On Verse

The Poetics of Gender Resistance

The passion for setting people right is in itself an afflictive disease. Distaste which takes no credit to itself is best. These concluding lines from Marianne Moore’s “Snakes, Mongooses, Snake-Charmers,…

Reality, Out of Focus: August Kleinzahler’s The Hotel Oneira

“Our little life / is rounded with a sleep,” Shakespeare writes in The Tempest, and August Kleinzahler’s The Hotel Oneira sketches a similar view of existence. Reality comes in and out…

Preface to Lissa Wolsak

1. It Must Be Abstract Lissa Wolsak is a major American poet, living in Vancouver; Squeezed Light is a comprehensive gathering of her published work, which includes seven poem-sequences, a…

Baroque-Ass Poet: Adam Fitzgerald’s Debut

“The fate of a writer is strange,” writes Borges. “He begins his career by being a baroque writer, pompously baroque, and after many years, he might attain if the stars…

Why We Read: Spells by Annie Finch

Let’s talk about Beck, shall we? The artist’s last record was nothing of the sort. As in, it wasn’t recorded at all. Song Reader was released only as sheet music….

The Storm before the Storm: Jane Miller’s Thunderbird

In her written work as well as her commentary, Jane Miller regards the past as a truth that demands to be told. Her view echoes, in some respects, Faulkner’s famous…

Neo-Confessionalism:
Whose Commodity Am I, Anyway?

“We danced until we became markets.”  —Bhanu Kapil Owning one’s intellectual property, one’s body, and one’s subjectivity may seem like a triumvirate fait accompli for contemporary women writers. Western women in…

Protest, but Not Too Much:
Anne Champion’s Reluctant Mistress

The poems of Anne Champion’s debut collection, Reluctant Mistress, obsessively pick at the physical and emotional aspects of sexual relationships—often unhappily. The title is inspired by Cassandra, the beautiful woman…

Antic Panoply: The New Arcana

In The Art of Recklessness, Dean Young brings New York School surrealism into new relief. He talks of a poetry that contains the kind of stage-spanning acrobatic leaps you might…

Dazzling and Tremendous

“. . .we must understand [madness] not as reason diseased, or as reason lost or alienated, but quite simply as reason dazzled.” —Michel Foucault Insanity and poetry are old kin. The…

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