The Page
poetry, essays, ideas
"Not only does our digital living condition us profoundly, and by the stealthiest increments — so that with every new upgrade, every app, we are not only further empowered, but also more deeply reliant — but it also creates in us an estrangement, a sense of void." Sven Birkerts Aeon
"To some extent the revival can be seen as a vogue among poets, a fashion fuelled by the popularity and visibility of Heaney and Michael Longley, two of its main proponents. In the late 1980s and early 1990s both were instrumental in bringing the classical revival from the Irish stage into poetry." Florence Impens Irish Times
"Tom French has much to say but admirably it is often on behalf of others. These are poems without any pretensions, with a sturdiness to the diction and playful inclinations such as in the poem “Angler” in which a road-measuring exercise with a reel of tape is compared to the angler reeling in his catch. He mixes plain statement with imaginative and often startling leaps and U-turns that make the reader sit up." Gerard Smyth DRB "The narrative tone of a Tom French poem is immediately recognisable: detached but sympathetic; sensuously nostalgic; watchful; alert to the serendipities of time, place, and logos; acutely aware of the local with its twin taproots in history and landscape." Caitriona O'Reilly Irish Times
"While a student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Hamill won a $500 for producing the best student literary magazine in the country, and used that money to team up with Tree Swenson and Bill O’Daly to found Copper Canyon Press." Ian Dreiblatt Melville House
"Today I set out to devise the thing I would have actually turned in to W. H. Auden if I had been in his class at the Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association (better known today as the 92nd Street Y) sixty-two years ago." Anthony Madrid • The Paris Review

"According to Nadel, the decisive shift toward his future singing career came at a party at Frank Scott’s house, when Cohen introduced the music of Bob Dylan to the Montreal poets. Listening to Subterranean Homesick Blues, the writers didn’t know what to think. Al Purdy, classy as ever, called it an awful bore and stomped out of the room. But “Cohen listened intently, solemnly announcing that he would become the Canadian Dylan, a statement all dismissed.”" Derek Webster • CNQ

"Flarf was and is many things—a movement, a method, a friend group, an in-joke, an email list. But mostly Flarf was a product of a keenly-felt transitional moment, when the various institutions that glued American poetry together were soaked in the solvent fluids of emergent social media. Poetry, and discourse about it, was no longer beholden to the moderating temporality of the print journal, the gatekeeping of the university MFA program, or the fierce tribalism of the city-based avant-garde scene." Jasper Bernes Chicago Review
"That Shakespeare did not (as far as we know) plan land-grabs and massacres in Ireland or anywhere else does not alter the fact that his poetical figurations share a lot with Spenser’s. Or may it not in the end be poetry itself which is excoriated as authoritarian, or more commonly “elitist”, or at any rate poetry which values the extending perspectives of its own ancestry and enjoys echoic ornamentation. This would include a lot of contemporary poetry and, I would think, a lot of Irish poetry in both languages." Peter Riley Fortnightly Review
"Contemporary Anglophone radical poetry absorbs and rejects the imperative to be commensurate with the environment of its making, an imperative made with no greater utopian assiduity than in Whitman’s verse, because the world it must recognize as its own is built upon the systematic exploitation and indentured suffering of those without whom it would not exist." Joe Luna Chicago Review
"Reticence may be the déformation professionnelle of the poet. In Auden’s case, this seemed all the more likely because much of his work, in utter simplicity, arose out of the spoken word, out of idioms of everyday language—like “Lay your sleeping head, my love, Human on my faithless arm.” This kind of perfection is very rare; we find it in some of the greatest of Goethe’s poems, and it must exist in most of Pushkin’s works, because their hallmark is that they are untranslatable." Hannah Arendt • Literary Hub

"This is poetry as “a middle zone between the news and prayer,” as the literary scholar Jahan Ramazani has put it: poetry that comments on the world and at the same time bends language to hope for the possibility of another. Its complexity is sustaining, giving us something to think about that changes as we think about it, and as we hope for conditions to change." David B Hobbs The Nation
"Digital commentary, Bury writes, can cover the source text like kudzu vines, “until only its faint outline remains”. As with book reviews replacing the book itself, now succeeding waves of commentary can overwhelm the source more rapidly than can be kept up with, which has led to the rise of the “take of takes”: summarised aggregations of the responses so far. It can be oppressive to think about how much of the cultural conversation it is impossible to keep up with." Chris Power New Statesman
"A language of reviewing which might reach for phrases such as ‘beautifully controlled’, ‘body of work’, and a general slew of self-gratifying slippage between the verbal and the corporeal, is inadequate to Kingdom of Gravity." Vahni Capildeo on Nick Makoha The Compass
"Which is to say, I don’t think I had any grasp of the staggering range and history of British writing, apart from who made headlines or got attention in the United States because of awards or notoriety or big reviews. Zadie Smith and Simon Armitage are the only two names that immediately come to mind as I try to recall who I had heard of prior to arriving in London." R.A. Villanueva • Oxford Poetry

"Osip Mandelstam’s life and work are seamlessly united; his speeches and deeds form a singular impression of wholeness, of joyful integrity and inner freedom. “Everything has become heavier and more massive,” he wrote in his essay “On the Nature of the Word”; “thus man must become harder . . . the sacred character of poetry arises out of the conviction that man is harder than everything else in the world.” Osip demonstrated his own adamantine hardness—the “deep bedrock of principles,” in Nadezhda’s words, “which set him apart from anyone of his own or later generations”—when he meddled, on pain of death, in the case of an imprisoned art historian; when he intervened to save five old men facing execution, sending Bukharin a volume of his poetry with an inscription to the effect that “every word here is against what you are going to do”; and especially when, taking the measure of a Goliath like no other the world has ever seen, he weighed little stones of poetry—dense verses of formal power, earthy thematic richness, and striking imagery—against the immense totality of the USSR." Jacob Howland New Criterion
"I'm not sure where or when he gave his first poetry reading but he was no less nervous. Afraid that, if he took the time to read slowly and pause occasionally, he'd lose the audience, he rushed. He didn't want to sound too actorish, too Dylan Thomasy. He didn't like his voice, too high and thin; his accent, too English. It was a wonder, then, to witness the Extreme Makeover: he got to be so good! His voice was high and thin but its limitations allowed him to dramatize just enough." Mike Kitay Threepenny Review
"The long eponymous poem is a masterful depiction of motherhood during the Troubles as a perpetually heightened state of vigilance and vulnerability. The quiet “rhythms of a culchie life” on the farm are disturbed suddenly and repeatedly by the jarring words broadcast on the radio, which seems to come alive in the poem’s opening: “The radio hoots and mutters, hoots and mutters / out of the dark, each morning of my childhood.”" Dawn Miranda Sherratt-Bado DRB
"“I am ashamed to say I do not understand the poem clearly,” my student wrote. When I write back to her, I offer explanations about confusing lines and send her articles on Modernism and symbolism and World War I, but I also tell her there is no need to feel ashamed." Emily Frisella • The Rumpus

"Much of Zagajewski’s mulling takes place on his long walks around the city. He shares his bibliography for walking, recommending Italian poet Eugenio Montale, Greek diplomat and poet George Seferis, the Czech poet Vladimir Holan. One can almost hear his Polish-accented drawl as he writes, “And so we live, torn between brief explosions of meaning and patient wandering through the plains of ordinary days.”" Cynthia Haven Weekly Standard
"In part three of the poem, (Sarah) Arvio comes up with an interesting solution when she translates the fifth line as “I have seen the gray rain chase the waves” (Kinnell translates this as “I’ve seen gray rains fleeing toward the sea” and Spender and Gili’s version is “I have seen grey showers move towards the waves”). Arvio’s single-syllable words suggest panic; in the meter, it sounds like a good line of English poetry—T.S. Eliot might have been proud of it—rather than a translation. Since both the rain and the waves are in movement, “chase” serves to emphasize this and suggests also that something urgent is at stake, even if in the original Spanish the rain is running away from something as well as running toward the sea." Colm Toibin NYRB
"Whitman, long recognized for his candid treatment of the body and sexuality, was also the quintessential poet of disability and death. As a volunteer nurse in the Civil War hospitals in Washington, D.C., he visited, according to his own estimate, between 80,000 and 100,000 wounded or sick soldiers over the course of four years." David S. Reynolds • NYRB

"People presume there is a lot of structure in this structure because I think some of the best poetry I have ever read, it goes beyond the bounds of standard grammar. But when you know the grammar really well you can utilise what you like to get the message across." Joe Schmidt Irish Times
"In the far future, when the only readers who cherish and puzzle over Lucie Brock-Broido’s poems are those who never met her, those readers will surely try to imagine what she must have been like in person." Stephanie Burt • Paris Review

"The last time I saw Lucie was at the Star Market in Porter Square. She had called me a few weeks earlier to say she had a brain tumor and was dying. She said it in the same way as she had said many things over the last thirty-plus years, with characteristic theatricality." Askold Melnyczuk • Agni

"There are so many models of lyric – Allen Grossman and Susan Stewart beautifully and differently elaborate it – that consider lyric as responsiveness. Grossman has a scary, incisive model of Orphic vs. Philomelan origins of poetic power, Stewart an account of ‘lyric possession’. All these seem terribly resonant and extremely complex to me – accounts of ways we call, and are called, into being, speech, silence. But I also think of any lyric as implicitly choral, or as emerging out of some subliminal sociable chorus, some matrix we all swim in and sometimes ‘speak’ or ‘sing’ from." Maureen N McLane Granta
"The narrative tone of a Tom French poem is immediately recognisable: detached but sympathetic; sensuously nostalgic; watchful; alert to the serendipities of time, place, and logos; acutely aware of the local with its twin taproots in history and landscape." Caitriona O'Reilly Irish Times
"Coming soon after he began teaching at Harvard and was hearing the “unmoored speech” of some contemporary American poetry, the commission would also be a way of ensuring that his “linguistic anchor” stayed “lodged on the Anglo-Saxon sea-floor”." Andrew McCulloch TLS
"[T]hroughout his career, Gunn wrote against the grain of Confessional poetry. It is as though his poetry depended on him treating himself as someone else, or nobody in particular, someone almost anonymous. Gunn never claimed the Orphic privileges of the ‘Poet’ or a ‘Poet’s Life’ like Robert Lowell or Sylvia Plath. He was content to operate within the republic of contingency." Kit Fan The Poetry Review
"Samuel Lee is part of a new generation of Singapore poets published by the influential Math Paper Press who are forced to navigate the authoritarian city-state’s strict censorship constraints. In her 2016 essay ‘Chapter and Verse’, Math Paper Press poet Amanda Chong explains poetry’s role in a city with ‘growing feelings of dislocation, a widening income gap and limited historical consciousness’. ‘Singaporeans have an affinity for obliqueness, eschewing direct confrontation for more coded expressions,’ Chong writes. ‘Poetry is seen as the ivory tower of the intelligentsia, its messages safely elevated from the masses. This has created space for narratives that contest State orthodoxy.’" Natasha Stallard The Manchester Review
"The collection What Are Years (1941) seems to be the last book of Moore’s height as a modernist, the last book to include long poems of excitingly varied yet symmetrical syllabic stanzas, across which the associative hypotactic turnings of her exacting mind were woven." Christopher J Adamson Boston Review
"There is a feeling, in Gunn, that sinuosities of syntax, given the scaffold of rhyme, and proved upon the pulse of meter, cannot fail in the quest for complexity; he has a habit of relentlessly finessing a perception until the rhymes begin to self-generate, and the metaphysical contortions produced as a result are mannered, not cognitive. Rococo, not rational, though Gunn’s no-nonsense aesthetic — he was hard on poets like James Wright, for writing disconnectedly — packages these flourishes as a strict logic." Vidyan Ravinthiran Poetry
"Translation, like any work of reporting or reading or interpreting or narrating, isn’t like that. I think we should aim not to be “unbiased,” but to be responsible, and that involves being as conscious as possible about our biases and preferences, as well as being informed as possible about the material at hand (which includes our society and the English language, as well as the Greek text)." Emily Wilson • Chicago Review of Books

"Graves, Mac Neice, Longley, and the poets whom Longley appreciates regard middle-class educated conversation as the decent norm, fit to maintain the middle C of poetry while allowing for local extravagance, demotic or sublime. This is evidently what Longley means by “the true tradition”. No wonder his sole mention of Eliot is to say that The Hollow Men is “pretentious tosh”. " Denis Donoghue Irish Times
"The reading, he tells us, is a form of “poor theatre”: its lack of resources is important to what it does. In general, poetry readings are not like opera. Nobody takes our tickets and shows us to our seats, there’s no orchestra, no curtains, no lights." Ailbhe Darcy The Critical Flame
"If one is not from a dominant group, the question of identity can’t be taken for granted; even if one wants to shunt it aside and write of other things, one often feels compelled to make a case for doing so." Robert Archambeau Hudson Review
"Overdue apologies to all those who thought Brick must be an acronym: Book Review . . . Nope." Stan Dragland Brick
"Zagajewski’s primal tristesse cannot be confined to Lvov or any other locale. It reaches around the world, embracing his eventual emigration to Paris, his sojourns in Berlin and the United States, and finally Kraków, the literary heart of an “exceptionally polemical, and often petty, country.”" Cynthia Haven • Weekly Standard

"The names he used to sign his letters convey a similar breadth of interests: Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve (from an American radio sitcom of the forties and fifties); Mrs Harold Chillywater (from Ronald Firbank); Oriane de Guermantes; Boob McNutt (a 1930s comic strip character); Fleda Vetch (heroine of Henry James’s The Spoils of Poynton); Sybil Fawlty; Pastor Fido (from an opera by Handel); The Countess Gruffanuff (from a Thackeray fairytale); Wackford Squeers and Mrs Fezziwig and Miss Havisham; Miss Turnstiles (from the 1949 movie On the Town); Dagwood Bumstead (from the comic strip Blondie); Diggory Venn (from Thomas Hardy’s The Return of the Native); Adinolfa, Carmichael, Bob Boucharessas (from Roussel’s Impressions d’Afrique); Marjory Frobisher (from To the Manor Born); The Sea Hag (from Popeye); Puzzled in Pomona; Captain Peacock, Mr Grainger, Cuthbert Rumbold and Young Mr Grace (from Are You Being Served?). Like these characters, John seemed indestructible. I am still finding it hard to believe I have no more of his witty, elegant, erudite, goofy, gossipy, supremely entertaining letters to look forward to – and then to answer as best I could." Mark Ford PN Review
"It was after a December 1963 ocean crossing, nine days in rough weather, that Schifano showed up in New York with his model/art student girlfriend Anita Pallenberg—later the companion of the Rolling Stones’s Brian Jones, until she paired off with bandmate Keith Richards instead—and found a studio sublet at 791 Broadway, where O’Hara and his partner LeSueur were among the neighbors." Barry Schwabsky • NYRB

"I’m not one of these poets who write about how their parents met, or their grandmother’s story, or about my own life." Jane Yeh • The Poetry Extension

"If, as Logan writes later in the same poem, “There was an hour when style was not the cause,” what I have been describing did not occur at such an hour: if this is a failure, it is wholly the result of style." Jack Hanson • Kenyon Review

"Blood may be the physical image that connects all types of violence in Don’t Call Us Dead, but it is also the route to commemoration and love." Sandeep Parmar • Guardian

"I remember, especially, his tug of war with the journalist Matías del Río. Nicanor had agreed to talk to him on the condition that there be no questions or recordings, but del Río took two minutes to break the rules. “You, sir, are a pontificator, and pontiffs belong in Rome,” Nicanor said, suddenly, and walked out without a word." Alejandro Zambra • New Yorker

"The poem’s cast of female characters — princesses, queens, slaves, goddesses — along with its vagueness on the technical details of sailing and war, led Samuel Butler to propose, in his brilliant if zany 1887 book The Authoress of the Odyssey, that the epic was written by a woman." A.E. Stallings • Spectator

"[W]ith this one book, Crase established an immediate place in contemporary American poetry, which was followed by almost complete silence. If you want to obtain The Revisionist now, you are going to have to pay a lot of money for second hand copies and even more for new ones, as this major book has been out of print for a very long time. In a note which accompanies the poems, Crase himself seems to suggest that the pieces in The Astropastorals come from a period between 1979, before the publication of The Revisionist, and the year 2000. If that is the case, then somewhere a major American voice has lost its way. And a major book is, unconscionably, out of print." Ian Pople The Manchester Review
"In his Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Coleridge describes a ‘rotting sea’ full of ‘slimy things.’" Jessica Sequeira • Berfrois

"Any such anthology as this is bound to involve several endlessly controversial trade-offs, but there can only be unqualified approval for the contextual materials, in the form of short introductory essays, notes and glosses, that greatly assist the reader to make both local and overall sense of what could otherwise be a bewilderingly vast and pathless expanse of text. And a brief word in conclusion about one of the two hugely industrious editors. Now approaching his eightieth birthday, Meic Stephens has for half a century been one of the most imposing figures on the Welsh cultural scene. A fine poet and prodigious compiler –for instance of The Oxford Companion to the Literature of Wales – Stephens it was who made possible the thriving Welsh book industry of today thanks to his seminal investment in infrastructure during his culturally transformative years of service as Director of Literature at the Welsh Arts Council." M Wynn Thomas PN Review
"Anybody with an interest in poetry should be reading Leontia Flynn." Kate Kellaway • Guardian

"In Britain we like to point the finger at America for its record on racism. It is only when writers such as Hirsch and Reni Eddo-Lodge are given a platform that we are forced to confront how it plays out on home ground." Bernardine Evaristo TLS
""A big one." It’s a phrase you’ll come across several times in reading Allen Curnow. It could be a fish caught off Kare Kare, a talent another writer didn’t have, an implied assessment of his own." Vincent O'Sullivan • The Spinoff

"If at times I felt too much moderation in the stack of books I was reading through, a too predictable decorum, and could have wished for a clunk, a barbaric yawp or two, even a bit of show-offy artifice, still I liked the understanding that not everything has to be a monument, or to aim at greatness — though there were many great things in these books. I liked tremendously the sense that, rather than a specialized event, poetry can be, simply, a way of living." Daisy Fried Poetry
"I have needed all the genres I have used, and, as a sort of common denominator, I have been the same person with the same concerns from one genre to another." Wendell Berry • Library of America

"I too was a young desperado of a critic, right up to my first (and wholly deserved) death threat, after which I decided that this was not the career for a coward with such a fundamentally lousy attitude." Don Paterson • Guardian

"He was a poet who could get away with putting the words ‘rupestral concentricity’ in a poem, but who also refused to spare himself: ‘how selfishly you serve your own heart’s bent.’ Scarcely anything, now, remains uncontaminated by the shabby depredations of the age, with its drive to monetise, to commodify; not even poetry. In a time when so many important questions are negligently left unasked, Richard Murphy’s work continues both to pose these questions and to answer them." Caitriona O'Reilly Irish Times
"On both sides of the “noble amateur” debate, if that’s what this is, there is, of course, fault to be found, but also virtue: as above, Watts has been accused of sour grapes and everything else, whereas, even if her views seem incorrect, she might just as well be admired for intellectual honesty, as McNish is, and for defying the popular way of thinking." Michael Caines • TLS

"Instapoetry, the so-named slips of inspoverse that have propagated on Instagram like the common cold over the past few years, is a boutique of perfectly curated objets de commerce—“Raised lettering, pale nimbus. White,” American Psycho’s ideal business card gone digital—selling a sanitized unreality." Soraya Roberts • The Baffler

"When Richard Wilbur died in October at 96, he left behind a body of work that rivals that of the great modernists." Christian Wiman • New York Times

"In one short poem [Ahren] Warner compares his beloved to a kitten, a porpoise, a dormouse, and a camelid." Paul Batchelor • New Statesman

"In 2015 I heard McNish speak on a panel at the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, where she was also a main performer. Two things she said struck me then as bizarre, both in themselves and for the fact that she chose to admit them publicly. The first was that her publisher (presumably by then Picador) had sent her a pile of books to read, because they thought she hadn’t read enough poetry. The second was that the poems she was writing presently were the same as the poems she had written in her childhood diaries." Rebecca Watts • PN Review

"Well, my favorite poem is “The Flea” by John Donne. I would have liked to have written “The Flea.”" Paul Muldoon • LARB

"Increasingly in our aggressively nationalist times, inwardness is thought of as high virtue; insularity and stubbornness of vision are promoted as signs of a courageous up-holding of supposedly threatened heritage and values." Christodoulos Makris • Versopolis

"It is wonderful for criticism to be generous to its readers, but is it best for lyric poetry?”" Alibhe Darcy • B O D Y

"Szymborska, on the other hand, loathed the attention thrust upon her. She didn’t like talking about herself or her work, and moreover, as Janusz R. Kowalczyk puts it, “Szymborska did not enjoy ostentation or celebrations—being declared the Nobel laureate was considered ‘the Stockholm tragedy’ by her friends, as it forced her to give more interviews in a month than she had faced in her life.”" Jonathan Russell Clark • Lit Hub

"It is also Aeschylus that forms the link to Balmer’s second book, The Paths of Survival, a larger, less personal enterprise – “larger” in that it covers more than 2,000 years in the history of Aeschylus’s lost play, Myrmidons. Very little of Aeschylus survives at all and only tiny fragments of Myrmidons remain as preserved, quoted or referred to over time. In this sense it represents all lost texts, all destructions by fire, fury, theft, or neglect." George Szirtes • New Statesman

"Plath’s early poetry, the stuff she wrote at Smith and had published in Harper’s, was awful. Written under the burdensome influence of Dylan Thomas, it was, as Thomas could occasionally be, showy and aimless. (“Go get the goodly squab in gold-lobed corn / And pluck the droll flecked quail where thick they lie.”)" Anwen Crawford • New Yorker

"Not everyone was blown away by the book. Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, the physicist-satirist of Göttingen, was no more enthusiastic about the novella than he was to be about Goethe’s scientific efforts: “I think the smell of a pancake is a better motive for staying in this world than all young Werther’s ponderous reasons for leaving it.” I must myself confess a congenital antipathy to Goethe’s novels. The characters seem to swim about in a glaucous haze like electronically controlled fish." Ferdinand Mount • NYRB

"I have needed all the genres I have used, and, as a sort of common denominator, I have been the same person with the same concerns from one genre to another." Wendell Berry • Library of America

"We can choose to ignore the noise of other people’s certainties with a close-minded conviction in attending to our own; we can rig up a contraption of agreement and say we all see it one way, pretending that there is not enough discrepancy in the small print of our subjectivities to prove this a lie, or we can simply admit that Truth in the Universe Knowable to Humankind is really a great diversification of certainties, crystallising endlessly away from a mythical absolute.” This makes sense." Jack Underwood • Poetry Review

"On the liner notes to his 1964 album, The Times They Are a-Changin’, Dylan told us that he wrote “with the sounds of François Villon echoin’ through my mad streets.” This makes sense." Allen Barra • The Daily Beast

"Rhyme and meter are natural features of language. But of course in natural speech the rhymes are mostly imperfect, and they occur at irregular intervals. And in natural speech the meter keeps varying too, like the grain of wood or the texture of a forest. That’s the kind of rhyme and meter that appeals to me most. The enchanted forest is really a forest; it isn’t an orchard." Robert Bringhurst • Manchester Review

"While few poets write with such soaring richness as [Kaveh] Akbar, few are as scatterbrained." John Ebersole • Tourniquet Review

"What was Moore’s verbal trapeze work like, then? She was a genius metaphor-maker to begin with, but it was her daring use of form that drew gasps." Ange Mlinko • Poetry

"My Twitter feed is full of writers and critics who relentlessly strive to be up on their field, logging every literary debut like librarians, returning from writing conferences with shareable jpegs of their book-engorged tote bags, or lighting out for yet another reading, the stacks on the book table like some mountain range, the promise of a horizon." Jason Guriel • The Walrus

"This both was and was not a regular Mass, for at the door the poet’s nephew Andrew Montague handed out a printed order of service that included a selection of Montague’s poems, particularly ones about Garvaghey, his neighbours (Like Dolmens Round My Childhood), a mountain spring, the penal rock in Altamuskin, Lynch’s meadow, and First Landscape, First Death, which states his wishes for the burial of his body." Adrian Frazier Irish Times
"i don’t think i have any idea of my own voice. perhaps this is a question for a reader to answer?" Anne Carson • Quarterly Conversation

"The Queen will present Muldoon with his medal in 2018." PA Guardian
"The actual Jerusalem is rather different, of course—a city riven by sectarian conflict, coarsened by tourism, marred by the building of settlements and walls, and by the scars of occupation. This discrepancy between ideal and reality is the premise of Adonis’s poem, in which the heavenly archetype hovers like a mirage above the degraded modern city." Robyn Cresswell • New Yorker

"Throughout House of Lords and Commons, an expansive, elastic line balances a compression of complex and vivid images. " Sandeep Parmar • Guardian "The House of Lord and Commons, like many first and second collections, is a reckoning on two levels: one, with the landscapes of childhood and adolescence in poems that attempt to speak with, and put the dead to rest, in the pursuit of a life and identity the speaker can call their own; the second, a reckoning with language – mining influence, as they did with memory, for what will become their own voice: a place, as Heaney said, ‘where we can at last grow up to that which we stored up as we grew’." Chad Campbell • The Manchester Review

"“The anecdote,” said the poet Anne Boyer, when I met her for the first time in the flesh and not on Twitter, in 2016, “resists authority.” Until late 2016, there were no anecdotes about Elena Ferrante, only about readers’ experiences of accounting for Elena Ferrante, including guesses as to her age, sex, nationality, inheritance, hierarchy, and familial and professional relations." Joanna Walsh LARB
"Don Coles, who died last week at ninety, took a long time over his writing—he was forty-seven when his first book of poems appeared. That legendary patience not only played a role in his becoming one of Canada’s best poets, but if the art form in this country is as vibrant, accomplished, and celebrated as it’s ever been, it’s in good part due to the example he provided to generations of younger writers." Richard Sanger • The Walrus

"What interests me about poetry as a medium is that it tends to make reality – that we in many ways oversimplify in order to survive it – as complex as it needs to be again, as filled with contradiction as it needs to be." Jorie Graham • Guardian

"God, how people smoked in 1981—Joseph with his L&M’s (“Wystan smoked these”), Derek with filterless Pall Malls, Seamus with his Dunhills." Sven Birkerts • Bookhaven

"A poet should be wary of goading poems toward vision or grace. Longley writes of a little girl who has just played the Virgin Mary, probably in a school pageant, “You . . . carry home the spongeware bowl/ Very carefully, still unbroken/ After birth-pangs and stage-fright and/ Large enough to hold the whole world.” The world would have been bad enough; the whole world seems the work of a door-to-door salesman." William Logan • The New Criterion

"This, as I see it, is because of a pervasive insecurity about the status of poetry in our culture. On the one hand, between large and small independent publishing houses, the U.S. publishes thousands of new books of poetry every year, and where a generation ago there was just one poetry book contest in America, now there are over 300, according to a 2010 article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. And it’s estimated that less than seven percent of Americans even read poetry. Publishing houses accept as a rule that they will almost always take a loss on a publication of a book of poetry." Sarah V. Schweig • Public Seminar

"People disagree on what they like, of course," said lead author Amy Belfi, a psychologist at Missouri University of Science and Technology. "[But] it seems there are certain factors that consistently influence how much a poem will be enjoyed." Tom Jacobs • Pacific Standard

"Without question, Merwin is America’s most important living poet.” Dean Rader • San Francisco Chronicle

"In 1937, while exiled in Svendborg, Denmark, Brecht produced a cycle of unrhymed epigrams that he called Deutsche Kriegsfibel (German War Primer), which he published in the Moscow-based German monthly Das Wort and later included in his Svendborg Poems. Brecht’s frequent collaborator from his Weimar years, the composer Hanns Eisler—who, in American exile, would furnish the score for the anti-Nazi Hollywood film Hangmen Also Die! (1943), co-written by Brecht and directed by fellow European transplant Fritz Lang—soon adapted the epigrams into an operatic composition titled Against War.” Noah Isenberg • The Nation

"One evening, after bathing her daughter and sharing with her their favorite desert — sakuramochi, a pink ball of sweet sticky-rice wrapped in a salty cherry tree leaf — Kaneko went into her study, wrote a letter to her husband asking that he let her mother raise the girl, and took her own life a month before her twenty-seventh birthday.” Maria Popova • brain pickings

"In 1939 Miłosz had found work as a janitor at the Warsaw University library, which was closed to the public, in order to get a daily bowl of soup and have access to books.” Charles Simic • NYRB

"But I was pleased to learn that John Ashbery really liked to tell jokes. One joke John told Ted unrolled in the following circumstance: Ted goes over to Frank O'Hara's to get some poems for "C". It is late Sunday morning. Frank hasn't come out of the bedroom yet, actually. Then John comes over too, and Frank still hasn't come out (I don't know how they got into the apartment! the door had been left open?) They wait, they wait. Then, Jim Brodey comes out of Frank's bedroom, and leaves. Then Ted and John wait some more. Then John tells Ted the following joke. John: Have you heard about the Dumb Bunny Bomb? Ted: No, John. John: You drop it over a large city, and all its inhabitants instantly become stupid. (Pause) I think they dropped it this morning.” Alice Notley • Brooklyn Rail

"Just as I had begun to think Emre’s preferences for personal essays would be disastrous if applied to poetry—because I see poetry as, among other things, consciousness put down on the page—her parsing of Gaitskill’s “mechanicalness” and the importance of being vigilant of its myriad tentacles makes perfect sense when we remember that the worst poetry often mines clichés, the mechanical and rote accommodation of predictable ideation around (as above) dating, the social mediatization of one’s ideas or real-life experience, sexual mores, coolness, troubling political realities, etc.”Nyla Matuk • Berfrois

"Of [Jack] Gilbert's favored words, probably none conveys better the poet -- his life, his work, his ambitions for both -- than magnitude. ” John Penner • LA Times

"The first words spoken by a mortal in Virgil’s poem are Aeneas’ in terror of the storm and in dread of a watery grave.” A.E. Stallings • The Hudson Review

"Away from social media, [Leontia] Flynn archives instead the near past of the pre-internet.” John McAuliffe • The Irish Times

"Was Arnold any good as a poet? Or rather, to anticipate an answer – which is that, yes, I think he was very good – what are we to make of the fact that so many of his readers, both contemporary and since, have thought he wasn’t up to much?” Seamus Perry • TLS

"The new details will not change most perceptions about Wilbur’s “almost suspiciously normal life,” although it should dispel the sense that he shared none of the horrors and despair of his more self-revealing peers.” A.M. Juster • First Things

"Newspapers a century ago often carried verse, and verse, learned by heart at school, was also recited at home. Public verse was high on patriotic hope in 1914. A line from the first stanza of ‘For the Fallen’, lamenting those who have ‘Fallen in the cause of the free’, was absolutely meant.” Michael Alexander • Literary Review

“We are cast by chance into an age in which nothing is worse than to be openly ignorant, nothing more rare than to be fully learned.” John Donne • Guardian

"In his new book, Bunk, a cultural history of hoaxes in America, the poet Kevin Young argues that the popularity of the Sun’s story “owed much to its re-creating on the Moon what many white readers believed could be found at home.” Robert P. Baird • Esquire

New poems

Forrest Gander New Yorker

JD McClatchy Poetry

Stephen Sexton Southword

Doireann Ní Ghríofa The Poetry Review

Fady Joudah Scoundrel Time

Tess Jolly The Compass

sam sax Gulf Coast

Thom Gunn Poetry Archive

Leontia Flynn Poetry Ireland Review

Amina Saïd, tr Marilyn Hacker Words Without Borders

Adam Crothers Manchester Review

Tracy K Smith TriQuarterly

WS de Piero Threepenny Review

Tara Bergin Poetry London

Henri Cole NYRB

Tom French Poetry Daily

Stephen Sexton Southword

Simon Armitage Cordite

Anne Carson Brick

Dawn Watson The Manchester Review

Matthew Welton Shuddhashar

O. Flote The Poetry Review

Susannah Dickey The White Review

Neal Alexander New Welsh Review

Andrea Cohen The Atlantic

Jane Yeh Poetry London

Bill Manhire Poetry

Naomi Novik New York Times

Richard Murphy Poetry International

Evan Jones The Manchester Review

Gerard Fanning The Manchester Review

Tiana Clark Rattle

Sebastian Agudelo The Manchester Review

Paul Otremba Scoundrel Time

Rachel Custer American Journal of Poetry

Charles Simic Threepenny Review

John Montague Poetry

I remember Sir Alfred, "The gardens of Buckingham Palace / were strewn once with Irish loam"

Sarah Kirsch Modern Poetry in Translation

James Womack PN Review

Katherine Pierpoint Poetry London

Igor Klikovac Poetry (Chicago)

Han Bo Asymptote

Hannah Lowe Magma

Kayla Bashe Hypnopomp

Troy Jollimore Narrative Magazine

Anna Akhmatova Interim Poetics


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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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