Essays and Comment

  • Michael Gregory Stephens: Angels on the Avenue: The Lower East Side When Poetry Was the World

    Angels on Second Avenue: The Lower East Side When Poetry Was the World   At the start of the 1960s, the Lower East Side transformed itself—from a Jewish ghetto that was still peopled with immigrants from Russia and Eastern Europe—into the East Village, a neighborhood of jazzmen, hipsters, alternative poets, ranting public intellectuals, drug addicts and winos and dropouts, students

    Issue #75 October 2017
  • Kathy Lou Schultz: Teaching African-American Poetry in the Age of Trump

    Teaching African American Poetry in the Age of Trump   Poetry can’t change the world. The world where we witness horrors from the dismissal of every child’s right to receive a quality education and live in a safe environment, to white racists toting semi-automatic weapons and the Nazi flag through the streets. The world where we wait to see what

    Issue #74 September 2017
  • Emily Grosholz: Do I write as a Woman Poet, or as a Poet who is a Woman?

    Do I Write as a Woman Poet, or a Poet who is a Woman? When I was a child, I thought of poetry as one of the common idioms of life. My mother’s father wrote sonnets, and she and her sisters wrote occasional verse for various occasions; my father’s grandmother’s father published a book of poetry, and my father edited

    Issue #73 August 2017
  • Mark Scroggins: Poetry as Wallpaper: In (Ambiguous) Praise of Low-Intensity Poetics

    Poetry as Wallpaper: In  (Ambiguous) Praise of Low-Intensity Poetics   There are many William Morrises. For Marxists, he is a central figure in nineteenth-century English radicalism, author of a number of still riveting essays on labor and art and the memorable utopian socialist novel News from Nowhere. For readers in the fantasy and science fiction hinterlands, he is preëminently the

    Issue #72 July 2017
  • Joshua Corey:The Golden Age of Poetry Blogging

    “Blogspot was our Montparnasse” – Robert Archambeau The era of poetry blogging was a brief one, more like a moment than an era. It was preceded, in the 1990s, by the SUNY Buffalo Poetics List, founded according to its archival site by Charles Bernstein in late 1993. A simple listserv that predated widespread access to the World Wide Web, it

    Issue #71 June 2017
  • Ernest Hilbert: On Literary Relics

    Rare book collectors devote whole lives to finding and preserving books by authors they love, though the books alone may not be enough to satisfy them entirely. Those who pursue first editions are an uncommon breed, arriving in any number of amiable or maddening types, sharing a desire to acquire, organize, and shape expensive collections that embody their highest desires

    Issue #70 May 2017
  • Chard deNiord: SWIMMING IN THE DROWNED RIVER OF CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN POETRY

    As a poet, essayist, and interviewer for the past twenty five years, I have struggled with a compound question that too few of my colleagues have felt emboldened, for understandable reasons, to address, namely, what is the state of poetry in America today and what is the best way to talk about it with potential readers who feel both lost

    Issue #69 April 2017
  • Anthony Madrid: A Gallery of Rhymes from Palgrave’s Golden Treasury, Book 1

    A Gallery of Rhymes from Palgrave’s Golden Treasury, Book I     1 Spring, the sweet Spring, is the year’s pleasant king; Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring, Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing, Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!     This is the first stanza of a short poem by Thomas Nash. I

    Issue #68 March 2017
  • Michael Anania: When Buffalo Became Buffalo

    When Buffalo Became Buffalo   There are several issues embedded in my title, I suppose, not only when Buffalo, the private University (after 1962 the State University of New York at Buffalo), became Buffalo but how and why Buffalo became a center, perhaps the center, of American poetry. For me, “when” is easy. Buffalo became Buffalo on August 5, 1963.

    Issue #67 February 2017
  • Ernest Hilbert: The Muse and the Auctioneer’s Gavel: Learning About Poetry from First Editions

    The Muse and the Auctioneer’s Gavel: Learning About Poetry from First Editions   For a decade and a half I have worked more or less contentedly as a rare book dealer, roughly half the number of years I’ve devoted to being a poet, an equally eccentric pursuit. In that time I’ve had the pleasure of placing quite a number of

    Issue #66 January 2017
  • Amish Trivedi: Confessions of a Contest Junkie

    If you have any vice or addiction in your life – and we all have something – you probably already know that what you are hooked on is bad for you. You already know how you justify your fix. You know how you feed your high. And yet, you cling to your degeneracy, denying it is a problem. Your enablers

    Issue #65 December 2016
  • Linda Ashok: Letter from India: Worshiping the Stone Manasa

    Letter from India: Worshipping the Stone Manasa   I remember my father at 21, being hounded by the police for his supposed involvement in India’s most fearsome uprising against class inequality and peasant insubordination, known as the Naxalbari Movement. Called Naxalbari after the place in West Bengal where the revolt was first began in 1967, this movement was an armed

    Issue #64 November 2016