On Verse

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The Secret History of our Enemies: Balaban’s Translations of Vietnamese Poetry

Decades ago, when I first read All Quiet on the Western Front, I copied this sentence into my journal: “A word of command has made these silent figures our enemies;…

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Women Writing in 21st Century Brazil: Experimentation and Narratives of Self

There were days when Dita hid all the papers (Ruth Ducaso/Luciany Aparecida).   Brief considerations on writing by contemporary women authors I start this essay with the opening words of…

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The Moscow Calendar’s Going Islamic; or, The Soviet Empire in Brodsky’s Poetry

Hamid Ismailov is an Uzbek writer whose works are banned in Uzbekistan. He has lived in the United Kingdom since 1994. Several of his Russian-language novels have appeared in English…

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Conversations: Rion Amilcar Scott and Bro. Yao

Rion Amilcar Scott I’ve attempted many times to render as fiction my first conversation with Hoke Glover III (or Bro. Yao as many know him). Such a scene has always…

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Harold Bloom on Alvin Feinman’s Self-limiting Transcendence

I first met Alvin Feinman in September 1951, the day before I encountered another remarkable young man who also became a life-long friend, Angus Fletcher. Alvin was twenty-two, a year…

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It Sang Itself Utterly Away: the Presence of the Poet

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with memory. Maybe I shouldn’t say lately, because I’ve always been obsessed with memory—mostly my own memories. One second I am brushing my teeth and the…

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I Had to Cut It Down: An Experiment in Destructive Criticism

There is then creative reading as well as creative writing. —Ralph Waldo Emerson The role of the critic is the topic de jour, in part because of the smart and…

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White Heart-Flame of Polished Silver: Amy Lowell and Mary Meriam

  Amy Lowell was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1874, youngest daughter of the wealthy Boston Lowell family that would later include acclaimed poet Robert Lowell among its members. From…

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These Molten Flowers: on Lola Ridge, radical poet and activist

In a news clip from 1927, Lola Ridge stands alone in the middle of a street as thousands of people demonstrate against the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti. The crowds…

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Sometimes You Need a Record of Your Life: on Lisa Robertson

“I want to be believed. But I also want to write through spaces that are utterly delusional.” —Lisa Robertson I was reading Lisa Robertson’s latest long poem, Cinema of the…

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