Mark Ford’s fourth collection of poetry, Enter, Fleeing, was published earlier this year.
 (November 2018)

IN THE REVIEW

‘Inventing New Ways to Be’

Adrienne Rich, New York City, 1973

Selected Poems, 1950–2012

by Adrienne Rich, edited by Albert Gelpi, Barbara Charlesworth Gelpi, and Brett C. Millier

Essential Essays: Culture, Politics, and the Art of Poetry

by Adrienne Rich, edited by Sandra M. Gilbert
Although Adrienne Rich never considered herself an epic poet, it’s hard to think of a more apposite definition of her vast and varied oeuvre than the phrase with which Ezra Pound summed up his concept of the modernist epic: “a poem containing history.” Scholars looking to chart the development of America in the six decades spanned by Rich’s career will discover in her work an intermeshing of poetry and history more extensive and searching than that to be found in any of her contemporaries.

Poems That Breathe

Joan Murray, late 1930s–early 1940s

Drafts, Fragments, and Poems: The Complete Poetry

by Joan Murray, edited by Farnoosh Fathi, with a preface by John Ashbery
The only poem by Joan Murray (1917–1942) published during her short life appeared in the April 1941 issue of Decision: A Review of Free Culture, an impressive monthly periodical founded that year by Klaus Mann, son of Thomas Mann. Contributors to Decision, which folded after only twelve issues, included Jean …

She Shampooed & Renewed Us

Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen at the Newport Folk Festival, July 1967

Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell

by David Yaffe
In an interview with Gene Shay for the “Folklore Program” broadcast on March 12, 1967, Joni Mitchell revealed the improbable origins of one of her best-known and most frequently covered songs: I was reading a book, and I haven’t finished it yet, called Henderson the Rain King. And there’s a …

On the Trail of ‘A Shropshire Lad’

A.E. Housman, circa 1900

Housman Country: Into the Heart of England

by Peter Parker
In the summer of 1902 the American novelist Willa Cather set off from Pittsburgh for Europe with her friend Isabelle McClung. Soon after docking at Liverpool they excitedly embarked on a literary pilgrimage to an English county that had hitherto rarely featured in Americans’ European itineraries. “When we got into …

Why Dylan Deserves It

Patti Smith and Bob Dylan at the Bitter End on the night they first met, New York City, June 1975
In her interview for No Direction Home (2005), Martin Scorsese’s brilliant three- and-a-half-hour documentary about Bob Dylan, Joan Baez suggested there is something in Dylan’s music that goes “to the core of people”; there are those, she acknowledges, who are simply “not interested—but if you’re interested, he goes way, way …

Derek Walcott: ‘What the Twilight Says’

Derek Walcott, St. Lucia, 1994; photograph by Inge Morath

The Poetry of Derek Walcott, 1948–2013

selected by Glyn Maxwell
The first poem in this substantial selection of the work of the St. Lucia–born poet Derek Walcott was written when he was only eighteen. It initially appeared in a privately printed volume entitled 25 Poems (1949), a self-publishing venture subsidized by Walcott’s widowed mother (who worked as a seamstress and …

Pound: Genius, Confucian, Fascist & Crazy

Ezra Pound, Vienna, 1928; photograph by Bill Brandt

Ezra Pound: Poet: A Portrait of the Man and His Work, Volume II: The Epic Years, 1921–1939

by A. David Moody
Ezra Pound’s only meeting with his great hero Benito Mussolini took place at 5:30 on the evening of Monday, January 30, 1933. Mussolini’s imposing “office” was the vast Sala del Mappamondo (sixty feet long, forty feet wide, forty feet high) on the first floor of the Palazzo di Venezia in …

NYR DAILY

Ted Hughes’s ‘Last Letter’

Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath on their honeymoon, Paris, 1956

“What happened that night?
    Your final night.”
So begins “Last Letter,” a poem, or rather draft of a poem, by Ted Hughes published in the October 11 issue of the British magazine the New Statesman. “Last Letter” was clearly intended to take its place in Hughes’s 1998 collection of poems to Plath, Birthday Letters, but it’s also clear that he never managed to finish it before he died on October 28, 1998. I suppose anything a poet as famous as Hughes didn’t get around to destroying before he died is likely to end up in the public domain eventually, and certainly a poem that at last sets out what he was up to on that fatal, freezing weekend of February 9 and 10 of 1963 was not going to languish in the British Library’s archive forever.

NYR CALENDAR