On Verse

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The independent seat: on Judith Barrington’s The Conversation

An “independent seat” is a rarely achieved height of equestrian skill, in which mechanical command and response are transformed into a fluid conversation between the bodies of horse and rider. It is…

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You Run, Darling: Mark Doty’s Deep Lane

Mark Doty is tenacious in his in his examination of life and endlessly fussy about his use of words. He makes sure to convey his meaning, whether in the criticism…

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Family; or, What It Means to Be a Freak

In Tod Browning’s 1932 film, Freaks, Hans, a sideshow dwarf, falls in love with the beautiful trapeze artist Cleopatra, who marries him for his money and plots to poison him…

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Blood on the Jumbotron: Martial’s Arena Poems

Cum traheret Priscus, traheret certamina Verus,    esset et aequalis Mars utriusque diu, missio saepe viris magno clamore petita est;    sed Caesar legi parvit ipsae suae (lex erat ad…

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A Mother’s Jealousy, A Mother’s Love

Laura van Prooyen’s new collection Our House Was on Fire reads like a fairy tale. Like so many fairy tales, the poems relate a difficult mother-daughter relationship, in which the…

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The enduring power of Adrienne Rich

A Note from the Editor: I have been so privileged to have the chance to edit this special issue on Adrienne Rich, in commemoration of the third anniversary of her death. The essays you’ll find…

Adrienne Rich 2001

Adrienne Rich in Chile: an Interview

Adrienne Rich travelled to Santiago, Chile, in March 2001 to attend ChilePoesía’s inaugural gathering of international poets. The weeklong festivities included both large-scale public readings and smaller events in Santiago,…

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Syntax as Power: The Legacy of Adrienne Rich

  The Critical Flame’s invitation to write on Adrienne Rich has pushed me to a long overdue assessment of what her poetry once meant to me and how it stacks…

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Witness: #BlackLivesMatter, Claudia Rankine, and Adrienne Rich

Catch if you can your country’s moment, begin where any calendar’s ripped-off —Adrienne Rich, “An Atlas of the Difficult World” In thinking about how Adrienne Rich speaks to our present struggles…

Best American Poetry, 1996
edited by Adrienne Rich

Best American: Adrienne Rich’s Radical Canonization

When my first undergraduate poetry professor taught “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers” and “Diving into the Wreck” side by side, to demonstrate how Rich’s work was transformed by feminism, I marveled how…

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