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The line’s for real June 24, 2009: Not infrequently, we get letters or blog-responses to individual poems published in Poetry that cite particular phrases or lines in order to prove somehow that a poem or poet (and, by implication, our taste) is lousy.  It's an invidious tactic, and it occurs to me that one can make any poem in the world look bad by pulling a line or so out of [...] by

I Hate Poetry… Reviews? June 4, 2009: Pictured above: not quite a dead horse, but one that looks a little flogged. Randall Jarrell said: “When we read the criticism of any past age, we see immediately that the main thing wrong with it is an astonishing amount of what Eliot calls ‘fools’ approval’; most of the thousands of poets were bad, most of the thousands of critics [...] by

Standing and waving May 18, 2009: The idea that poets and novelists possess separate and incompatible temperaments, like fortune-tellers and pharmacists, that poets are preoccupied with language (“for the life of the language”) while novelists are engrossed by society (“for the betterment of the world”), is a commonplace—perhaps also a consequence—of the paced [...] by

Craig Arnold May 8, 2009: 5/13: According to the Associated Press, "a team from a Japanese climbing group called Canyons will descend the steep, vegetation-covered slope where Arnold was tracked.... the climbers have committed to search for two days, starting Thursday morning in Japan." Via Find Craig Arnold: Our dear friends and family, Though Craig himself has [...] by

What Do You Know? April 13, 2009: Judith Shklar introduced her book Ordinary Vices by saying, "It is only if we step outside the divinely ruled moral universe that we can really put our minds to the common ills we inflict upon one another each day." I suppose poets these days aren't supposed to put their minds to grand tasks - you know, it's more like write a poem every day [...] by

Happy Birthday!!! March 25, 2009: Some folks didn't care for our recent commemoration of the centennial of Futurism - like we were endorsing it somehow, sheesh! Well, it's time to celebrate yet another birthday. On this date one hundred years ago... T.E. Hulme, F.S. Flint, and Edward Storer met in the Cafe Tour d'Eiffel off Tottenham Court Road in London and started up the [...] by

So Little Depends upon a Little Red Rooster! March 18, 2009: Image courtesy of Muhammad Mahdi Karim, www.micro2macro.net Should poets write poems that describe things (like, say, this silly-looking rooster) ... or not? Poetry contributor Seth Abramson recently remarked on his blog "The Suburban Ecstasies" that Traditional (i.e. fully-determined, fully-resolved, fully-bordered) narratives have [...] by

Translation and its discontents, part quatre February 27, 2009: "When I was reading an anthology of contemporary European poetry, I was struck by how much its poems tended to sound alike: in most cases, I couldn’t really tell what country or language a poetry had come from until I checked." If poetry aspires to the condition of music, then maybe translated poetry aspires to the condition of... world [...] by

I’ve decided to draw poems… February 2, 2009: Jason Guriel recently took a keen-eyed look at the visual poetry we presented in the November 2008 issue of Poetry. One of our readers, Jerry Payne, in Clearwater, Florida, wrote in to say: "Look, let’s call “visual poetry” what it really is—visual art. Some of us are in love with language and the way in which words—just words—can be [...] by

Of poetry and privilege January 23, 2009: Despite its principles, the Republic of Letters, as it actually operates, is a closed world, inaccessible to the underprivileged. OK, I appropriated that wording from Robert Darnton's recent essay, "Google & the Future of Books." There's been some discussion here on Harriet about a-holes on the Internet and in print in which Reb Livingston [...] by