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Issue Categories Archives: Poetry

The Mind of the Millennial (Poet)

  Burn Book by Felix Bernstein Nightboat Books. 117 pages, $16.95   WHAT PUSHES a poet forward? What energizes her words? Felix Bernstein has brilliantly summed up his impetus. “I want the fear of people opening the book to some random page and thinking that perhaps I don’t have my act together and that I’m […]

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Life and Times with Poet Donald Britton

  IN THE EARLY 1980s, I was diving into bed with young New York poets, one after another. For me, an émigré from a wide place in the road in north Louisiana, the idea of a handsome writer in the sack made for a highly arousing destination, calling to mind George Peppard’s Paul Varjak in […]

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In Search of the Spirit of Mu Xin

In the spring of last year, the Asia Society in New York hosted the premiere of a film about Mu Xin’s life, made by documentary filmmakers Francisco Bello and Tim Sternberg and titled Dreaming Against the World. Joanne Wang was associate producer for the film, and at her invitation I attended the New York premiere. […]

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Finding Love in Old Persia

  A Poet of the Invisible World by Michael Golding Picador. 323 pages, $16.   THIS INVENTIVE, thoughtful novel tells the story of one man’s spiritual journey, with a mixture of travel, romance, action, and literature. Beginning in Persia, a boy named Nouri is born with four ears, a fact that his mother takes great […]

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Emily Dickinson’s Smoking Poems

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If the World Were Walt’s

In Walt We Trust: How a Queer Socialist Poet Can Save America From Itself by John Marsh Monthly Review Press. 248 pages, $25.   JOHN MARSH proposes something here that may cause many readers to shake a skeptical head, but hear him out. In Walt We Trust addresses our generally fixed beliefs about death, money, sex, […]

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The Poetry of Connection

  Unions by Alfred Corn Barrow Street Press 82 pages, $16.95   UNIONS is Alfred Corn’s eleventh book of poetry, and it shows him as one of America’s most prolific and skillful poets. An urbane wit plays in virtually every line; a keen eye sizes up detail. Corn has a wonderful sense of history, of […]

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Song of a Social Butterfly

Rebel Souls: Walt Whitman and America’s First Bohemiansby Justin MartinDa Capo Press. 339 pages, $27.99   Justin Martin, the author of Rebel Souls: Walt Whitman and America’s First Bohemians, is clearly a man of eclectic interests, having previously written biographies of Frederick Law Olmsted, Ralph Nader, and Alan Greenspan. He has now turned his attention […]

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On the Poetry of Unrequited Love

  WHEN I WAS in the grip of despair about a situation of unrequited love, I decided to make a list of the benefits of that state. Alas, I cannot find that list, and I don’t remember a single thing I wrote in an effort to assuage my pain. What I do remember, though, are […]

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The Vulnerability of a Poet

  Wilfred Owen by Guy Cuthbertson Yale.  352 pages, $40.   WHEN CAVAFY wrote poems about his encounters with lads in Alexandria brothels and pickups in the mazes of bazaars, no critic or biographer questioned his homosexuality. In a new biography of the World War I poet Wilfred Owen (1893–1918), we read his poems about […]

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