Nick Laird’s fourth collection of poetry, Feel Free, was published in the US in July. (November 2019)


IN THE REVIEW

Positive Capability

Clockwise from top left: Christian Bok, Claudia Rankine, Carolyn Forché, Anne Carson, Cathy Park Hong, and Patricia Lockwood; collage by Joanna Neborsky

The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem: From Baudelaire to Anne Carson

edited and with an introduction by Jeremy Noel-Tod
Like the honest politician or the reality TV star, the prose poem is an oxymoron. Charles Simic, a brilliant practitioner of the form, says that it’s “the result of two contradictory impulses, prose and poetry, and therefore cannot exist, but it does. It is the sole instance we have of squaring the circle.” In a new anthology, Jeremy Noel-Tod pulls together two-hundred-odd of these square circles from a span of nearly two centuries.

The Cold Eye of Marianne Moore

Marianne Moore and her mother, Mary Warner Moore, Brooklyn, 1946; photograph by Cecil Beaton

New Collected Poems

by Marianne Moore, edited by Heather Cass White
Heather Cass White’s New Collected Poems of Marianne Moore is no small event in American poetry: it is the first edition of Moore’s work that actually is what it says it is. Moore expelled poems from her history, and substantially and continually revised many of those she permitted to remain.

‘A New Way of Writing About Race’

Claudia Rankine, New York City, 2014

Citizen: An American Lyric

by Claudia Rankine
Claudia Rankine’s Citizen opens:

When you are alone and too tired even to turn on any of your devices, you let yourself linger in a past stacked among your pillows.
The reader is forewarned: what follows will explore what happens when the “devices” are switched off, not just the smart phone or the iPad, but techniques of evasion and compromise that let the poet exist in the present.

A Lover’s Quarrel with the World

Charlie Smith, Key West, Florida, spring 2010

Jump Soul: New and Selected Poems

by Charlie Smith
Charlie Smith’s Jump Soul comprises excerpts from seven previous volumes ranging from 1987 to 2009 (Red Roads, Indistinguishable from the Darkness, The Palms, Before and After, Heroin and Other Poems, Women of America, Word Comix) and a remarkable new collection, forty-six poems entitled Godzilla Street, his strongest work yet. His …

Defiant, Exhilarating, and Poetic

Glyn Maxwell at the Globe Theatre, London, 2008

On Poetry

by Glyn Maxwell
When poets write prose about their art the result tends to be either a manifesto or ars poetica; a grab bag of lectures, expanded reviews, and commencement addresses; or a manual, a teaching aid. The English poet Glyn Maxwell’s new book On Poetry is a curious alloy of all three, …

The Triumph of the Survivor

Louise Glück, Cambridge, Massachusetts, October 2012

Poems 1962–2012

by Louise Glück
Louise Glück’s poems tend to start up close: there is no scene-setting, no “driving to the interior” (Elizabeth Bishop’s phrase). Instead a voice addresses you from somewhere very nearby. You might find yourself, for example, in the middle of an argument. The tone is detached, frequently angry, sometimes ironic, always …

Hate and Love in London

‘Dante Gabriel Rossetti in his back garden’; engraving by Max Beerbohm, 1904, showing, clockwise from bottom left, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, James McNeill Whistler, Algernon Charles Swinburne, Theodore Watts-Dunton, George Meredith, Ned Jones (holding flower), Williams Morris, Hall Caine, Holly Hunt, John Ruskin, and what Beerbohm annotated as a ‘Stunner,’ likely Rossetti’s wife and model, Elizabeth Siddal

London: A History in Verse

edited by Mark Ford
Most of the world’s population lives in cities, and yet in English poetry the pastoral is still somehow the authentic lyric mode. A cloud or a beach or an apple—rarely an Apple Mac. There are good reasons for this. Being “versed in country things,” as Frost puts it, makes an …