Essays and Comment

  • How to Write on Rat Skin

    Decades ago, when personal computers were still a novelty just being embraced by writers among others, I fell into argument with a famous older poet.
    Issue #91 March 2019
  • The Other by Chard DeNiord

    THE OTHER In his great book The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, William Blake records some of his wisest lines in a section ironically titled “Proverbs of Hell.” Unlike Dante and Milton, Blake believed that “energetic creators” presided in Hell where they created what he called “memorable fancy” in defiance of the “mind-forged manacles” of conventional morality and religion. One

    Issue #90 February 2019
  • Dredgings by Alexander Dickow

    Dredgings Alexander Dickow Why not mix languages, like Theresa Hak Kyung Cha or Jody Pou? French and English are to my eyes situated back to back, recto-verso. They communicate like medieval lovers, by knocking on an impassible wall. The wall becomes at once obstacle and passage, means of communication and its impediment. * Sometimes, asking forgiveness revives anger rather than

    Issue #89 January 2019
  • Can Poetry Save America by Chard DeNiord

    CAN POETRY SAVE AMERICA? Czelaw Milosz, the twentieth century Polish poet and Nobel laureate who became a U.S. citizen in 1970, published a poem titled “Dedication” in 1946 in which he wrote, “What is poetry which does not save Nations or people?/ A Contrivance with official lies.” In acknowledging poetry as an art with the power to save nations, Milosz

    Issue #88 December 2018
  • In Memorium: Peter Everwine — 1930 – 2018: written by Christopher Buckley

    In Memorium: Peter Everwine — 1930 – 2018 Peter Everwine died in his home in Fresno, CA during the night Oct. 27. He had been active, happy, and healthy, and recently had given a reading of his new poems to an enthusiastic audience in a local series. Everwine was one of the most accomplished and valued poets and translators writing

    Issue #88 December 2018
  • That Which is Difficult: Poetry at West Point – Matt Salyer

    I was sitting on a corniche near the Tigris River watching kingfishers trip and scamper
    Issue #87 November 2018
  • Aldon Nielsen: White Mischief Redux

    I’ll confess at the outset that, despite my intense interest in contemporary poetries, the name of Anders Carlson-Wee was utterly unknown to me before the day I saw his excited post on social media celebrating the fact that one of his poems was to be published by The Nation. Had his name been known to me, I would never have

    Issue #86 October 2018
  • Piotr Florczyk: The Milosz Festival

                      The Miłosz Festival, which takes place in the city of Kraków over four days during the second week of June each year, prides itself on being the largest event of its type in East-Central Europe. However, its size—how is it calculated? —has nothing to do, in my view, with its quality.

    Issue #85 August 2018
  • Marc Scroggins Why Swinburne? (An Open Letter)

    Why Swinburne? (An Open Letter) Dear B——, The other night at the bar, when I had just gotten in from the street and we had barely started the first round, you asked, “Why Swinburne?” The long version of that question might go something like this: “You’re a poet who looks to J. H. Prynne and Susan Howe as lodestars; you

    Issue #84 July 2018
  • Alexander Dickow: Poetry, Sentimentality, and the Laugh Track Compulsion

    Poetry, Sentimentality, and the Laugh Track Compulsion   The Anglo-Saxon world – many would say mercifully – never brought forth anything quite like Alphonse de Lamartine. Lamartine’s Méditations poétiques of 1820, a bestseller well beyond anything today’s poets could ever dream of, ostensibly typifies French Romanticism. Virgil Nemoianu has convincingly argued that French Romanticism bears more resemblance to the aesthetically

    Issue #83 June 2018
  • Robert Archambeau: The Poem in White Space

    The Poem in White Space   White space comes first, for the poet and the reader.  I don’t mean anything as interesting as the idea that poetry exists primarily in the space of whiteness, conceived as a racial identity, as a field dominated (at least in these United States) by white people, white norms, the white past, and white structures

    Issue #82 May 2018
  • Amish Trivedi: Taylor Swift is a Barbarian or: Stephanie Burt’s Defense of Poetry

    Taylor Swift is a Barbarian, or: Stephanie Burt’s Defense of Poetry   In November 2017, Cosmopolitan published an interview with Stephanie Burt in which Burt critiqued poems Taylor Swift had included in “magazines” packaged with her latest album, Reputation. In the interview, Burt draws a line between the work Swift does in writing poems and the work that professional poets

    Issue #81 April 2018