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William Logan

William Logan’s books of poetry include Rift of Light (Penguin, 2017) and Madame X (Penguin, 2012). His numerous books of criticism include Our Savage Art: Poetry and the Civil Tongue (Columbia, 2009). He is a regular critic for the New York Times Book Review and the New Criterion. He is Alumni/ae Professor of English at the University of Florida.

Author

Poetry Poster #8: William Logan

August 17, 2012 | Poetry

William Logan's "A Garret in Paris" appeared in our Summer 2012 issue on Burma. To download a high-resolution PDF of this image, click here. [...]

Elizabeth Bishop Papers, Vassar College Special Collections and Archives Library

Elizabeth Bishop at Summer Camp

Spring 2012 | Essays

“I have never been homesick but just at present I feel awfly campsick,” wrote Elizabeth Bishop, the summer she was fourteen. She had just finished a month at the sailing camp on Cape Cod where she spent her teenage summers, a camp where she fou [...]

Forward into the Past: Reading the New Critics

Spring 2008 | Essays

Criticism never starts over; yet sometimes it suffers a forgetfulness, an ill nature, an ignorance of its soundings. There’s no going back, but there is a going forward that does not fear looking back. The complaint about “theory” is that it treats literature with the dispatch of a meat grinder—if you know the method, long before the poem has been dragged in by the tail you can predict whether the butcher will sell you the sausages of Derrida, or Foucault, or Lacan. It’s disheartening to see a poem raided for evidence of sins long defunct or treated with a forensics kit, as if it were a crime scene.

Dante’s Folly

“Fucking Dante! Goddamn poetry-writing faggot piece of shit!” —Brad Pitt, Seven The atmosphere of Newton’s elaboratory, like a world within a wood. Amid gross weeds, the steamy incense cured the censor tongue blazing out fire scarcely [...]

Apologia pro Vita Sua

Fall 2005 | Poetry

i. In the iced depths of Suffolk’s one thatched church, the gilt saints swaggered off to jury duty— they’d packed the stable loft, the beetled woodpile, masked like raccoons in paint. Only the stare of crucifixion saved them from the pyre. Da [...]

The Most Contemptible Moth: Lowell in Letters

Fall 2005 | Criticism

A man’s letters have a different claim on privacy than his poems and therefore a different claim on truth. Letters lie in the uneasy realm between writing published (the words, if not anonymous, a writer must stand by) and writing meant for no one else’s eye (the best diaries are often those published from the grave). Letters are usually directed to one person alone, like a whisper, though in some centuries they have been passed around like dime novels (when Nelson captured letters in which Napoleon grumbled over Josephine’s infidelities, he published them). The inky page, the homely sheet of paper itself, becomes the property of the receiver (in this way letters follow a peculiar byway of property law, but the words remain the writer’s, not to be published except where leave is given).

Prisoner, Fancy-Man, Rowdy, Lawyer, Physician, Priest: Whitman’s Brags

Spring 2005 | Essays

Whitman was the first American poet who ought to have been incomprehensible anywhere else, yet he had many English admirers. They bought his books direct from America, a tedious and expensive business (customs duties were crippling); they wrote him letters by the dozen (one woman, a Mrs. Gilchrist, fell madly in love with him and offered to bear his children); they came to visit; but they really endeared themselves by sending him money.