The Page
poetry, essays, ideas


"After forty years of railing at the communist GDR, Braun has lost none of his desire to kick at the pricks of contemporary capitalism. And one wonders who might have put it better, or had it better translated." Ian Pople Manchester Review
"Twenty five years ago, when I was still just learning how to write a poem, and trying to locate the deeper sources for the poetry I wanted to write, Thomas McGrath’s example stood as a sign post." Joshua Weiner • B O D Y
"That poetry greatly enriches our experience is not a hard case to make: the Iliad, the Aeneid, Beowulf, The Divine Comedy, Shakespeare’s sonnets and plays, and Paradise Lost. It’s impossible to imagine our lives—our language—without them." David Yezzi • The New Criterion
"Borges – quoted on the subject of books in ‘The Library of Adventure’, ‘I shall die before I come to the end of them’ – said that good readers are much rarer and blacker swans than good writers. O’Driscoll is that rare black swan and every essay in The Outnumbered Poet is a master class on how to read poetry." Martina Evans Wales Arts Review
"After the hoop-la of launch night, and the readings and the interviews, and the sheer pleasure of holding your own book in your hand (the cover a wonderful picture by Gary Coyle) what next?" John O'Donnell Irish Times
"Although Marjorie Perloff praises Citizen by saying that “Rankine is never didactic: she merely presents…allowing you to draw your own conclusions,” the opposite is actually the case. Rankine’s series of anecdotes are geared to a purpose and theme: they are ethical formulations that are too honest and angry to be merely presentations; they’re intended as proofs." Nick Laird NYRB
"Like most recent collections, the new book just has too many poems that don’t live up to the standard it sometimes sets. But the disparity here seems especially pronounced, in part because Hayes, at his best, is one of the most exciting and imaginative poets in America today." Jonathan Farmer Slate
"[Michael Hofmann] regards his style and mission in these essays as an extension of his poetry and translations. “For me the service comes in writing as interestingly and as well as possible.” He succeeds, I would say, superbly." Nicholas Shakespeare Telegraph
"The minor vogue and rapid extinction of Imagism, a movement whose influence we still feel, has been hashed over by literary critics for a century." William Logan • The New Criterion
"The text you write must prove to me that it desires me." Gnaomi Siemens • The The
"There is something both Ashberian and non-Ashberian about [Karen] Solie. Like him, she writes sentences in motley registers that accrete into poems with unpredictable logopoieic shapes." Ange Mlinko • Partisan
"This is neither criticism nor biography. Tóibín starts with her impulse: “She began with the idea that little is known and that much is puzzling.” This directs us to her poem “Sandpiper”: “The world is a mist. And then the world is / minute and vast and clear …” Bishop’s gift is that she can show not only the clarity and the mist, the small and the large, but one becoming the other." Lavinia Greenlaw Telegraph
"Critics often focus on Muldoon’s talent for weirdness and his technical games; the first, like the weirdness of Flann O’Brien’s version of Mad Sweeney, seems to me to correspond to the weird predicament of humanity. It is hardly the main business of poetry to be normal, though this poetry turns out to be fit to take on the weight of normal life when called on." Eilean Ni Chuilleanain DRB
"In many of the statements Gunn and Bishop made in their poems, there is a great reticence. Nonetheless, half-way through his career Gunn wrote explicitly about his homosexuality. When she died, Bishop left poems, and sometimes fragments of poems, which dramatised or dealt directly with her lesbianism. She did not publish these in her lifetime. Bishop said that she believed “in closets, closets and more closets”. While Bishop wrote only obliquely about her alcoholism in a poem such as “The Prodigal”, Gunn was more open about his interest in LSD and other drugs (he died of an overdose of heroin and speed). Both had great reservations about what was called “confessional poetry”, which became fashionable in the 1960s. The tendency is to overdo the morbidity. “You just wished they kept some of these things to themselves,” Bishop said. Gunn told James Campbell: “I don’t like dramatizing myself. I don’t want to be Sylvia Plath. The last person I want to be!”" Colm Toibin Guardian
"Whatever form Leviston chooses, from the abbreviated sonnets of “Athenaeum” to a clipped short-lined quatrain or the rangy rhymed octets of “Woodland Burial”, she achieves a sense of decisive cleanliness, the momentum of the verse matching the steady completeness of her attention and then shifting gear at need. Unusually among younger poets, she can sustain the kind of “middle” voice practised by the later Auden." Sean O'Brien Guardian
"By chance this moment in her life coincided with a writers’ residency she had won, organized before the revolution, in Latvia. While she was there, a whole novel about her friend and about the Maidan events just poured out. Then she trained to use a gun and fight but discovered that only women with the right connections were being allowed to go into combat on the Ukrainian side." Tim Judah NYRB
"First, we discover that we read a poem in order to “retrieve” exact and correct information from it, and we are supposed to “infer” exact and correct meanings from it." Michael Rosen Guardian
"I have no nostalgia for that time, although in The Stoic Man, the new collection of essays and memoirs I have just published with Lagan Press, the recalling of life in the west of Ireland in the 70s sounds again like a “sheltering place” from the travails and troubles of the Belfast I had in part left behind. So The Stoic Man is accompanied by a collection of Early Poems written during those years in Galway’s old city, around the streets and canal-ways, the bridges, Lough shore and harbour where we used to live." Gerald Dawe Irish Times
"Langdon Hammer’s extraordinary biography of the poet, “James Merrill: Life and Art” (Knopf), suggests that “life” and “art” were for Merrill a feedback loop, not at all Yeats’s zero-sum choice between “perfection of the life, or of the work.”" Dan Chiasson New Yorker
"Jon Silkin’s arrival on the literary scene coincided with that of the group broadly known as “the Movement”, whose members included Philip Larkin, Donald Davie and Kingsley Amis (when he was better known as a poet). He can be included among them, but the voice he developed was his own." Nicholas Lezard • Guardian
"So at the heart of Red Sails there is a lot of truth-telling going on about the artist’s life (or lives). A far cry it is too from the showy, silly lifestyle version we are offered daily from media-hungry “celebs” of one kind or another, asking the reader to feel their pain and oversharing what passes for real understanding." Gerald Dawe on Derek Mahon • DRB
"Motion suggested there could be a “breaking wave” of new interest in the Romantics – though he also argues that adoration of them has never really gone away. “The poems [in the original Lyrical Ballads] are full of evidence of a very divided society. They tend to concentrate on people at the poor end, the vagabonds and vagrants, the ex-army people who can’t find employment. They are full of ideas about dislocation and impoverishment. That has resonance today.”" Andrew Motion • Guardian
"All anthologists have blind spots, and a few quibbles aside, Astley’s anthology is a ground-breaking record of the poetry of war, well-balanced and, by virtue of its amplitude, heterogeneous; it includes great and mediocre poetry, major and minor voices, and charts the course of poetic responses to the brutal facts of war and the neverending folly of those who “took their orders and are dead”, as AD Hope wrote in his “Inscriptions for a War”. Gerard Smyth • DRB
"The poems combine pronouncements, often phrased almost as adages, with a strangeness of juxtapositions verging on nonsense, to create dream-like faux fables. “The turtle, with her poison/geography and hard shell/can alone breast-feed the star.” Animals and people meet disparate objects, conflicts and the vast universe, creating stories like those we tell ourselves to make sense of the world (the appearance of Aesop in ‘Swallow The Marbles Then!’ makes the already implied connection), but without the final step of sense-making." Joey Frances on Tomaž Šalamun • Manchester Review
"But although Goldsmith champions the repurposing of texts that browsers make plentiful—like autopsy reports—he is in fact a relentless author of original content: his own image." Jason Guriel • The New Republic
"Literary happenings were on another plane, a heady place where people floated around loving books and each other and there were no awful mistakes where you might be accused of irradiating patients unnecessarily." Martina Evans Irish Times
"The Paris Review published a poem by white poet Frederick Seidel, "The Ballad of Ferguson, Missouri," which was roundly panned as maudlin embarrassment. Goldsmith ended on the crotch but Seidel begins there: "A man unzipping his fly is vulnerable to attack." He identifies the black penis as a threat and a liability. It gets worse." Brian Droitcour • Art in America
"This kind of poet is the kind that has ‘something to say’ rather than a way of saying things. ‘Something to say’, unless it is really a method or a style, is likely to be prosaic at bottom, and turning it into poetry can often make it aesthetically worse—and less poetic—than it would have been if written in decent prose." Alex Wong • The Fortnightly Review
"In ‘1916 Not To Be Commemorated’, he sees the poets silenced by the outlawing of expression in any form other than “celebrity cliché, media jargon, smart-speak. I was just thinking, the other day, what could we do on this Easter Monday, 2016, and I’m trying to be somehow reasonable and I wouldn’t like to get into a public polemic about it. But I was thinking, maybe just five minutes’ silence, where everything stops, apart from utterly essential services. Just complete silence." Paul Durcan • Irish Examiner
"Oddly enough, although Bishop has attracted passionate readers, she has not always had accurate critics. David Kalstone’s early studies, Becoming a Poet and Five Temperaments, remain important. And there have been other careful readers. There is, for instance, a fine oral history. But too often the critique has seemed to portray her as a miniaturist, an artist on ivory. Too often the great poet of Geography III has been diminished by the conversation. Sometimes it has seemed that a radical poet would have to wait for a radical critic." Eavan Boland • Irish Times
"If I’m honest, the question of why I write is one I tend to avoid thinking about, probably because I’m worried that the answer is just vanity or self-indulgence." Rebecca Perry • Faber
"Rather like [Geoffrey] Hill, Muldoon has developed a late style rich in opaque allusion and incomprehensible reference. Even an educated reader cannot hope fully to understand either poet without Google at her right hand." James Marriott Literateur
"I trained as a librarian and also as a snowboarding instructor, so either one of those would do." Frances Leviston • FT
"It seems most of his output has gone into creative work, poetry and novels, but I can’t help imagine what his prose on poetry would be like – the “clattering”, “splattering”, and “shuddering” of the typewriter and what it might say: a corrective to something he once said when we discussed a memoir of common interest: Lies, lies, lies!" Paul Perry DRB
"Over the course of her career Jamie has been bracketed as ‘a woman writer,’ then ‘a Scottish writer’, and now–in a time when nature writing has found a new popularity–‘a nature writer’. Jamie grew up in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, but was deeply influenced by the surrounding countryside. She was a poet for years, but made her biggest mark with essays, which she describes as “exploded diagrams of a poem.”" Cassie Werber • Quartz
"MOMA recently opened a survey show called “The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World,” which posits that “A-temporality, or timelessness, manifests itself in painting as an ahistorical free-for-all, where contemporaneity as an indicator of new form is nowhere to be found, and all eras coexist.” Swap the word “painting” for “poetry” and you get a pretty good idea of the direction that these younger poets are headed in. For them, historical styles are the literary equivalent of Instagram filters, a grab bag of scrims with which they can create astonishingly new works—works that could only have been produced in the digital age." Kenneth Goldsmith • New Yorker
"But the poetry I admire a lot of the time is a poetry of ourselves, a poetry that seeks to unite and make communion with others. Something Pierre Bonnard once said about becoming a painter seems related. “I had been attracted to painting,” he wrote, “but it was not an irresistible passion. What I wanted…was to escape the monotony of life.”" David Biespiel • The Rumpus
"Germany must be destroyed as Cato said about Carthage… Cartago delenda est…" Nanos Valaoritis • Book Bar
"We asked these writers—all publishing in or alongside various contemporary experimental traditions—whether there is now space for and openness to the exploration of aesthetics and race; we asked about tokenism and our allegedly “post-race” era; we asked them to compare public engagement with these ideas in so-called mainstream and avant-garde poetry circles." Stefania Heim • Boston Review
"The poem When All The Others Were Away at Mass [from Clearances III - In Memoriam M.K.H., 1911-1984] by Seamus Heaney has been named Ireland’s favourite poem of the last 100 years." Irish Times "“We suffered a chasmic blow” when Heaney died, said Peter Fallon, the founder of Gallery Press, the foremost Irish poetry publishing house, “but people are writing extraordinary poems, and I have faith in the art form.” Like all arts organizations that depend on government grants, Gallery Press rarely knows what funding it can expect from year to year and has suffered since economic austerity took hold in 2008. Support for the arts, culture and film fell to 75.9 million euros in 2014, from 92.3 million euros (about $97.6 million) in 2011, a disproportionate drop compared with other areas of public funding." Douglas Dalby NYT
"Among Graham’s generational peers, poets now in their 60s, are such aesthetically diverse luminaries as Mark Doty, Charles Bernstein, Brenda Hillman, Yusef Komunyakaa and C. D. Wright. But only Graham has synthesized all of the available strains — the ageless tradition of poetic contemplation; the half-century trend toward self-revelation; the mischievous, self-conscious cynicism about the very proposition of meaningful language — into a style that reflects the real world back, gives powerful moral commentary and makes our hair stand a bit on end because something real glows in each of her poems. Graham is to post-1980 poetry what Bob Dylan is to post-1960 rock." Craig Morgan Teicher • NYT

“People are frightened of the verse. After ‘Laureate’s block’” – his 1999 broadside against the poet laureateship – “the cultural establishment didn’t care for me.” Certainly the critics turned against him, panning the collection called Laureate’s block in 2000. He looks mildly surprised when I tell him the notices were bad. “I don’t give a fuck about that,” he says. “If I was worried about reviews I wouldn’t do what I’m doing.” Critics argued he had become too direct; that his poems gave up their meanings too easily. “What’s wrong with directness?” he counters. “It is always better to write for the whole of society than for the poetry-reading public. But I can do the other thing as well. I can do dense as well as anyone.” Tony Harrison • Guardian
"Here’s something unusual: poetry that’s fun to read." Daisy Fried on Erin Belieu and others • NYT
"The contemporary enthusiasm for ekphrasis is remarkable, given that we have a wider range of art forms to respond to, including film and photography, not to mention how the digital arts play with image or how innovative gadgets play with sound." Rachel Boast • PN Review
"(The preceding paragraph was written some weeks ago. I note that Sailing the Forest has today, January 9, received a gushing and content-free review in The New York Times from some balloon-head who claims that ‘Robertson hasn’t yet crossed over into the realm of mainstream adoration that Ireland’s Seamus Heaney enjoyed among American readers, but that’s probably only a matter of time’.)." Paul Batchelor • Tower Poetry
"Like his friend and fellow Scotsman Don Paterson, Robertson hasn’t yet crossed over into the realm of mainstream adoration that Ireland’s Seamus Heaney enjoyed among American readers, but that’s probably only a matter of time." Jeff Gordinier • New York Times
"Nothing local—save the monitor lizards—was allowed to spoil the vision. Everything was imported—even the trees." Alexander Suebsaeng • New Criterion
"the volume is brought to a close with ‘An Audience with BB’, a twenty four page collage that incorporates versions of Brecht’s own poems and Sirr’s responses to them. It’s a form that Sirr has used elsewhere to present the Roman poet Catullus and the world of medieval Irish poetry. On this occasion, there is clear parallel between Brecht’s aspiration towards peace and security in the ‘dark times’ of his Danish exile and Sirr’s brooding peregrinations. A richly imagined and resonant volume, The Rooms, is Peter Sirr’s best book to date." David Cooke • Manchester Review
"The text of The Albertine Workout is bracing and ironic; whereas Loom, I believe, is an example of what it might mean to step self-consciously into the world of another poet such that one’s own is startlingly rearranged." Martha Ronk • The Constant Critic
"At the nadir of the crisis in 2012, the then prime minister Antonis Samaras and Tsipras testily exchanged Cavafy quotations during parliamentary debates. “And now what will become of us, without barbarians?”, Tsipras alluded at one point; Samaras later quipped “Bid farewell to the Alexandria you are losing”." A.E. Stallings • TLS
"If patriarchy never changes, the stasis of [Eavan] Boland’s poems might be interpreted as a desperate irony, designed to underline the helplessness that is the female poet’s lot. Yet this side of her work coexists with an unfailing belief in her mandate to speak for, or over, the heads of others, including other women." David Wheatley • Guardian
"I wanted to argue the case for what it was like to be a young woman in a country where the images of women in the poetry were often fixed and inert: They were queens and sibyls or signifiers of Irish nationhood rather than real women with real lives. " Eavan Boland • Stanford Report
"As a return to the sixties — the lettering is Bloodaxe’s standard, but its orange-and-lemon-on-drab echoes the variants of Rubber Soul, and the Jane Bown cover photograph of the poet (“in the 1960s”) looking ruddy-cheeked, back-combed and even a touch horsey, sporting maybe the ruins of some white lipstick, and otherwise bedizened in zip-up ankle boots, checkered wool (Jaeger?!) pants, and a deeply comfortable, even much-loved-looking baby blue sweater, with a period glass of milky Nescafe, a purse, and a tatty stack of books on the table in front of her, holding a Bic Biro: somewhere between Julie Christie and the younger Camilla Parker-Bowles." Michael Hofmann on Rosemary Tonks • Poetry
"Today’s storm – the globalizing force and dizzying technologies of late capitalism – can give an ordinary individual astonishing experiences of power, yet it also utterly overwhelms him or her." Ailbhe Darcy on Justin Quinn • Poetry International
"He asked our names. I told him mine and he said, “That sounds familiar. I have a son who goes by that.” Then he said, “Imagine how I must feel among friends with names like Donald Justice and Galway Kinnell and W.S. Merwin” — he drew out the syllables, as though he were saying “Rockefeller” and “Vanderbilt” and “DuPont.” “Lucky sons-of-bitches, put on earth with poets’ names. And here I am, Phil Levine from Detroit.”." Mark Levine on Philip Levine • Poetry Foundation
"‘Is the Bible sexist?’ pondered a poster in the sixth-form centre, hoping to entice at least a couple of people along to that week’s lunchtime discussion group." Flora de Falbe • The Missing Slate
"But before we begin to categorize his poetry, it is helpful to perceive that Russian conceptualism, at least as [Lev] Rubinstein and others practice it, is not focused on a shell into which content is purposefully or accidentally “poured,” but is best conceived as a literary form into which very specific, even if quite disjunctive content is shaped by the poet into a more abstract expression of ideas." Douglas Messerli • Hyperallergic
"For Venuti, a translation practice like Pinsky’s or Padgett’s — indeed, the translation practice of most translators in most places at most times — is philosophically and morally compromised." V Joshua Adams Nonsite
"Although writing and storytelling are an end in themselves, any book that has as its backdrop a national setting packs a bigger punch. Fiacha Fola: Blood Debts is a personal story set against a national scandal. With A lesson in Can’t, not only is there a national backdrop, there is an international dimension also." Celia de Freine Irish Times
"This passing on of unique biographical vignettes of past poets is part of the glue that makes up poetry friendships, especially from one generation to the next. It is how we understand poetic genealogy, for we make up our own class in a sense, our own tribe, a tribe based on the art. In that regard it is utterly egalitarian. Who your parents were or what your skin colour happens to be or how much money you have doesn’t really count for much." Spencer Reece Granta
"For what is easier today, in English specifically, than to bring up a negative association with anything Arabic or Muslim and then juxtapose it to the grand, diverse American or Western “we”?" Fady Joudah Kenyon Review
"The explosions of New York’s youthful little magazines around 1964 are, as Kane argues, often countercultural, but clusters of poets turned to modernists and modernisms as related and as various as Hart Crane, Gertrude Stein, Dada, surrealism, and others to reflect their versions of contemporaneity." Stephanie Anderson Nonsite
"As you might expect, Paper Bullets contains plenty of gleeful bawdiness. [Julie] Kane is a poet who will blithely rhyme “watch” with “crotch.”." A.E. Stallings • Light Poetry Magazine
"It was Poe, for example, who suggested, in a Marginalia note in 1848, that some “ambitious man” should undertake the writing of a book to be called “My Heart Laid Bare”, which, “if true to its title”, would be so daring that “The paper would shrivel and blaze at every touch of the fiery pen”." Marjorie Perloff • TLS
"Without realizing it, I had been talking in "poet voice" — that affected, lofty, even robotic voice many poets use when reading their work out loud." Matt Petronzio • Mashable
"This feeling of waiting to be called forward must be felt acutely by four or five excellent poets of [Harry] Clifton’s generation. That call doesn’t come too often." Tom McCarthy Dublin Review of Books
"In my opinion, we do an enormous “let them eat cake” disservice to our community when we obfuscate the circumstances that help us write, publish and in some way succeed." Ann Bauer • Salon
"So expected now, indeed, may be his virtuoso handling of the unexpected, that the moments which genuinely shock can be those slightly jarring lines where the poet chooses to expose himself at ground level, without the tricks of the trade. If arcane language puts some barriers between the self and a truth he doesn’t want to face, at other times the straight-talking, tonally less familiar Muldoon also intrudes – almost involuntarily it seems – on his own complex poetic structure." Fran Brearton • Guardian "If Cuthbert and the Otters does not seem to have “naturalized” its wild connections (although, as always with Muldoon, this reader may be missing something obvious and revealing about the poem’s set-up), the same cannot be said about Dirty Data, the book’s closing tour de force." John McAuliffe • Irish Times
"It’s hard to be a straight male poet." Joey Connolly • Faber Academy
"The poetry critic is a different creature, evolved within a different ecosystem, whose resemblance to most critics of fiction is not much closer than honeyeaters to chickens." Ben Etherington • Sydney Review of Books
"Baraka knew he was wound tight. “I am a mean hungry sorehead,” he writes. “Do I have the capacity for grace??”" Dwight Garner • New York Times
"What’s so noteworthy about Frost’s recitation at Kennedy’s inauguration is not, I would argue, his ability to recall “The Gift Outright,” but the fact that he gave up the printed poem he had available and recited from memory instead — inclining, on a national stage, away from the values of print and toward the values of orality." Mike Chasar Poetry
"The spectre of illness hangs over The Exiles’ Gallery, the Vancouver writer Elise Partridge’s third collection of poetry, which will be published in April." Mark Medley • The Globe & Mail
"Every other poet was starting one forty years ago, so we thought, Why not us? Ours was to be called Gastronomic Poetry. Both Mark and I had noticed at poetry readings that whenever food was mentioned in a poem—and that didn’t happen very often—blissful smiles would break out on the faces of people in the audience. Thus, we reasoned, in a country where most people hate poetry and everyone is eating and snacking constantly, poems ought to mention food more frequently." Charles Simic • NYRB
"Poets had to do more than that. Raised in a country that pompously declared five-year plans could be achieved in four, Tomaž [Šalamun] insisted on highly individual poems that irreverently bared all our cruelty, hypocrisy and callowness for all to see." André Naffis-Sahely • Paris Review
"Nobody but an adolescent bore wants to be famous for his person." David Mason on Derek Walcott • Hudson Review
"At 142 pages Nine Bright Shiners asks a lot of its readers, one feels that a more ruthless editorial eye could have fit the book into a comfortable 80. But, Theo Dorgan is a man with quite a bit to say." Cal Doyle • Southword
"This sumptuous presentation of manuscript material alongside all of Herrick’s ridiculously wonderful poems leaves little doubt that future critics and readers will further tackle reading Herrick against the backdrop of his environment and peer-audience. Of course, this should be done while also keeping in mind the proper atmospherics suggested by the poet himself in “When he would have his verses be read”: 'In sober mornings, doe not thou rehearse / The holy incantation of a verse; / But when that men have both well drunke, and fed, / Let my Enchantments then be sung, or read.'" Patrick James Dunagan • The Rumpus
"Since sound and rhythm, 'the noise made' as Peter Levi puts it, is intrinsic to poetry, then the most fundamental claim that could be made for the discontinuity of British and American verse would be that the language used either side of the Atlantic has diverged so much that when the respective rhythms appear in poetry they are too foreign to touch the other side." Jeffrey Wainwright • PN Review (1981)
"Even when we attempt to turn away from history and current events to look for remaining instances of the pastoral, we are faced with reminders that there never has been a simpler time." Brian Simoneau The Rumpus
"We were just a couple of short-order cooks who kept trying to pass themselves off as poets." Mark Strand • NYRB
"Then I ask the cheesiest question in the interview book, multiplied by three: what are your three favourite poems? He has the name of one poem prepared." Rosita Boland • Irish Times
"But on the night of the competition, the poets took center stage, closing the door on the drudgery of their daily lives." Dipika Mukherjee World Literature Today
"Isn’t this the sort of thing a journalist, even an arts journalist, ought to find curious? – that a judge of a poetry competition could read over 100 books and find that the best of them turns out to be the work of a colleague of hers. (Even Roehampton’s own website, in announcing Harsent’s coup, seems to avoid noting the involvement of another member of the faculty, while linking to Sampson’s review of Fire Songs.)" Michael Caines • TLS " There are no mavericks, and yet, if poetry’s duty is to avoid the cliché, surely it is mavericks we need? The winner was David Harsent." Anthony Howell • Fortnightly Review
"[Ken] Babstock has not only been writing against his gifts, but writing against the expectations those gifts saddled him with. To borrow a phrase from William Logan, Babstock’s new work “criticizes the pleasures taken” in the old. He has undone what his hands have made. Carmine Starnino • Maisonneuve
"Translated poetry seems like just another marketing niche, easy enough to avoid if one is intent on maintaining ignorance and preserving one’s assumptions." David Rivard • Numero Cinq
"The Spanish novelist Javier Marias came by regularly seeking the more elusive titles of the poet John Gawsworth. Gawsworth had been a close friend of the writer M.P. Shiel, known for his ornate prose and visionary fiction (notably such stories as “The House of Sounds” — much admired by H.P. Lovecraft — and the last-man-on-earth novel “The Purple Cloud”). Shiel was also the duly recognized king of Redonda, a small island discovered by his father. At his death he passed his crown to Gawsworth, and today Redonda’s sovereign is Marias (though there are pretenders to the throne). In a subsequent essay, we are told that Kociejowski is now the kingdom’s official “Poet Laureate in the English Tongue.”" Michael Dirda on Marious Kociejowski • The Washington Post
"Ancient squabbles at a now-defunct literary magazine, involving a good deal of now dated Marxist cant, are not inherently very interesting. But the Partisan Review, both in its high editorial standards and in its struggles to resolve inherent tensions between the domains of politics and art, continues to be a point of reference in our literary culture." Jonathan Clarke• The Millions
"Until I read The Scarborough, I hadn’t heard of Paul Bernardo or Karla Homolka (I’m approximately Lista’s age, and from New York, and my parents were probably too busy scaring me about Central Park to mention horrors just over the border)." Abigail Deutsch on Michael Lista • Maisonneuve
"He is less dependent on praise than most writers, while as much as ever, in the new book, deserving it." Karl Miller on Hugo Williams • Spectator
"But there’s an awful lot in this book of the reader’s buying into a rhetoric and address which actually side-lines much of the response the reader could make." Ian Pople on two new books • Manchester Review
"I had been studying poetry with different people at Harvard, like Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Creeley, so I was struck by the connection between Jonathan’s deep poetic roots and the idea of talking about everyday things. So the poetry was there—instantly I could hear the visionary poetry." Ernie Brooks • Vice
"The site has triggered debate about the health of poetry in Africa. Kgosidintsi, who has taken part in an African poetry festival in Beijing, China, said: “People definitely want to perform poetry but I worry that the fact that we don’t publish it, and when we do publish, we don’t sell.”" David Smith • Guardian
"One of the most extreme forms of high–low exchange takes the form of engagement with Virgil’s Aeneid. Published three generations before the destruction of Pompeii and already consecrated as Rome’s national epic, this would seem to be the perfect example of a unified textual corpus. But, as Milnor shows, Virgil was almost instantly atomized into bite-sized snippets which permeated the popular consciousness and embarked on their own creative afterlife – just as “To be or not to be” did, or “The boy stood on the burning deck”. It would be nice to find something significant in the Pompeians’ choice of Virgilian lines (a few of them contain anti-Greek sentiment, for example)." Emily Gowers • TLS
"And besides, why should I ask you questions, or make remarks that do not interest you?" Yves Bonnefoy, tr Hoyr Rogers • Fortnightly Review
"The big, ‘standard’ works are all here; his ‘Antebiography’ detailing his family’s lineage and life in pre-war Handsworth; ‘Fisher on Fisher’, a spoof self-review first published in the Rialto, and the wonderful ‘Licence my Roving Hands’, which describes his ‘other life’ as a jazz pianist working small clubs and dives and ‘an accompanist for sudden strippers in tough spots’! But other, just as interesting pieces are brought together here for the first time; his necessary essay on Pound in which he comments, ‘In language my specialism is in the pathology of soft tissues, transient and perishable substances; when it comes to bone I’m out of my element. I’ll still turn to Pound for a reminder of what hardness is.’" Ian Pople on new books by and about Roy Fisher • Manchester Review
"I began this book feeling the resentment that only the deeply envious, the truly middle-aged and those who never go anywhere can feel." Colm Toibin • Irish Times
"The number and variety of poems grew, but the public appetite for them shrunk. And the poets that did force their way into the limelight had developed a reputation for being difficult (like T.S. Eliot) or reckless (like Dylan Thomas). The poet and the poem became inextricable; a simpler idea of what makes a poem emerged: it was the authentic, personal expression of the poet." 13 Pages
"For Duncan, myth and poetry are the snakes entwined around Hermes’ caduceus, whose flowering rod bursting forth into wings H.D. waved like a sorcerer’s virga in the third volume of her epic serial poem Trilogy." Peter O'Leary • The Cultural Society
"The poem has the texture of sense without making it; the connective parts of the sentence appear to function properly, but the elements being connected do not. David Herd has written that the language of John Ashbery’s poem ‘The Tennis Court Oath’ doesn’t work because democratic language at the time of its composition wasn’t working; even more troubling, Donnelly’s poem appears to work but does not work, operates in a disorderly fashion under a semblance of order. The rhetorical fluency of the poem itself becomes suspect, semantic and grammatical ‘offenses’ occur unstoppably and unremarked upon, the poem races down the ‘wild highway’ of itself oblivious." Oli Hazzard on Timothy Donnelly • Prac Crit


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