Nick Laird is a poet, novelist, and former litigator who worked on the Bloody Sunday inquiry. He teaches at NYU and is Professor of Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre in Belfast. His fourth collection of poetry, Feel Free, was published in the US in July.
 (January 2020)


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, …

NYR DAILY

Blood and Brexit

Wreckage forming a barricade after a riot, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1981

If I dream, it invariably takes the form of being hunted by men with guns—in a house, in a forest, on a street. Sometimes these dreams end with me being shot, sometimes with me stabbing someone. I only ever stab someone, even though, growing up, we had a gun, illegally, in the house—a double-barreled shotgun that my father kept beneath his bed and that we’d use occasionally for shooting rabbits. In my dreams I never see the face of the man I’m stabbing. I’ve had these dreams all my adult life. Maybe they’re common among people like me, maybe they’re not. By “people like me” I mean people who grew up in Ulster, who from our earliest moments were wary, were used to watching everything for some sign, however small, that things were not quite right.