Author Archive

Poetry of the Silver Screen

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Poetry’s bread and butter is the interior; it goes where movies want to go, but can’t, by the nature of the form. So when a poem wants to respond to a film, how does it make use of this tension, and alchemize it into art?

Speaking Against Silence

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Much like 2018’s pop feminist anthems, the speaker of Louise Glück’s “Mock Orange” makes an analogy between the scent of mock orange flowers and the “false union” of sexual intercourse to suggest that her true sexual experiences reflect objectification and domination rather than genuine pleasure.

The Transformative Magic of Reading Living Writers

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Poetry reading isn’t increasing because people are rediscovering Edna St. Vincent Millay or Robert Hayden, though rediscoveries may be a happy byproduct of readers’ increased exposure to living writers.

The Language of Trauma in Kevin Goodan’s Anaphora

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Kevin Goodan seizes on the persistent remembering that characterizes PTSD in his new book, creating an elegy that develops a kind of poetic logic of the fear system.

The Politics of Weather

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In the wake of the recently released report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which paints a direct picture of how our weather will change in the next few decades, it’s worth taking a moment to look at how poetry has, and is, handling climate change.

The Importance of the Difficult

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What is the role of difficult poetry? What does it do that more accessible poetry cannot do? And might it not have a political import?

Worker by Gary Hawkins, The Boss by Victoria Chang, and the Exploration of Work in Poetry

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If Hawkins’s workers struggle with their materials or the limits of their strength and stamina, Chang reveals a different antagonist through the figure of the boss, firing workers at will and propping up the corporation.

The Risk and Reward of “We” in Poetry

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Poems, Eleanor Wilner has said, are vehicles meant to circumscribe the boundaries of the self, but our individual imaginations are situated within politics and history. Use of the first-person plural, then, can open up the poem’s historical vision.

Two Views of Revision: Elizabeth Bishop and May Swenson

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If Bishop’s "One Art" shows a clear tightening and precision and a shedding of awkwardness into maturity, Swenson’s drafts show us that sometimes an artist simply makes a choice to fit a particular aesthetic preference or vision.

A Valentine to the Best American Poetry 1993

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Before social media helped readers discover poetry, the world seemed smaller. In the early 90s, when I was a preteen starting to figure out that not all great poets were dead, I had little to go on.