Poetry

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Signifying Nothing

Signifying Nothing

IT COMES LATE in the play, this claim that language is too late: “There would have been a time for such a word.” And with that, Macbeth launches into one of the most meaningful speeches about mea...

When the War Is Over

When the War Is Over

When the War Is Over   When the war is over We will be proud of course the air will be Good for breathing at last The waters will have been improved the salmon And the silence of heaven will mi...

Siegfried Sassoon and Palestine

Siegfried Sassoon and Palestine

On the rock-strewn hills I heard The anger of guns that shook Echoes along the glen. In my heart was the song of a bird, And the sorrowless tale of the brook, And scorn for the deeds of men. SIEGFRI...

How Much Does "Does Poetry Matter" Matter?

How Much Does "Does Poetry Matter" Matter?

Image: Man Ray: "Poem, Paris, mai (may)," 1924   THIS WEEKEND, The New York Times went all in for poetry. In addition to six — count ‘em — articles about poetry in the Revi...

The View from His Words

The View from His Words

I MAJOR POETS make themselves, with effort; they are not born. I would argue that many major poets begin minor, though the best of them begin with the promise of becoming major. They begin weird, ou...

The Squid Variations

The Squid Variations

THE AUTHOR of a book-length lyric essay needs a steady hand and a deep reservoir of confidence to make the project coalesce, through digression after digression, into a lively, natural work of art. Bu...

Imperial Mashup: Aimee Suzara’s "Souvenir"

Imperial Mashup: Aimee Suzara’s "Souvenir"

IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT, museum exhibits are but elaborate morgues, displays of postmortem objects meant to hint at their former lives, artifacts but arranged bones meant to perform a story. Photographs...

When First Books Are Not First Books

When First Books Are Not First Books

SOME LITERARY CRITICS assume that first books of poetry will necessarily display a certain level of immaturity, even if revealing quite a bit of promise, or perhaps even prodigy. There is an expectati...

The Trauma of Beauty

The Trauma of Beauty

SOMETIMES what is most surprising arrives at your doorstep quietly, damp from a rainstorm, wrapped in brown string.  The erotic is all about postponement. Mark Strand told me this once. In an interv...