Reviews

Recent racial violence in the United States and abroad makes poetry books that take up social justice ever more urgent. Books with explicit political content often eschew the lyrical in favor of “documentary” materials, while others manage to twine them. In seeking ways to incorporate complex cultural/social information, some poets have developed hybrid forms, and […]

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From the Winter 2016 Issue

In Lighting the Shadow, Rachel Eliza Griffiths’ third collection, the poet sings a song of nonself. Varied sources—from news, visual art, poetry, and family—generate the current along which moves the speaker’s polymorphous permeable body electric, enacting her intention to “turn to every shadow I’ve ever been, stare at them until they form another / woman […]

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From the Fall 2016 Issue

We are enamored with the new. We exalt the original, the innovative, the experimental. See the proliferation of lists declaring the literary world’s next protégés: Muzzle Magazine’s “30 under 30”; Buzzfeed’s “20 under 40 Debut Writers You Need to Be Reading”; the New Yorker’s “20 under 40.” There is an ethic of disposability built into […]

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From the Fall 2016 Issue

Fashion changes, but style remains. —Chanel   Of course, when we think of fashion we think of style. However, I am not sure, in spite of the recent efforts of museums and a handful of critics, how many of us—no matter how educated, open-minded, or sophisticated we may believe ourselves to be—have fully accepted that […]

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From the Summer 2016 Issue

Ada Limón’s poetry recognizes the ways shifting landscapes throw order into chaos. In Bright Dead Things, her fourth collection, the mutable settings—from New York to Kentucky to California—serve to underscore the speaker’s turbulent feelings of loss. Limón’s speaker ties her self-conception to landscape. She says, “This land and I are rewilding” and “Now, we take […]

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From the Spring 2016 Issue

Susan Howe’s The Quarry includes ten previously uncollected essays, beginning with the most recently written “Vagrancies in the Park,” a gracious tribute to her favorite twentieth-century poet, Wallace Stevens. Covering diverse topics, The Quarry also includes a discussion of Hope Atherton’s captivity narrative and an extended contemplation of iconoclastic filmmaker Chris Marker’s documentaries, with the […]

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From the Spring 2016 Issue

In 1995, thirty-year-old John Keene published his first book, the autobiographical novel Annotations. With its sentence fragments and snaking syntax, the book reads like a bildungsroman carved into pieces. The protagonist, an African American youth growing up in St. Louis during the Seventies and Eighties, is part of a “generation that lacks more than a […]

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From the Winter 2015 Issue

The Ocean, the Bird and the Scholar brings together twenty-seven essays, reviews, and occasional lectures, written over the past twenty years by the renowned poetry scholar Helen Vendler, the best known “close reader” of lyric poetry today. Almost all of the chapters focus on modern and contemporary American, English, and Irish poets—some of the poets […]

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From the Fall 2015 Issue

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