Isabel Ortiz on Dorothea Lasky • Feministing
"Thomas’s work was belittled by Kingsley Amis and Larkin; Geoffrey Grigson, with a mixture of typical acidity and perception, described it as Victorian subject matter clothed in symbolist rhetoric – in essence no more than a final, eccentric flowering of Romanticism. There is a true insight here into Thomas’s Romantic sensibility (“Gothic” would also suit him); but what this judgement misses is the sheer iron discipline of his work, in which every word and every placement of a word is tested over and over until we have a poetry that is “saturated”." Rowan Williams on Dylan Thomas • New Statesman
"[Clive] James, who was diagnosed with leukaemia and emphysema in 2010 and who is being treated in Addenbrooke's hospital in Cambridge, writes in The Emperor's Last Words of how "I gather my remaining senses / For the walk, or limp, to town", where he has a haircut, and visits an Oxfam bookshop." Alison Flood • Guardian
"While Hugo may have stood tall in the literary world, to Hansen he was just Dick. The man who bought her a horse and at 16 her first car, a 1968 big block Camaro, gray with black racing stripes." Larry Coonrod • The Lincoln County Dispatch
"[Ed] Skoog’s associative leaps can make the poems in Rough Day seem fragmentary, but read as a whole, the book feels less like a collection of disparate pieces than like a single, continuous, wide-ranging monologue." Katie Herman • B O D Y
"Leopardi suggested, back in the early 1800s, that good writing comes of nature, not habit. Good luck teasing the import of that remark through the eye of a needle." Norm Sibum • Encore
"While his contemporaries have been busy fine-tuning their algorithms, tweaking their genomes and re-mystifying their obscurantisms, [Joshua] Mehigan has been perfecting his lucid, plain-spoken, perspicuous ear worms that scan and rhyme and stick to your rib. " Michael Lista • National Post
"In the volume under review, [David Scott] also writes poems ‘On Not Knowing R.S. Thomas’, on David Jones, and on James Fenton’s father, Canon John Fenton, a noted New Testament authority and Canon of Christ Church Oxford. I would imagine that he would also like mentioned his poems on Winston Churchill, Gertrude Jekyll and Sappho! But others have called him a priest-poet in the tradition of Herbert, and that doesn’t seem like such a bad starting point." Ian Pople Manchester Review
"Frank Kermode, a masterly British critic, put it neatly: “So I educate myself in public, which I take to be the reviewer’s privilege”." Peter Rose The Conversation
"Our modern prizes are rooted in the profane ground of sponsorship and publicity. And they have proved an effective advertisement for poetry. Witness the two-thousand-plus audiences for the Eliot readings at the Royal Festival Hall every January. The competitions themselves, however, need to be run on principles of good practice, with clear rules concerning declarations of interest, and transparency about the process. It’s not right to ask people to make careerchanging judgements without proper guidance. And how to pick the judges – for integrity or for celebrity? Those Athenian arbiters sitting in the front row preferring the Sophocles to the Euripides were chosen by lot." Maurice Riordan Poetry Review
"PN Review began before the Creative Writing industry boomed. The editor himself spent twenty-odd years developing writing programmes: his hands are not clean in this respect. But he remembers a time before, when submissions sorted themselves into three piles, rejections (a big pile), acceptances (small) and possibles (tiny). In the time after, the third pile is highest, the plausibles as we call them." Michael Schmidt PN Review
"Some people, young and old, just won’t read New Zealand poetry." Nina Powles on Marty Smith Salient
"You do the math." Paul Muldoon • New York Times
"Auden’s nothing is sort of like the “nobody” of the medieval monks who liked to joke about a hero, named Nobody, who existed before creation, who was greater than God. As Odysseus knew, when he introduced himself to the Cyclops as Nemo, Nobody, nothing has always been a good cover for something." Amanda Jernigan • The Walrus
"Everything Pasolini did, he did as a poet. [...] His best poetry is a kind of diary written in long slabs and sequences—he called these poems poemetti, longer than a poesia, shorter than a poema—meditations on whatever he was thinking about, where the syntax is strung out along the terza-rima form (Dante’s meter!) in a papery festoon of thinking." Adam Thirlwell Bookforum
"Vanguard poetry, by definition, should be at the forefront of efforts to analyze and illustrate more carefully the changing nature of class formation and relations." Daniel Tiffany Boston Review
"It’s strangely appropriate, however, that such an ephemeral, resistant missive would house the last words Patrick Galvin committed to print. For it fittingly caps his history as a peripatetic literary activist, the founder not only of Poetry Now in Dublin but also of the Munster Literature Centre in Cork, the incubator of plays and groups of players in London, Belfast and beyond." Billy Ramsell • Stinging Fly
"Poetry is the weak sister of its sibling arts, alternately ignored and swaddled like a 19th-century invalid, and that will change only by means of a long, tedious and possibly futile effort at persuasion." David Orr • New York Times
"[Graham] Allen has noted how writing Holes on an iPad has begun to influence his more “conventional poems”, including a “tendency to break through sentential structures” and employing a “different rhythm” to the work." Matthew Geden • Southword
"But the reach of poetry always had its limits: a poet could only be a misunderstood, isolated creature. This was the existential pose young poets mimicked. [Laura] Riding’s work offered that guise as well." Benjamin Hollander • Brooklyn Rail
"Pointless weirdness gets old fast (as it got old in Lockwood’s too-clever-by-half first book, “Balloon Pop Outlaw Black”), but here the weirdness almost always carries a magnificent, and political, point." Stephen Burt • New York Times
"In a chorus of diverse female voices such as O’Connor, Campanello and Feeney, no longer must a woman writer lament, like Boland, ‘the absence of an expressed poetic life which would have dignified and revealed mine‘." Doireann Ní Ghríofa • Stinging Fly
"Tom French’s ability, in this poem and in each of his books, is to find a way into such places, where the “beautifully executed wounds” are shown for what they are." John McAuliffe • Irish Times
"Poetry became an obsession, and so did Sappho. Twenty-eight years later I published the work of the Greek poetess in the most complete edition we have in Swedish. But in the first instance, it was a meeting that opened up a certain historicity, a certain aspect of – or angle toward, or a certain quality in – time. A temporality, let’s say, that was and still is accessible for me only when I work with, translate, or interpret poetry. Let us simply call it “philological time”." Magnus William-Olsson • Almost Island
"The translator of poetry must immerse herself fully in the lexical, linguistic, cultural and musical world of each poem she’s translating, and must also, at a certain point, separate herself from that world in order to hear the translated text in its own literary and sound contexts." Rachel Tzvia Back • Marginalia / Los Angeles Review of Books
"We can see with one eye, but two eyes enable us to see depth. Similarly, with words we can name objects, but syntax, not to mention figurative speech, enables us to see the connectedness of things." Anne Compton • Malahat Review

"Infinite Jest gave me back to myself, and left me with nowhere to hide. I stopped writing my brittle, evasive poems. I began to wonder how on earth you do something like this." Colin Barrett • Guardian
"Filming was to take place in the bar of Hotel Eilean Iarmain in Sleat, southern Skye, the idea being that the boys would ask me questions about Gaelic culture and poetry (my line of work) as we addressed and then attacked a haggis." Rody Gorman meets Gerad Depardieu • Guardian
"I write poetry when I cannot make sense of my present predicament. The process is one of clinging to scarce fragments floating around me and tying them together to avoid drowning." Anne Portugal and Pierre Alferi in conversation with Sophie L. Thunberg • World Literature Today
"I have a box full of photographs I've taken of clouds! I am certain my Aunt would find them weird and uninteresting, but I can’t help myself . . . whenever there's an interesting cloud formation, I run outside and shoot it. The clouds are written to us, as we are the only ones to receive them, we the living. And what are poems but weather reports? Is there a difference between a poem and a letter? A poem and a cloud?" Mary Ruefle in conversation with Bradley Harrison • Music & Literature
"[D]espite the strong presence of the first person singular, the first pronoun to enter the poem is plural, and the overall atmosphere, communal. This is heightened by the primacy of the poem’s aphoristic-sounding statements, formed from the verb ‘to be’, which convey a desire for a collective thinking." Emily Critchley • Cambridge Literary Review
"Particularly fascinating is a hilariously patronising study of American mores, written as a guide to British citizens during the second World War by no less a figure than Louis MacNeice. Meet the US Army, from His Majesty’s Stationery Office, is packed full of sage advice. “Far from being ‘bad form’ it is the expected thing that the crowd should declare its feelings,” the Carrickfergus man notes when discussing American sport." Donald Clarke • Irish Times
"[Joseph] Brodsky reshaped Virgil’s Arcadia into a snow covered terrain and his Aeneas is a man tormented by the brutalizing price of his heroic destiny." Zara Martirosova Torlone • OUPblog
"The representation of speed, figured and abstract, was one of the Futurists’ prime aesthetic projects, underpinned by a philosophy of creative destruction that owed its expression to one man, the poet and publicist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, its guru and pope, around whom the entire enterprise pivoted and whose death brought it to an end in 1944. Marinetti was born in 1876 and brought up in Alexandria, Egypt, where he received a French education. As a young poet he was a standard-issue symbolist until an encounter with an engine, mythologized in his “Foundation and Manifesto of Futurism,” published in Le Figaro in 1909, changed everything." Jonathan Galassi • NYRB
"The epigraphs that begin the sections of his book come from the likes of Whitman, Byron, Montaigne, and . . . Warren Zevon? What would you expect from a poet who holds a D.Phil. from Oxford, works as an antiquarian book dealer, writes libretti, and appears in short films for a post-punk conceptual band?" John Foy • New Criterion
"He told me once that prose is poetry in the sense that a bird is still a bird when it sits still. And the last image he flung at me, with the glee of a Zen master, his eyes hugging me, his wisdom falling like rose petals from a teacher’s hands was this: “If you want to break a dog’s heart,” he whispered, “throw a stone into the sea.”" Michael Harding on Dermot Healy • Irish Times
"The Nazi regime, he later said, had proletarianised him: ‘Not only have they robbed me of my house, my fishpond and my car, but they’ve also stolen my stage and my audience.’ He wrote in one of his poems about the ‘man to whom no one is listening’." David Blackbourn on Brecht • LRB
"There’s an enormous amount of anecdotal evidence (unpublishably off-the-record, and quite often suspect) which won’t suffice for making a case in accusations of cronyism, but which does nonetheless reflect a less-than-complete confidence in the impartiality of our judging processes. This concern is widespread: a survey of the editors of twenty-five of the country’s independent poetry presses gave an average score of four out of ten in rating the success of the Eliot and the Forward prizes in recognising the ‘best’ poetry collections. But a third possibility was put forward several times by those surveyed: that the poetry prizes aren’t seriously intended to reflect the ‘best’ poetry being published. Rather, they’re the one chance the poetry world has of attracting the notice of the mainstream media; an opportunity to bang the drum for contemporary verse, and to win new readers into the fold." Joey Connolly • Poetry Review
"What then is her project really about? The key, to my mind, lies in Lisa [Robertson's] wonderful phrase 'weedy appetites.' Taxonomically speaking, there is no such thing as a weed; a weed is simply an unwanted plant. Many are beautiful, edible, even--ecologically speaking--essential. They grow without tending and maintain the power, if left alone, to transform a landscape, irrevocably." Benjamin Friedlander
"[L]anguages don’t have hard-and-fast boundaries between them. Chaucer might have known there was something called 'English,' but he and other medieval writers didn’t hesitate to dip into French and Latin as need be for their vocabulary. We need to start to move beyond the idea of borders in language as we’re slowly moving beyond the concept of national borders." David Hadbawnik in conversation with Kent Johnson • Lana Turner
"[W]hatever is obsolete is free for the taking. Which is to say, many abandoned styles have something (beauty) yet to offer; we need their insolvent otherness." Lucy Ives on Lisa Robertson • n+1
"This is what makes [Tim Kendall's book] such a good example of what we miss when we read Frost without sustained attention to the conflicts that he provokes in ourselves. It shows how even the most diligent of critics, with a century of scholarship behind him, can explain Frost’s poems with great sensitivity but without regard to his own inner conflicts, and can thereby leave all but untouched the gap between the words and their lingering beauty." Adam Plunkett • New Republic
"Homer is not – Nicolson insists, convincingly – an endangered species from the groves of academe." Ian Thomson Guardian
"I kind of like the way epic has come into colloquial use these days: 'Oh, it was an epic concert last night' or 'Those french fries I had yesterday were epic.' I like it that we can get epic satisfaction from the partial, the particular, the incidental. I like epic as a term of approval and approbation and praise." Nathaniel Mackey in conversation with Joseph Donahue • Poetry
"Yet the literary world both attracted and repelled her, and she was to turn against its materialism, false values, betrayals and indulgence, as she was to follow Rimbaud in renouncing literature itself: "The mistakes, the wrong people, the half-baked ideas, / And their beastly comments on everything. Foul. / But irresistibly amusing, that is the whole trouble" ("The Little Cardboard Suitcase")." Neil Astley on Rosemary Tonks Guardian
"If I say I don’t believe in the myth that Americans can make themselves into whoever they want to be, I think it’s because Americans in my experience are obsessed with gaming the system in order to express their outrage at the impossibility of the free market. One of our overwhelming narratives as Americans is the story of the outlaw. From the Boston Burglar, to Billy the Kidd, to Stagger Lee, there’s this romance surrounding the outlaw. The terrifying part to me is that this has become the defining narrative obsession of our media." Danniel Schoonebeek in conversation with Wendy Xu • iO
"Tracking the changes in style over Lawrence’s poetic career, however, will disappoint anyone who thinks that open-endedness always means open-heartedness. Lawrence’s innovations all stem from finding out what happens when you don’t submit the poetic means to an ulterior poetic end, whether that end is metre, final rhyme, or just the feeling of the well-wrought poem. Making finished poems feel the same as drafts is another way to make means and ends coalesce, of course, and in this sense Lawrence’s experiments with spontaneous composition and with multiple versions come to much the same thing. But he never really got rid of poetic ends, or the final judgments they imply." Peter Howarth • LRB
"Good poetry has been written in all sorts of ways since the days of Rimbaud as everyone ought to admit. If someone can get away today by writing poems that sound like Byron or Emily Dickinson, poems that one can’t stop reading, let’s not worry about what the disciples of Gertrude Stein will say." Charles Simic in conversation with SJ Fowler • Poetry International / 3:AM
"What’s striking about working metaphors is their departure from the usual. They are often literally nonsense, as philosophers like John Wisdom and Donald Davidson have said. But this may only mean, and often does, that the literal is not enough for us and that our idea of sense is gravely impoverished." Michael Wood on Denis Donoghue • Irish Times
"We are going through a media revolution even more extreme than that of the 20th century. I would say that an avant-garde for the 21st century would have to develop ways of using our own new media in critical, innovative, provocative ways. It would also have to be part of a political analysis of our moment, and translate that analysis into a new set of attitudes and ambitions. If that sounds vague, I suppose it has to be. Predicting the future is a fool’s errand. The history of manifestos is proof of that." Martin Puchner in conversation with Louis Bourgeois • Rain Taxi
"This entire May lecture was dedicated to resolving a single question in a single poem, "The Windhover" by Gerard Manley Hopkins: to whom was his vivid evocation of the "lyric flight" of the bird addressed? Was "thee" the bird or the poem's dedicatee, Jesus Christ?" Daniel Johnson • Standpoint
"Perhaps poetry anthologies are a cognitive map of the present." Harry Burke in conversation with Sam Riviere • The Quietus
"Stitched together of asymmetrical sequences---some as brief as a half-dozen words, others extending to thirty or more variously-indented lines---Lateral Argument shifts scenes, subjects, and situations at a pace quickened by frequent enjambment right to the verge of, though without ever crossing into, cognitive blur." Steve Evans • Third Factory
"Completing the book, I admire Hilbert’s intelligence, his dramatic discipline, his talent with rhyme and rhythm. Yet my taste for something more raw, more magical, (a little less considered) is not satisfied. This wonderful book of sonnets needs--I don’t know--something ugly or awkward in it to balance out all the neat formality. Maybe then a reader would feel some necessary turn." Susan Scutti • Philadelphia Review of Books
"Humour has always been a defining feature of the Irish tradition, but a head-count of contemporary poets with the comic gene yields patchy results. Ribald and highbrow comedy is a strong feature of Paul Muldoon’s work, but the case of Eavan Boland reminds us that an absence of any discernible sense of humour is no handicap to a serious critical reputation, in some quarters at least." David Wheatley on Kevin Higgins • Georgiasam
"Like creative nonfiction, creative nonpoetry defines itself over-against a genre which historically has refused its content, but which it often resembles quite a bit. Creative Nonpoetry borrows and burrows from the traditional conventions of the poetic; or mashes them up; or disclaims them altogether, by turns. It can contain verse, prose, dialogue, pictures." Joseph Harrington • Jacket2
"“You will never understand my poetry, my dear Forster”, Cavafy said, at their first meeting." Frederic Raphael • TLS
"Patricia Lockwood is all large eyes, apple cheeks and pixie haircut — like an early Disney creation, perhaps a woodland creature; one of her fans recently rendered her as a My Little Pony." Jesse Lichtenstein • The New York Times
"You are visiting these places and then refreshing them with each insight and with sensual detail and with each thought. I’m thinking of Charles Altieri’s work on emotion and detail; poets have to work with emotion and refresh it." Brenda Hillman • LARB
"One nice side effect of learning four guitar chords is that I can rudimentarily play a bunch of things now, from Allen Ginsberg ditties (he wrote and scored a bunch of songs) to the ballad 'The Three Ravens' to a few songs of Bikini Kill. And doing this has sharpened my ears, and made me appreciate narrative and refrain even more." Maureen N. McLane and Stephen Burt in conversation • Gulf Coast
"She dwells not on the possible outcomes but on the notion of choice. Her poems live for that moment, piqued by the anxiety of having too many options. Offered a or b, she holds them together, knowing they are for a time equal. And her very best poems show us exactly how that's done. Describing a highway intersection, she writes: "It yields / to traffic from both directions. / It appears it could go either way."" Evan Jones on Karen Solie • Guardian
"Valéry’s ‘L’art personnel’ has been replaced by Mahon’s ‘individual gifts’, and in the dead’s ‘colloquial turns of phrase, / the individual gifts and singular souls’, Valéry’s ‘Où sont des morts les phrases familières, / L’art personnel, les âmes singulières?’ are dust, but resurrected, as another metaphor for translation would have it, in the Irish poet’s colloquialism, giftedness, and singularity." Peter Robinson on Derek Mahon • Poetry London
"But its interior layout, with a steep, high-rise staircase leading to the second floor, small pantry, parlour room and many corners and roof angles is character-filled and was much loved by a young [Elizabeth] Bishop during her years in Great Village." Harry Sullivan • Truro Daily News
"There is only one hint given as to the basic felt motivation for [Veronica Forrest-Thomson's] enterprise: 'A difficulty which must confront any poet at this time who can take and make the art a new and serious opponent--perhaps even a successful alternative--to the awfulness of the modern world.' We are not told what constitutes this awfulness, but in her later poems it is clearly represented by a loneliness and despair in connection with the failure of love." Peter Riley • Fortnightly Review
"It was characteristic, as well as cunning, of Davenport to cast this long poem in such rough, almost thumping tetrameter couplets. (How characteristic too of Davenport, a lover of all things Danish, to rhyme “tore” with the correct Danish pronunciation of the last syllable of Kierkegaard’s name—“gore,” not “guard.”)" Eric Ormsby • New Criterion
"Naming the contenders for the best collection prize – Colette Bryce, John Burnside, Louise Glück, Kei Miller and Hugo Williams – Paxman said there was a "whole pile of really good poems here", and "nothing on the shortlist that I don't feel better for having read". But he also expressed the wish that poetry more generally "would raise its game a little bit, raise its sights", and "aim to engage with ordinary people much more". Jeremy Paxman • Guardian
"A lot of poems seem, in some sense, to pull the outside world into the interior. They aren’t perhaps emotion recollected in tranquillity but perception recollected in interiority. Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is a crystal-clear example. It is and yet it isn’t located outside." Robert Bringhurst • Guernica


New poems

James Womack The Wolf

Kathleen Jamie Best Scottish Poems 2013

Vidyan Ravinthiran The White Review

Sam Riviere Poetry International

Oli Hazzard Clinic

Andrew Jamison Eire Ireland (pdf)

Amy Key The Quietus

Josh Bell the Awl

Nathaniel Mackey The Nation

Karen Solie Paris Review

Tom Duddy Smiths Knoll

Vincent Colistro The Puritan

Morgan Parker Apogee

Ocean Vuong Triquarterly

Caleb Klaces Conjunctions

Michael Cope World Literature Today

Theophilus Kwek Singapore Poetry

Tim Smith-Laing The Junket

Diann Blakely Thicket

David McGimpsey McSweeney's

John Ashbery PEN America

Shoshanna Wingate Fiddlehead

Johanna Emeney Snorkel

Aimee Nezhukumatathil Kenyon Review

Harry Clifton Irish Times

Mark Callanan The Walrus

Carl Phillips Boston Review

Vona Groarke Boston Review

JT Welsch Blackbox Manifold

James Brown Sport

Thomas McCarthy Manchester Review

Kara van de Graaf Cimarron Review

Rita Ann Higgins Irish Times

Kayla Czaga Fiddlehead

John Hennessy The Wolf

Rebecca Perry Manchester Review

Mark Granier New Statesman

AK Mehrotra Almost Island

Michelle Dove Sixth Finch

Jennifer Moss No Tokens (scroll down)

Rosemary Tonks Guardian

Tyler Gobble Diagram

John Regan Blackbox Manifold

Mary Jo Bang jubilat

Brandi Homan Diagram

Simon Armitage Poetry Review

Sarah Howe Poetry Review

Jeffrey Wainright PN Review/Forward

Kevin Powers Forward

Patrick Deeley The Galway Review

Jenny Boully Solstice

Colette Bryce Poetry London

Kevin Davies Boston Review

WS Merwin Guardian

Jenny Boully Passages North

Don Share Philadelphia Review of Books

Kurt Schwitters, tr. Peter Wortsman Cambridge Literary Review

Rae Armantrout The Economy

Manuela Moser The Honest Ulsterman

Moya Cannon The Galway Review

Jill Magi Jubilat

Vona Groarke Irish Examiner

Sebastian Agudelo The Nation

John Ashbery Paris Review

Nick Flynn Poetry

Peter Fallon Irish Times

Henry King Glasgow Review of Books

Tom French Irish Times

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