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Articles in Poetry

I Think We’re Alone Now

November 1, 2014
I Think We’re Alone Now

Two poetry volumes – one concerned with how to be ourselves, alone, inside, the other concerned with making multifacted connections with external reality – are reviewed in a gentle dialogue with each other.

from At Will

November 1, 2014
from <em>At Will</em>

a poem

An Unfolding Elegy

November 1, 2014
An Unfolding Elegy

When sudden death claimed poet Jake Adam York at the age of 40, it cut short his life’s work of commemorating all the martyrs of the American Civil Rights movement; Teow Lim Goh re-reads the man and his work.

ELECTION DAY

November 1, 2014
HouseOnTheRockCarousel

a poem

From the Archives: Truth be Told: On Natasha Trethewey

November 1, 2014
From the Archives: Truth be Told: On Natasha Trethewey

Poet Laureate Natasha Tretheway mines American history–the early colonies, slavery, the Civil War–for the material of her poetry. Teow Lim Goh visits with the figures she’s brought back to life.

Are You Useful to Anyone?

October 1, 2014
lightson

a poem

from The Ditties

October 1, 2014
BoxingDay1939

a poem

Major Trends / StarDate

September 1, 2014
1024px-495296main_epoxi-1-full_full

a poem

abalone

September 1, 2014
<em>abalone</em>

a poem

From the Archives: The Wandering Page

September 1, 2014
From the Archives: The Wandering Page

Modernist poet P. K. Page may be the most important Canadian author you’ve never heard of. An impressive new biography, replete with examples of Page’s poetry and prose, seeks to remedy that.

A Picture Book

August 1, 2014
A Picture Book

Cover art from Omni, the new-age science mag of yore, is now a coffee table book: Giger, Frazetta, and Grant Wood are all here, but something crucial has been left out.

Words

August 1, 2014
Words

a poem

Felix Feels Bitter

August 1, 2014
Felix Feels Bitter

a poem

canes domini

July 1, 2014
canes domini

a poem

Belen

July 1, 2014
Belen

a poem

Tempus Fugit

June 1, 2014
Tempus Fugit

Maxine Kumin, friend of Anne Sexton, master of poetic form and meter, died just before her eighteenth book was published. Maureen Thorson dives into her allusive, welcoming last poems.

That no one should hurt ya

June 1, 2014
be

a poem

Alaska Epithalamium

June 1, 2014
AnchDown

a poem

‘A Quiet Conscience Sleeps in Thunder’

May 1, 2014
gray

a poem

pantograph

May 1, 2014
Pqr

a poem

From the Archive: Prediction

May 1, 2014
near-death

a poem

Title Menu: 10 Books that Might be Poetry

April 1, 2014
Tao-Te-Ching-McDonald-John-H-9780394718330

Are these 10 books collections of “poetry”? Does it matter? “As poetry” is the best way to read these hybrid titles.

MOONS OF GRIEF

April 1, 2014
MOONS OF GRIEF

a poem

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know

April 1, 2014
Tell Me Something I Don’t Know

Two new books of poetry take different approaches to the written word and its conundrums. Can words express the truth, or are we asking too much of them?

IF IT’S THE LAST THING YOU DO

April 1, 2014
IF IT’S THE LAST THING YOU DO

a poem

Bill Knott, 1940-2014

March 13, 2014
Bill Knott, 1940-2014

Open Letters mourns the passing of a giant of American poetry.

(redux)

March 1, 2014
(redux)

a poem

Pedestaled in Triumph: Robert Browning in Italy

March 1, 2014
Pedestaled in Triumph: Robert Browning in Italy

The great and problematic poet Robert Browning drew some of his most powerful poetic inspirations from the lore and lure of Italy; Luciano Mangiafico traces the complicated relationship of the man to his “adopted homeland.”

From the Archives: Two From Saturnalia Books

March 1, 2014
knot

John Cotter looks into new mixed-media books of poetry by Bill Knott and John Yau to discover shades of meaning in the interplay of artwork and verse.

Crown

February 1, 2014
crown

a poem

Title Menu: Twoo Wuv

February 1, 2014
Title Menu: Twoo Wuv

February would be unremittingly bleak if it weren’t for the excuse it gives us to ponder the meaning of love, that many-splendored thing. Our editors offer up their favorite literary treatments.

Office Space

February 1, 2014
Office Space

When we read poetry, we want the transcendence of art: how is that compatible with being at work? A new collection of poems explores the possibilities.

January 2014 Issue

January 1, 2014
January 2014 Issue

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exorcisms

January 1, 2014
Shadow

a poem

A Palace and a Prison at Each Hand: Lord Byron in Italy (part 1 of 2)

January 1, 2014
A Palace and a Prison at Each Hand: Lord Byron in Italy (part 1 of 2)

Byron was mad, bad, and dangerous to know — and eventually his amorous, adventurous spirit led him to Italy.

Studio Matto e Disperatissimo: The Life and Writings of Giacomo Leopardi

December 1, 2013
Studio Matto e Disperatissimo: The Life and Writings of Giacomo Leopardi

He was the greatest Italian poet since Dante, but he was tormented by a strict upbringing, ruinous health, and moods of black pessmism. He was Giacomo Leopardi, and this is his story.

Thousands of Grids

December 1, 2013
Thousands of Grids

Building on his previous work, in New Poems Ben Mazer tries to find a balance between structure and fluidity.

My Last Dutchman

December 1, 2013
My Last Dutchman

a poem

from “Dear Alain”

November 1, 2013
<em>from “Dear Alain”</em>

a poem

Connect the Dots

October 1, 2013
<u>Connect the Dots </u>

What kind of reader would she be, our Poetry Editor asks, if she didn’t allow herself to be susceptible to Ange Mlinko’s sublime, piercing unreason?

A Certain Profit Situation

October 1, 2013
goldleafsheet

a poem

An Excerpt from YOU.

September 1, 2013
An Excerpt from <em>YOU</em>.

a poem

Missed Connections

August 1, 2013
Missed Connections

Is David Rakoff’s novel-in-verse either worthy verse or a worthy novel? Does he pull off a high-wire act, as so many critics have concluded, or is it all a grand illusion?

Home, Where the Art Is

August 1, 2013
Home, Where the Art Is

In “Belmont,” Stephen Burt, poet of Boston’s byways, offers readers verses that so court the senses as almost to confound them, shifting from technical confidence to unstructured questioning. As Kirsten Kaschock writes, “Burt attempts in these pages what Shylock did not dare” …

August 2013 Issue

August 1, 2013
August 2013 Issue

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Tender Reproach Aeronautics

August 1, 2013
Tender Reproach Aeronautics

a poem

July 2013 Issue

July 1, 2013
July 2013 Issue

________________________________________________________________________

Second Glance: Reticent Confessional

July 1, 2013
Second Glance: Reticent Confessional

Hospital visits, supermarket checkouts, and casseroles – the odd, unassuming verse of Jenny Bornholdt might leave some critics wondering if it’s actually poetry at all. Critic Stephen Akey says her work is intimate yet reserved – and warns us not to expect The Duino Elegies.

Four Short Poems

July 1, 2013
Four Short Poems

a poem

From the Archives: Summer Reading 2012

July 1, 2013
From the Archives: Summer Reading 2012

As the haze and heat of summer kick into full swing, the folk of Open Letters break out their annual Summer Reading recommendations!

From the Archives: Summer Reading 2012 Continues

July 1, 2013
From the Archives: Summer Reading 2012 Continues

Our feature continues, as more Open Letters folk share their annual Summer Reading recommendations!

wild swans

June 1, 2013
<em>wild swans</em>

a poem

Rending the Familiar

May 1, 2013
Rending the Familiar

Shane Book’s evocative collection Ceiling of Sticks shows us our familiar world in ways that might surprise even the most jaded reader into optimism about poetry.

from Soft Perimeter

May 1, 2013
D1

a poem

“A Crystal Stranger Taking Off Their Mask”

May 1, 2013
“A Crystal Stranger Taking Off Their Mask”

Constructing a “walrus itself” is a difficult thing to do – but it’s just one of the transubstantiations Ben Mirov attempts in his latest collection of poems

Silly Like Us: W.H. Auden

April 1, 2013
Auden 2

Coming of age after World War I, Auden took the alienation of his generation and sharpened it to a special keenness; he transformed his disaffected modernism into an immortal body of work that still challenges today.

The Impossible Magic of Becoming

April 1, 2013
The Impossible Magic of Becoming

Even the speaker in Jennifer Denrow’s new book knows that the California she imagines is one she’ll never visit, one that cannot possibly be real – but that’s what makes it so alluring.

The Second Line

April 1, 2013
The Second Line

A poem

new old forest: infrastructure

March 1, 2013
DecFor

a poem

Point of Origin

March 1, 2013
Point of Origin

“He said he would have Crispin Glover play him in a movie”–Alejandro Ventura’s image-rich and always funny poetry is on full display in Puerto Rico. Joe Betz reviews.

A snake once flew through the air

March 1, 2013
A snake once flew through the air

A conversation with Adam Golaski about The Problem of Boredom in Paradise: Selected Poems of Paul Hannigan

Late Night in the High Tang Dynasty

February 1, 2013
longsteps

a poem

Tom and Em

January 1, 2013
Tom and Em

It is said that Thomas Hardy fell deeply in love with his wife, Emma, only after she died. Stephen Akey revisits the stunning, elegiac poetry he wrote in her memory.

REFRAIN

January 1, 2013
Shadowall

a poem

How the Higgs Streams in the Firmament

January 1, 2013
How the Higgs Streams in the Firmament

What do Christopher Marlowe and the newly discovered Higgs boson particle have in common? Anthony Lock explores the connection, by way of unified fields.

Annus Mirabilis of Mäda Primavesi

December 1, 2012
innocence

a poem

Nothing To Do With Dante

December 1, 2012
Nothing To Do With Dante

Kathleen Rooney’s poems in Robinson Alone can be read two ways–as standalone pieces and as connected parts that form a single poetic narrative of a character’s life

From the Archives: Tribute and Farewell

December 1, 2012
Nox-accordion-fold

A look back at Anne Carson’s book-length elegy “Nox,” in which readers are asked not only to unfold the poetry’s symbols and allusions but also the accordion-like book itself.

Never-Neverland

November 1, 2012
Never-Neverland

The fairy tale has been through several metamorphoses; the next might result in its extinction. Max Ross reviews Jack Zipes’s cultural history of the genre.

Borges and You

November 1, 2012
Borges and You

Although I would rather do almost anything than attend a literary reading (like, for instance, stay home and read), I made an exception for Jorge Luis Borges when he lectured to a packed house at …

Wabbit-hunting

November 1, 2012
Wabbit-hunting

In sparse and contrapuntal verse, familiar words are warped out of their comfortable meanings, and sharpened to juxtapose – but is Joyelle McSweeney’s latest experiment a success?

Before the Correction

November 1, 2012
Before the Correction

a poem

Songs of Experience

October 1, 2012
AMadrid

Sufi mystics, barbaric yawps, and the comedy of the sexes are what’s inside Anthony Madrid’s new collection of ghazals. What does our poetry editor make of this puzzling Persian pattern?

Talking about Hats, and Maybe Goats

October 1, 2012
Talking about Hats, and Maybe Goats

Emily Pettit turns nonsense into horse sense, or goat sense, in her new collection Goat in the Snow

Nine Ways of Looking at D’Annunzio

October 1, 2012
Nine Ways of Looking at D’Annunzio

Madman, lothario, despot, drug fiend, friend and enemy of Mussolini – and immortal poet. Gabriele D’Annunzio was all of these things and many more in his whirlwind of a life.

The Passage

October 1, 2012
lines

a poem

‘By hunger I mean more’

September 1, 2012
fengsunchen

Myth and fairy tale seem as far from true as can be, but Feng Sun Chen’s poetry uses them to explore the necessities and unavoidable transformations of life.

Attainted: The Life and Afterlife of Ezra Pound in Italy

September 1, 2012
ep

Pound wrote The Pisan Cantos on toilet paper while prisoner in an open-air metal cage during WWII, and he spent many of the following years in mental hospitals. “I can get along with crazy people,” he quipped. “It’s only the fools I can’t stand.”

Two Poems

September 1, 2012
floe

two poems

Therapeutic Wordsworth

September 1, 2012
Prelude

There are warring schools of fad and interpretation, there are critical readings of an hour or a season – and then there’s Wordsworth’s verse itself, annotating and amplifying the personal reading experience.

Videos of Glory

September 1, 2012
LiPre

William Shakespeare meets Halo 2 in Colby Somerville’s new chapbook Death TV (1-6): the drone of bees in ancient glades and the drone of Lockheed Martin. What’s the poet onto?

Today He Wrote Something

August 1, 2012
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Matvei Yankelevich’s poetry may seem direct and plainspoken, but as a new collection shows, his verse reveals a long battle with the uncertainty of language.

Good in the Good Sense: Antonio Machado

August 1, 2012
camposdecastilla

The great Antonio Machado loved his native Spain and was disgusted by its descent into fascism; that fusion of enchantment and grief vivifies his unforgettable poetry.

One More Favor

August 1, 2012
fotb

a poem

Aloof in Ceasar’s Empire

August 1, 2012
jbrodsky

In Soviet Russia, Joseph Brodsky was persecuted by the authorities, but memorized by ordinary people. In the capitalist West, he was feted by the authorities, but ignored by ordinary people. Perhaps it’s just as well he thought reality “nonsense or a nuisance.”

Humane to Hornets: The Poetry of James Schuyler

July 1, 2012
afewdays

The verses of the neglected poet James Schuyler seem to ramble, but they don’t really ramble; they seem dishevelled, but they aren’t; they seem miniaturist, but they contain whole worlds. Stephen Akey makes the case for your renewed attention.

LOVE SONG FOR PYROMANIACS AND LIBRARIANS

July 1, 2012
BurBs

a poem

Peruvian Pan Flutes

June 1, 2012
laac

a poem

Deus in Machina: poetic technique in Derek Walcott’s Omeros

May 1, 2012
claude-lorrain-seaport

Derek Walcott’s long Homeric tribute “Omeros” will likely stand as his masterpiece and reward detailed study for centuries. And as with Homer, even small fragments of the world can yield fascinating insights.

Bad for You

May 1, 2012
collossus

Known as much for how she exited her life as for the poetry she wrote during it, Sylvia Plath remains a polarizing figure in the world of verse. What are we reading, when we subject ourselves to her poems?

STATE OF THE UNION

May 1, 2012
sp

a poem

Aid in the Labyrinth

May 1, 2012
RJ1914-1965

Randall Jarrell was suspicious of attempts to turn criticism into a science: he wrote as a reader, for other readers, with the work itself foremost in his mind.

Odi et Amo

April 1, 2012
Catullus

The work of the Roman poet Catullus has always challenged the received idioms of poetry and society, and a daring new translation both underscores and undermines that iconoclastic Catullan stance.

Downright Rude: Reading Catullus

April 1, 2012
poemsofcatullus-green

The raw sexuality of the Catullus’ love poems keeps them alive even today, and the things he implied about Julius Caesar STILL can’t be repeated in polite conversation – how do we deal with this young man who’s always making us feel just a bit uncomfortable?

The People’s Prisoner

April 1, 2012
TiananmenSquareJune289

When the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded in 2010, it was given to an empty chair. Its recipient, Liu Xiaobo, was in prison for advocating human rights in China. Though he is still incarcerated, a collection of essays sheds light on his thought and struggle.

from The Butterfly Nail

April 1, 2012
ClFa

a poem

The Knower and the Sayer

March 1, 2012
leaves_of_grass

Most criticism is reactive, but in his essay “The Poet,” Ralph Waldo Emerson proved prophetic. He set a challenge and Walt Whitman took him up on it.

Silex

March 1, 2012
pentopage

a poem

City Zen

February 1, 2012
kateSchapira

How should we relate to our cities? To ourselves? Kate Schapira couldn’t be asking more important questions in her latest collections of poems, How We Saved The City, and The Bounty: Four Addresses

Wallace Stevens: A Spirit Storming

February 1, 2012
Harmonium

Wallace Stevens, so long considered the driest and most cerebral of poets, can in fact touch the soul. It all hangs on the nature of poetry itself, what it is.

The Drifter

February 1, 2012
CrField

a poem

Recognizably Human: Larkin and the Sentimental

February 1, 2012
Philip-Larkin-Postcard-2-290×290

Nobody would accuse the mature Larkin of being a greeting card poet, and yet a warm and even vulnerable sentimentality bubbles up in his verse, often when it’s least expected.

LOOK DOWN

January 1, 2012
ld

a poem

For Singular Consideration

January 1, 2012
appliestooranges

A conversation with Maureen Thorson, Open Letters’ new poetry editor, founder of NaPoWriMo, and publisher of Big Game Books

“The Desire for Motion”: Tagore’s Three Voices

January 1, 2012
tagoreb

Prince of the Bengali renaissance, internationally feted poet, composer, painter, educator — why don’t we know Rabindranath Tagore today? And will a new book open our eyes?

The Work

December 1, 2011
shipyard

A poem by Jack Hanson

Oz Discovered without Ns or Ls

November 1, 2011
YEL

a poem

The Restful “I”: Rumi, Psychology, and the Discovery of Love

November 1, 2011
penguinrumi

The 12th-century Sufi poet Rumi is said to have re-created himself as an avatar of love. Chase Nordengren explores the stations on the life cycle that lead to such a radical rebirth.

Disembodied Embodiment

October 1, 2011
oliver

The late Akilah Oliver’s poetry uses language to escape the trap of consciousness–verse “as rapture, as rupture” alike

Endearment

October 1, 2011
lookeast

a poem

Rime Redux

October 1, 2011
marinerwhale

A new graphic novel reworks Coleridge’s classic confrontation between man and nature for our times, taking us on a grand tour of environmental degradation.

“Signs of the Real”

October 1, 2011
GinaMyers

Between the abstract and the solid, between Michigan and New York City, in and out of love, Gina Myers brings betweeness to the fore in her first collection of poems

: cleave :

September 1, 2011
androtwins

a poem

Changeable Camelion

September 1, 2011
Painting Poet John Donne

Courtier and cleric, adventurer and ascetic, man of faith and man of the world — John Donne was many things in his life, and a sprawling new Companion does its best to assess them all.

from: Environment Canada.

August 1, 2011
Hopi-Dancer-428×600

A poem.

All the Questions

August 1, 2011
clbecker

In her new collection of poems, Claire Becker probes the matter between what we intuit and what we learn, between what we choose and how we change.

WHEN IN JAMAICA

July 1, 2011
images

A poem by Andrea Henchey

The Zither and the Worm

June 1, 2011
newimpressionsofafrica

French trailblazer Raymond Roussel created teeming and fertile worlds from a secret process of wordplay. Two of his most spectacular works are coming back into print after a long, undeserved absence.

The Summery Night Before the Frost

June 1, 2011
georgedillon

Best known today as the muse and lover of Edna St. Vincent Millay, George Dillon was a formidable poet and personality in his own right, and one well worth rereading.

What’s the Big Idea?

June 1, 2011
hindenburgexplodesoverlakehurst

FSG gave fifty poets almost no time at all to write a nation-and-epoch-spanning poem based on ancient Japanese techniques. What could possibly go wrong? Or, more interestingly, what went right?

when there is more than one there is language

June 1, 2011
featureimage

we travel too quickly through these houses and hours

we travel thickly like rich black beetles tottering on the edges of tables

Primal Mysteries

June 1, 2011
swithering

In his latest collection, The Wrecking Light, Robin Robertson blends the voices of generations of Scottish/Celtic bards and balladeers into his own unique style of poetry.

Book Review: As We Are Sung

May 1, 2011
mengert

There is nothing conventional about Christina Mengert’s new book of poetry, nor can it be read the same way twice.

fork

May 1, 2011
istockphoto_5880533-antique-lemon-fork

defense /
an ecstasy /
recovered from a body

Taxonomy and Grace

April 1, 2011
nep

Have bickering bloggers and academic jargon so infected the poetry world that readers can no longer read a poem, or speak of one, as what it is?

from “8 Equations”

April 1, 2011
Pi

Pi Burned Alphabetics
Atomic Snowstorms in Left Handed Corners of the Mind
Circumference of Infinity & Where it Has Gotten Us

Elemental Edge

April 1, 2011
Adamantine

Shin Yu Pai engages with history, tradition, and the world around her in her new collection of poems.

The Sad Flaneuse

March 1, 2011
rachelwetzsteon

The slim body of work of the late New York poet Rachel Wetzsteon skips the faux-Horatian filigree in favor of an unsentimental depiction of modern life and contradictory emotion. And yet, her poems are both outspoken and intimate, and Manhattan is her Rome. Horace might have been flattered after all.

Back Home

March 1, 2011
Back Home

Our tragic feelings seemed opposed to reason:
the boy was taken by arthritic hands that said,
“This is me; but these will be your hands someday–”

About Poems

February 1, 2011
basement

“The family got the majority of their ideas about families from black and white films. They tried to replicate every important detail exactly”

Sequins are not stars

January 1, 2011
Robert_Wilson_Shufeldt_07

Kept between us, I enter my name /
into the raffle /
for a new one and a car to drive it around in.

What is he doing?

January 1, 2011
images-2

“A Glyn Maxwell poem encourages us towards an emotion or a point of view not by stating it, often not even by showing it, but by bringing us in stages to cooperate in doing the work of recreating it.”

Edwin S. Porter’s Execution of Czolgosz (1901)

December 1, 2010
czolgosz

prussian blue, grog-blossom /
brown, but the prison matron’s white /
picture-hat withered /
the angels to specular. Even now /

Three Fables

November 1, 2010
foxgrp1blog

Feral cats caught in traps, blood on canvas, mice in laundry baskets, passerines, tail feathers, sky without color.

from Party in My Body

October 1, 2010
bird-tattoo

“Why does the age demand nothing? Am I transcendent or drunk?” :: An excerpt from the Rose Metal Press Field Guide to the Prose Poem

Wonders of the Field

October 1, 2010
G

A conversation with the editors of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to the Prose Poem

EVEN AS WE SPEAK

September 1, 2010
letter

THERE IS A BEGINNING TO ALL THIS. AN OCCASION. SCOTTISH BAGPIPES ARE ITS EQUIVALENT, BUT IT BEAMS DOWN IN SPECKLED LIGHTS. SPOKEN LIGHTS.

Beyond the Pillars of Hercules

September 1, 2010
800px-Feuerbach_symposium

In addition to their gods and goddesses, the ancient Greeks worshiped youth and athletic prowess, and their foremost bard was Pindar.

Songs for an Invisible Nation

September 1, 2010
Espada photo_Sandy Taylor Tribute

Rapt in discussion and a bowl of spicy noodles with poet Martín Espada

Green : first fitt

August 1, 2010
Gold Axe for Green

The entire first fitt from Adam Golaski’s groundbreaking new translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Axes Piling Up

August 1, 2010
ax

Open Letters talks with Adam Golaski about the earlier translations of Sir Gawain, the original MS, and his own “Green”

Gourmand

August 1, 2010
StephenSturgeonAuthorPhoto4

I tasted each inch of the earth.
I did not like it but I did it.
There were extravagant flavors,
Gobi, Horse Track, Lava Field, London . . .

A Cloud of Voices

July 1, 2010
In Concord with Sophia 2010

A conversation and twenty cigarettes with émigré poet and Fulcrum editor Katia Kapovich

I Am Asking You To Look At Me, Touch Me, Talk To Me

July 1, 2010
landing_strip_2

There are options regarding /
the ice. We can lick it or cross it. Further information /
when you want it. Information always blinking. /
A chime that rang.

Lost, Well-Lost

June 1, 2010
burroughs

In his study of the poetry and life of dissolute writer Alexander Trocchi, our intrepid corespondent follows him into the dark corners he described, and consorts with smoky ghosts.

Like Some Chalice of Old Time

June 1, 2010
thomaswyattholbein

From Wyatt to Wordsworth to Bishop (and not forgetting that Shakespeare fellow), that waltz of verse, the sonnet, has survived and thrived. A new collection has some fresh faces.

Out in the Open

June 1, 2010
Johns_Lightbulb_I_1958

The forest in this season is a silent palace of abandoned rooms. /
Only a few, precise sounds: as if someone were lifting twigs with tweezers; /
as if, inside each tree-trunk, a hinge was creaking quietly.

Not Blocking The Exploding

May 1, 2010
Image– Gerhard Richter

…. There’s just this one next thing /
plunked down, weighty & here, after the last //
next thing burned off in mist.

Raymond Burr Is Not in this Movie

April 1, 2010
godzilla 1964

You expected a monster movie, /
the straight line progression of vandalism and death. /
But this plot’s triangular, a love story predicated /
on deceit and betrayal /

Adeste Fideles

April 1, 2010
PD*2334451

Woe to the critic who calls Edith Grossman’s translations “seamless.” In her combative new treatise she argues for a greater recognition of the artistry of translation–but how many liberties can a translator take while staying true to the original?

The Music In Between Words and Werewolves

April 1, 2010
crabwise

Our own Marc Vincenz conducts a gothic conversation with the Canadian poet Jeramy Dodds

Artifice and Discipline

March 1, 2010
Nomina

The personas and poetics of five new books by American women are examined in with an eye toward concealment and of revelation: Matthea Harvey, Katy Lederer, Brenda Shaugnessey, Robyn Schiff, and Karen Volkman.

Café Town

March 1, 2010
FLCA-Georgia-Okeefe-large

… I don’t mind the missing violin; /
I am sweetly imbibing a foreign /
fortitude: nothing terrible /
will happen this hour or the previous… /

In Shafer’s Shadow

March 1, 2010
Shafer2

“My ideal poem would be able to be interpreted as both funny and sad and whatever else….” Shafer trailed off. “I think that’s a fairly accurate description of my work, and probably of myself too.”

His Homelands

March 1, 2010
Ugo_Foscolo

He was a soldier, a lover, an exile, and a wanderer – he was Ugo Foscolo,and thanks to a new translation, readers will learn he was one thing more: a powerful poet.

Everywhere There’s Georgia

February 1, 2010
petals of zero

“opium” Georgias, “hotwired” Georgias, and “mercury” Georgias, are cataloged and blasted in Andrew Zawacki’s new collection Petals of Zero / Petals of One. But who or what or where is Georgia’s eponym?

On the Fifth of November

February 1, 2010
john-milton

“Whoever devotes himself to decency and to virtue /
he beguiles with deceptions, corrupting their temptingly innocent hearts….”

David R. Slavitt on Young John Milton

February 1, 2010
slavitt

Long before he wrote some of the most powerful poems in English, John Milton, as a brainy teenager, wrote verse in Latin. Celebrated translator David Slavitt tells us a little about them.

Real Fake Flowers

February 1, 2010
ddddd

Karl Parker’s moves are more than merely clever: I-less one minute, present & friendly the next, he darts behind masks and speaks IN BOLD, as our contributing editor discovers in her review.

Solitude (I)

January 1, 2010
tomas

a poem by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robin Robertson

A Celtic Mage’s Muses

January 1, 2010
RRobertson

Marc Vincenz interviews Forward Prize-winning poet and translator Robin Robertson, whose newest collection, The Wrecking Light, will be published this year

Blast and Scatteration

January 1, 2010
Blast and Scatteration

John Madera reviews Michael Leong’s e.s.p. and recounts the scramble of names, idioms, puns, and wild associations he finds in the poems

Second Glance: “Today belongs to few and tomorrow to no one”

January 1, 2010
Napalm

As Ingrid Norton reports, the eerie and heartbroken poems of W.S. Merwin’s The Lice continue to resonate thirty years on: whispering, creeping, shaking.

Bluets

December 26, 2009
bluets-image

Bluets
Maggie Nelson
Wave Books, 2009
Maggie Nelson’s Bluets starts with its worst sentence: “Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color.” I am suspicious of this sentence; I find …

Guillotined

December 1, 2009
WomenGuillotined

A poem by Kristen Marie Kostick

The Better Part of Me

December 1, 2009
ovid1

When he was banished for life from Rome, Ovid was trying to alter his artistic forms with his Metamorphoses. Trace the transformations in Steve Donoghue’s final “Year with the Romans”

A Wanderer’s Tale

December 1, 2009
shannon

George Shannon, Jr. found himself lost from the Lewis & Clark expedition not once but twice; Campbell McGrath locates the wanderer in Shannon; Ryan Davidson reviews the poem.

Allen Ginsberg

November 26, 2009
allen-lg

The Poetry and Life
of Allen Ginsberg:
a narrative poem
by Edward Sanders
Overlook, 2000, 2009
Ed Sanders was a follower of Allen Ginsberg, and later a close friend, and he’s in a nice position to sketch what amounts to …

Mandarin Duck avec Sartre

November 1, 2009
Water-the-Moon

Exile, displacement, and polyglot discovery fill the verses of Fiona Sze-Lorrain; Edward McFadden journeys through Water the Moon.

Horace in the Afternoon

November 1, 2009
penguinodes

He was everybody’s friend, and his poetry breathes with life even today. He was Horace, and “A Year with the Romans” makes his acquaintance.

Surely I’m Convinced

November 1, 2009
Snowy Owl

a poem by John Williams

Survey Says!

October 1, 2009
survey-says-cover

Survey Says!
Nathan Austin
Black Maze Books, 2009
Survey Says is a short book of white margins and large type, considering solely of answers provided on The Family Feud (in 2005 and 2008):
I soak my dishes. Bambi. Hamburger. …

The Grace of Seduction

October 1, 2009
RecognizingPersius

Steve Donoghue’s “A Year with the Romans” continues with a look at the obscure Roman poet Persius – and the great new book about him.

2007

October 1, 2009
colin on the tracks

You knew you were dead in my dream. You said drive me. The doctor. I’m so late. I said no there’s no more doctor you know that. I hugged …

Not Just Contemplating a Rock

October 1, 2009
Sentinel

A native of Iowa, A. F. Moritz has just won Canada’s highest poetry prize. Marc Vincenz sits down with him in Iceland to talk about metaphor, identity, and location.

Tricky Shticks

September 1, 2009
dick-of-the-dead

Nixon, Bushes, and the War on Terror have been surprisingly good for poetry. Maureen Thorson releases her findings on National Anthem and Dick of the Dead.

Stem and Root

September 1, 2009
scape

From the forbidding North to the torrid South, the poetry debuts of Joshua Harmon and Farrah Field explore the geography of words. John Cotter gives centrality to locality.

from LA LA LA

September 1, 2009
2004_0411NYCmarchapril0012

from LA LA LA, a poem by Sampson Starkweather

The Cast Iron of the Years

July 1, 2009
tzara

An excerpt from a poem by Tristan Tzara, translated by Heather Green

Miss Hamilton Disposes

July 1, 2009
Miss Hamilton Disposes

No one had ever written about love – in its infinite and profane variety – the way the Roman poet Catullus did; its explication by a scholarly schoolmistress might seem paradoxical – but Edith Hamilton knew something about love herself.

In Praise of Snobbery

July 1, 2009
carol-ann-duffy

Great Britain has finally made a woman poet laureate—and a lesbian no less. As Bryn Haworth reports, when she’s isn’t writing about the Royals, she’s plenty worthy of the honor. Since writing about the Royals is one of the job’s few requirements, what changes might we expect from the post?

A Fiction

June 1, 2009
A Fiction

“It takes one to know one,” she said,
and I had knowingly taken several of them,
so when it came time to talk to the cops,
I took the initiative to tell them
where to find Franco (God rest …

Ten Questions for Sarah Ruden

May 1, 2009
sarahruden

Sarah Ruden, the latest and greatest translator of Vergil’s Aeneid, offers a funny and fascinating glimpse inside the classicist’s world in this Open Letters interview.

from Moving Day

May 1, 2009
pipe

new poetry from Maureen Thorson

Postal Worker? Poodle?

May 1, 2009
saga_circus

Poet’s poet Lyn Hejinian has turned poet’s novelist in Lola, half of her new collection Saga/Circus. John Cotter circles its sagacity.

Second Glance: ‘Do Not, Future People, Bring Up a Child the Wrong Way’

May 1, 2009
kalevala

The Finnish national epic, the Kalevala, was compiled in the early 19th century from a much older oral tradition—can it possibly have anything to teach the modern reader? Sean Hughes has some surprising answers.

Romanticism

April 26, 2009
romanticism

Romanticism
April Bernard
W.W. Norton, 2009
Most of the poems in this collection, the fourth from April Bernard (whom W.S. Merwin deems “brilliant” on the flap copy, a poet of “power and ambition”) are rather lovely—and at …

Poemland

April 1, 2009
pomeland

Poemland
by Chelsey Minnis
Wave Books, 2008
Chelsey Minnis is something of a poet’s poet, and to certain readers her third book, Poemland, will come off as undisciplined, even ridiculous. But to readers who want to be in …

Liminal

April 1, 2009
Miami Vice

new poetry from Christine Herzer

Guide

April 1, 2009
dido_and_aeneas

Virgil’s Aeneid has been attracting translators for centuries, and Sarah Ruden’s rendering is notable in more ways than one. (She calls him Vergil, for one thing, but that’s just the start.) Steve Donoghue regards her efforts in the latest “A Year with the Romans.”

The Inner Voice

March 1, 2009
innervoice2_0

A poem by Charles Jodoin

The King

February 26, 2009
the-king

The King
Rebecca Wolff
Norton, 2009
Being pregnant, giving birth, and raising a child is both the most mundane of processes and the most miraculous. In the hands of the wrong poet, it is a subject that can …

Excess

February 1, 2009
feast-full

a poem by Paul Violi

The Arrested Artistry of Elinor Wylie

February 1, 2009
wylie1922-carlvanvechtenpapers, yale

Elinor Wylie has not received the respect of posterity that she herself thought she deserved. John G. Rodwan, Jr. explores the reasons for that neglect, and the poetry that survives it.

Satellite Convulsions

January 26, 2009
cover_s_c_poems

Satellite Convulsions
Tin House Books
2008
In Satellite Convulsions: Poems from Tin House, Portland’s Tin House Books has released an enticing anthology of contemporary poetry: It’s got one of those nice paperback covers with page-marking flaps, proclaiming contents …

Jack Spicer on Mars

January 1, 2009
spicer

When Jack Spicer was alive, his books could only be had in small editions, in and around the Bay area. Thanks to a new collection, My Vocabulary Did This to Me, that work has finally arrived. Jared White takes us deep into Spicer’s magical, reckless world.

3 poems by Max Jacob

January 1, 2009
max

translations by Elisa Gabbert and Kathleen Rooney

Finely Woven Webs

January 1, 2009
cr_donne_portrait_young

Poetry meets anatomy when Lianne Habinek reads Donne, who, in “The Flea” and other poems, aimed to discover the seat of the soul

And a Tree

January 1, 2009
taggart_there

John Taggart’s most recent book, There Are Birds, might net him a wider audience, thanks to a personal touch in those trademark cadences. Adam Golaski guides us into Taggart’s songlike sonorities.

The Damage Collector

January 1, 2009
flying-backwards_

C.D. Wright collects her poems from scraps of overheard conversation, wandering memories, newspaper headlines. In his review of Rising, Falling, Hovering, John Cotter surveys the damage suspended in that scaffolding.

2 poems by Gaius Valerius Catullus

January 1, 2009
Herculaneum_Fresco_001

I need, my sweet girl Ipsithilla,
your pleasures passing through my hands,
like honey dripping from the sun,
so call me to you for the long afternoon.

On Finding a Copy of Ovid’s Fasti at the Local Goodwill

January 1, 2009
basket-boy

Among the Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb, Steve Donoghue unearths a rare secondhand treasure in Ovid’s difficult, underrated Fasti. And he celebrates.

Like Life

January 1, 2009
picturepalace

The lyric I and the lyric eye are in play and in question in Stephanie Young’s second book, Picture Palace. Elisa Gabbert illuminates its pitfalls and its charms.

Foutez-moi le paix!

January 1, 2009
edmund-white

It may be debatable whether the most maudit of all the poètes deserves the tribute, but Gaston Frontenac finds the nasty, beautiful Rimbaud well served by Edmund White’s new Rimbaud: The Double Life of a Rebel

2 poems by Peretz Markish

January 1, 2009
krichevsky_peretz_markish

2 poems by Peretz Markish
translated by Amelia Glaser

— — —

Hey, what do you deal in – sorrow?
What are you selling there – despair?
I’m a buyer and a dealer,
and I’m dealing and I’m wheeling
days and nights, …

Water Lily Mud

January 1, 2009
niebecker-small

Lorine Niedecker knew the literary life in New York, fell for Louis Zukofsky, published in Objectivist magazines, then returned to Wisconsin, where her poems continued growing spare, surreal, and deep. Heather Green reviews what the new collection Radical Varnacular adds to our understanding of her world.

Katrina Cries

January 1, 2009
blood

Sharon Fulton reviews Patricia Smith’s Blood Dazzler, a “resonant and devastating” examination of the Katrina disaster and the Bush administration’s failure to contain its fallout.

Determinism

December 1, 2008
Simon and Anh, 2003 eric fischl

new poetry from Michael Trocchia

The two airheads you meet in heaven

November 1, 2008
lotus-tattoo-l

a poem by Kate Schapira

Epilogue, Notes for an Eclogue

October 1, 2008
andrea_zanzotto

A poem by Andrea Zanzotto, translated by Wayne Chambliss

Surgeries

September 1, 2008
Candy Darling in her Hospital Bed-1974_peter-hujar

Will you switch coronaries with me?

Green 1.5

September 1, 2008
lights 1

Contributing Editor Adam Golaski gives us his most recent installment of his gorgeous and heart-racing translation of one of English’s oldest poems Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

State of the Union

August 8, 2008
wave-large

State of the Union
Eds. Joshua Beckman and Matthew Zapruder
Wave Books, 2008
There are many things I like about the new political anthology from Wave Books, State of the Union. I like its size–very manageable at just …

Being Che

August 1, 2008
cheguevara

A poem by Matthew Klane

The Goldfish Variations

July 1, 2008
fish

a poem by Peter Jay Shippy

East Riding

June 1, 2008
forestcanopy

A poem by Jesse Ball

The Reappearance of All Things

June 1, 2008
wright2

In the second of two essays, Chad Reynolds adjudges that in The Presentable Art of Reading Absence Wright himself could have stood to evanesce a smidge of his own ego in the course of his “users guide to evanescence”

The Songs of Sing

June 1, 2008
economycover

What defines an anthology? What are the limits of verse? Derek Henderson definitively answers these and thousands of other questions in his detailed and celebratory review of A Sing Economy.

Zoom

June 1, 2008
Zoom

There can be no more obvious target in the literary landscape than a popularly selling book-length poem. With Sharp Teeth, Toby Barlow has dared to write such a thing, and John Cotter has responded accordingly.

Quaker Guns

May 8, 2008
Knox-205×300

Quaker Guns
Caroline Knox
Wave Books, 2008
Caroline Knox is a serious goofball. In Quaker Guns, her sixth and latest book of poetry, her over-the-top whimsy pays off more often than not, sometimes with big dividends.
Though Knox’s poems …

Analfabeto / An Alphabet

May 5, 2008
baxt300

Analfabeto / An Alphabet
Ellen Baxt
Shearsman, 2007
Dictionary lists intersperse the fragmentary text of Analfabeto / An Alphabet, but they are always incomplete. We have the English, but we don’t have all the Portuguese. So, for the …

Human Resources

May 4, 2008
zolf-resources

Human Resources
Rachel Zolf
Coach House Books, 2007
Having read a little about Human Resources, I suspected I might “get” the project pretty quickly and not need or want to finish the whole thing. It combines corporate language …

The Beauty of Failure

May 1, 2008
Wright

In the first of two essays on Jay Wright’s new Dalkey Archive books, Chad Reynolds describes the work of an old poet not half ready to go under the earth and still coming to terms with what it means to live on the surface in Polynomials and Pollen.

Lunch with Herbert

May 1, 2008
delightd

A poem by Clayton Eshleman.

Green

May 1, 2008
northern-lights-above-the-manicouagan-impact-crater-reservoir-in-quebec-center1

Open Letters continues its serialization of Adam Golaski’s innovative translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight with this, the fourth installment.

Kleinzahleresque

May 1, 2008
august

August Kleinzahler is not an old man, yet Sleeping It Off in Rapid City is his fourth Selected Poems. John Cotter explores why you’ll need the old ones too and why you may find yourself with a use for the word “Kleinzahleresque.”

Absent Friends: Gentle Poet

May 1, 2008
Tibullus

At a poetry reading on the Palatine 2,000 years ago, you’d have spent a week’s pay to hear him read. Today he’s unknown, except to our Steve Donoghue (and a few of our readers, no doubt). Here, after a long time gone, is the Roman poet Tibullus.

Parable

April 1, 2008
flounder

A poem by Kaethe Schwehn

Green

March 1, 2008
green

Open Letters continues its serialization of Adam Golaski’s innovative translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight with this, the third installment.

where sky meets earth

March 1, 2008
baptista

A poem by Josely Vianna Baptista, translated by Chris Daniels, and featuring a drawing by Francisco Faria

Flat________

February 1, 2008
Vertflatline-main_Full

A poem by Chad Reynolds

Green

January 1, 2008
Nordlys over gårdsbruk Evenes Kommune

Open Letters continues its serialization of Adam Golaski’s innovative translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight with this, the second installment.

I Hope This Hasn’t Hurt You

January 1, 2008
Frank-Sveid’s-designs–Most-Expensive–Corkscrew-712508

A poem by Samuel Wharton

Green

December 1, 2007
norther

Open Letters presents the first of many installments of Adam Golaski’s innovative new translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a serialization.

Descent

December 1, 2007
lascauxbulls

A poem by Clayton Eshleman

Two From No Tell Books

December 1, 2007
potvin

Jeffrey Eaton absorbs himself in the weirdly familiar and the familiarly weird worlds of Shafer Hall’s Never Cry Woof and PF Potvin’s The Attention Lesson.

Pawtucket

November 1, 2007
McCoy_Stadium_Pan

A poem by Daniel Bouchard

Two From Tupelo Press

November 1, 2007
ocity

Two poets gather up the treasures of the past, one by tossing them in a pile, the other by building a gallery. Chad Reynolds digs into new books by Amy England and Priscilla Sneff.

The ‘ol Battle Ax

October 1, 2007
Battle-axe_blade

A poem by Josh Lefkowitz

Vermont Casting

September 1, 2007
casting

A poem by Ravi Shankar

Two From FSG

August 1, 2007
ooga

John Cotter leads us to the interior of two extremely different books of poetry, Charles Wright’s reflective and naturalist Littlefoot and Frederick Seidel’s garish and weird Ooga-Booga.

Doppelganger

August 1, 2007
nottobereproduced

A poem by Maggie Smith

Heat

July 1, 2007
warhall

A poem by Sommer Browning

Two from Black Ocean Press

July 1, 2007
arrival

Chris Tonelli tackles the wily metaphysics of Zachary Schomburg’s
The Man Suit and Paula Cisewski’s Upon Arrival.

One Man’s César Vallejo

June 1, 2007
vallejo

John Cotter guides us through Clayton Eshleman’s translations of the startling, invigorating poetry of César Vallejo, one of the earliest and most underrepresented of the modernists.

IX from Trilce

June 1, 2007
harry-videodrome-1-300×231

A transcontemporization of César Vallejo by Sampson Starkweather

Three From Coach House Books

June 1, 2007
crystallography

Adam Golaski champions the “difficult read” in his review of the poetry of a. rawlings, Christian Bök, and Nathalie Stephens.

You Eatee?

May 1, 2007
donne

Steve Donoghue reviews John Donne: The Reformed Soul, a new “cuss-and-codpiece” biography by the inconceivably youthful John Stubbs

Cabin

May 1, 2007
dbn2

A poem by Jennifer L. Knox

Either Way, I’m Celebrating

April 1, 2007
donatcounter-259×300

A poem by Sommer Browning

Three From Wave Books

April 1, 2007
sorrytree

Kathy Rooney makes a close study of the cool-quotient of new books of poetry by Eileen Myles, Matthew Rohrer, and Christian Hawkey.

Two from Tarpaulin Sky Press

March 1, 2007
onelove

Elisa Gabbert examines two genre-expanding books of poetry by Jenny Boully and Max Winter.

The Institute of Nautical Archaeology

March 1, 2007
octo_ink

A poem by Shafer Hall