“All Genuine Poetry in My View Is Antipoetry.”

Like Tony Hoagland, Charles Simic is no one-trick pony. In addition to his prowess in poetry, he knows his way around an essay, too. Yesterday, reading "Notes on Poetry and Philosophy," I noted much of interest, both from Simic and from the poets and philosophers he quotes. For instance, Wallace Stevens once said that the …

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“The Art of Faith, The Faith of Art”

Voice. It's that magical je ne sais quoi that draws us like magnets. To people, yes. But to writing, too: people heard through the medium of paper and ink. From the earliest pages of Christian Wiman's new book He Held Radical Light, I found myself attracted to the voice. To me, it seemed the voice …

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One Poetry Editor’s Epiphany

Christian Wiman, former editor of Poetry magazine and a poet himself, has been there and back. Not just the highs and lows that come with the life of a poet who gets hosannas one second (via acceptances) and brickbats the next (via rejections), but the more soul-searching variety---the one that comes with cancer, bone marrow …

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A Certain, Lovely Ghostliness

There is more poetry in autumn than summer, it would seem. Traveling from the congested highways of an overcrowded Commonwealth to the quiet shorelines of a Maine lake proves as much. Last night we arrived to high winds and whitecaps. This morning I arise to clear, Canadian air, sun, calm. That coupled with the possibility …

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Writing Is a Solitary Pursuit, But…

Writing is a solitary pursuit, yes, as well it should be. And it seems best suited for the early morning hours. But first things first. If you have a dog, you have a perfect excuse to walk it in pre-dawn darkness. Only this morning there was the full moon, making the headlamp unnecessary, and that …

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The Possibilities in an “Endlessly Muddled Middle”

They say man is a storytelling animal, which therefor means he is a story-listening animal. Children love story time, of course, but adults do as well. Teachers know that high school seniors will be as rapt to a great story read aloud as kindergarteners will. As for movies and the theater and television? One big, …

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