Essays and Comment

  • “Getting Stabbed Kinda Takes the Fight Out of Ya” by David Kirby

    This month’s essay on voice by David Kirby emanates the confidence and tone of an accomplished poet who is also a master teacher. Astutely aware of the collusion that occurs between sight and sound in effective “voice,” Kirby cites one poignant example after another of the audible magic he calls “direct speech”— speech he claims that “keeps talking” for reasons

    Issue #105 May 2020
  • “But They Have Dwindled,” Rethinking Wordsworth’s “Resolution And Independence” As A Modern Day Cautionary Tale by Chard DeNiord

    In one of his most profound existential poems, “Resolution and Independence
    Issue #104 April 2020
  • Flash Essays by Alfred Corn

    Most of us have read Joyce’s Dubliners, which includes the story “Ivy Day in the Committee Room,” but do we know what Ivy Day is in Ireland?
    Issue #103 March 2020
  • Essay on the Prose Poem by Charles Simic

    I’m grateful to Peter Johnson for bringing Charles Simic’s brilliant, unpublished “Essay on the Prose Poem” to my attention. Although Simic wrote this essay ten years ago, twenty one years after he won the Pulitzer Prize for his book of prose poems titled The World Does Not End, it reads as freshly today as it did in 2010. Rife with

    Issue #102 February 2020
  • Reading and Writing Outside Thebes: In Praise of Syntax by Kimberly Johnson

    In 1939, at the queasy outset of the second World War, W. B. Yeats’s last published works appeared 
    Issue #101 January 2020

    In his poem “In the Evening Air,” Theodor Roethke declares, “I’ll make a broken music or I’ll die.”
    Issue #100 December 2019

    Dear Reader, Fellow Perfume Testers and Collectors, Parfum Editors, Shunned Lovers Who Can No Longer Stand the
    Issue #99 November 2019
  • On Ross Gay’s Likely Dispassion

    When is dispassion in a poem more passionate than heat?
    Issue #98 October 2019
  • Suspense, Suspension, and the Sublime in the Poetry of Robert Frost

    Suspense, Suspension, and the Sublime in the Poetry of Robert Frost     Robert Frost was a sublime poet who struck terror in both himself and his readers. Gifted with a prodigious capacity for what John Keats called “negative capability,” that is, the ability to exist “in uncertainty, Mystery, doubt”—and I would add suspense—“without any irritable reaching after fact and

    Issue #97 September 2019
  • The Reliable Stream: On A.R. Ammons’s The Complete Poems, V. 1 & 2, W.W. Norton 2017 by T.R. Hummer

    This essay introduces new readers of Ammons’ work to the metaphysical courage of his ceaseless, restless poems, while also providing the first comprehensive overview of his Complete Poems from both a biographical and critical perspective. – Chard deNiord The Reliable Stream: On A.R. Ammons’s The Complete Poems, V. 1 & 2, W.W. Norton 2017 Human forms, as well as other

    Issue #96 August 2019
  • Walking into Metaphor

    A few weeks back, while snow persisted, no matter it was April, I headed into the woods, in part
    Issue #95 July 2019
  • “The Prose Poem and the Problem of Genre”

    When it comes to deciding on whether a work of short prose is a prose poem, a flash fiction,
    Issue #94 June 2019