Jonathan Galassi’s most recent books are Muse, a novel, and Left-Handed, a volume of poems. (May 2017)


The Illusion of Utter Transparency

Elizabeth Bishop in Key West, Florida; undated photograph by Lloyd Frankenberg from Elizabeth Bishop: Objects and Apparitions, the catalog of an exhibition celebrating Bishop’s centenary, published by the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in 2011

Elizabeth Bishop at Work

by Eleanor Cook

Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast

by Megan Marshall
In the hands of great poets words do things they don’t for the rest of us. They “reek” “of meaning,” as Elizabeth Bishop wrote about other symbols. Bishop’s greatness is nearly universally agreed on, but her words eschew specialness, increasingly so as her work develops, always in the direction of …

The Troubling Genius of Delmore

Delmore Schwartz, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1940s

Once and for All: The Best of Delmore Schwartz

edited by Craig Morgan Teicher and with an introduction by John Ashbery
The myth of Delmore Schwartz is a variant on the myth of the visionary modern poet, at once preternaturally gifted yet unable to live in the world. This Romantic image starts, perhaps, with Thomas Chatterton, the eighteenth-century prodigy from Bristol who wrote counterfeit medieval texts and committed suicide at seventeen.

Updike’s Violin

John Updike, Beverly Farms, Massachusetts, 1985

Selected Poems

by John Updike, edited by Christopher Carduff, with an introduction by Brad Leithauser
John Updike’s first published book was a collection of poems. The Carpentered Hen and Other Tame Creatures, primarily a collection of light verse, was published by Cass Canfield at Harper and Brothers in 1958, when the author was twenty-six. (Harper rejected a novel manuscript, Home, at more or less the …

Greetings, Friends!

The tree is down, the star is stored, the groaning at the groaning board is over: no more rancid nog or smoky, still-green Yule log. Out, false cheer and de trop expense! It’s time we showed some New Year’s sense. Last year’s booty’s shook …

Speed in Life and Death

Umberto Boccioni: Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, 1913 (cast 1949)

Italian Futurism, 1909–1944: Reconstructing the Universe

an exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, February 21–September 1, 2014
The Italian Futurists were dedicated to motion—but not the meditative pace that Lloyd Wright’s ramp imposes on visitors to the Guggenheim’s exhibition this summer; more the revving of a Lamborghini, or better yet a Ducati motorcycle, relentlessly powering up, up, up and away, its engine knocking, spewing exhaust, mowing down everything in its path.

The Dreams of Italo Calvino

Italo Calvino, New York City, 1983

Letters, 1941–1985

by Italo Calvino, selected and with an introduction by Michael Wood and translated from the Italian by Martin McLaughlin
Calvino complained to a friend in 1970 about “working in fits and starts, fragmentarily” while dreaming “of composing encyclopaedic works, universal histories, theogonies, maps of the terraqueous globe and of the firmament, utopias…”—the very beguiling confections, half potted science or philosophy and half fantasy, that are the glories of Cosmicomics and Invisible Cities. These fictions are examples of what for Calvino became “the only kind of literature that is possible today: a literature that is both critical and creative.”

The Great Montale in English

Eugenio Montale, 1970

The Collected Poems of Eugenio Montale, 1925–1977

translated from the Italian by William Arrowsmith, and edited by Rosanna Warren
Eugenio Montale—born in Genoa in 1896, died in Milan, 1981—is one of the twentieth-century Europeans who has spoken most meaningfully to American and British poets. His first published poem, written when he was twenty, already exhibits distinctive characteristics of his work: strict rhythm, dissonant music, richness of allusion, and focused, …