Skip to main content

American poetry

Directive

Back out of all this now too much for us,
Back in a time made simple by the loss
Of detail, burned, dissolved, and broken off

The Medical Venus

In the patient, quiet museum, she is exhibited
closed, indehiscent inside a glass casket,

reclining on her back, on hair long as her spine.

Dead on a Side Track: On Frost’s “War Thoughts at Home”

Abandon hope of sober analysis here: a new Frost poem has surfaced. There is something new in the old voice, another song in a stanza-form packed with salt and built to last, another note struck upon war broken out far away and near while another war breaks out far away and near: it’s a giddying moment for one who reached a point of such identification with that voice that he could no longer write in anything but, and trod the lanes of Amherst helplessly trying to compose in it, who did his own impressions of it at his own open mike in the woods, who wrote one last witless parody of it as some kind of shot at good riddance.

 

Our Edgar

Edgar Allan Poe, that strange genius of a hack writer, lived in such a narcissistic cocoon of torment as to be all but blind to the booming American nation around him, and so, perversely, became a mythic presence in the American literary consciousness.

 

I Am Not What I Am: The Poetry of Mark Strand

As his reputation has grown, however, into that oxymoronic epithet “famous poet,” Strand has engaged that self, satirized it, and refashioned it as a subject for his poems. If Richard Howard is right when he says that “the poems . . . narrate the moment when Strand makes Rimbaud’s discovery, that je est un autre, that the self is someone else, even something else”—then in the early poems the Strand persona rejects itself.

And in the later poems the Strand persona mocks the persona of Mark Strand.

Pages