About Garrick Davis

Garrick Davis is the founding editor of the Contemporary Poetry Review, the largest online archive of poetry criticism in the world. The magazine was founded in 1998, and was one of the earliest literary reviews in the United States to be published exclusively on the Internet. His poetry and criticism have appeared in the New Criterion, Verse, the Weekly Standard, McSweeney’s, and the New York Sun. He is the editor of Praising It New: The Best of the New Criticism (Swallow Press, 2008) and Child of the Ocmulgee: the Selected Poems of Freda Quenneville (Michigan State University Press, 2002). His book of poems, Terminal Diagrams, is also available (Swallow Press, 2010). He served as the literary specialist of the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C. from 2005-2008. He currently serves as a multidiscipline specialist responsible for the NEA’s Arts Journalism Institutes.


Garrick Davis Has written the following articles:


The First Literary Dandy: Plato

The first literary dandy of whom we still have record was Plato—who was unquestionably the greatest “exquisite” of his day. This will strike most modern readers as astonishing or inconceivable but it is neither for those who know their Greek. As a young man in love, he wrote epigrams to his courtesan Archaeanassa (which are […]

Posted in July 2012: The Literary Dandy, This MonthComments (2)

Introduction: The Literary Dandy (A Special Issue)

When was man first freed from the drudgery of earning his income? And who was the first to dedicate himself to the art of living well? At what point in history did an entire leisure class of hedonistic egoists first appear? And what is dandyism after all? It is merely an excessive delight in clothes […]

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Adventures in Scholarship: Garrick Davis on the Textbook Understanding Poetry

Reviewed: Understanding Poetry by Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren. 1st edition, 1938. 2nd edition, 1950. 3rd edition, 1960. 4th edition, 1976.   What was the most important literature textbook of the 20th century? A work by two associate professors at Louisiana State University, it turns out, which went through four editions, and which made […]

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Letters to the Editor – March 2010

Editor’s Note The Contemporary Poetry Review is pleased to publish selected letters to the magazine, some of which have been edited for content and clarity. The editor can be contacted here. Concerning: Joan Houlihan on First Lines I liked Joan Houlihan’s piece on first lines. How right she is to emphasize their importance. Whether as […]

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Rachel Hadas and the Role of the Poet-Critic

Interviewer’s Note: Born in New York City, Rachel Hadas was educated at Radcliffe College (Classics), The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins (poetry), and Princeton (Comparative Literature), as well as by living on a Greek island for several years in the early 1970’s.  Since 1981 she has taught in the English Department of the Newark campus […]

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William Jay Smith and the Role of the Poet-Critic

William Jay Smith is the author of more than sixty books of poetry, children’s verse, literary criticism, memoirs, translations, and editor of several influential anthologies. From 1968 to 1970 he served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (a post now called the Poet Laureate) and two of his twelve collections of poetry […]

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Best Books of 2007: The CPR Awards

Book of the Year: Collected Poems by W. H. Auden, edited by Edward Mendelson (Modern Library). This one is unavoidable. You can’t get around it. You have to go through it. 2007 was a very good year for Auden’s readers. Mendelson’s collection was welcomed with open arms on both sides of the Atlantic. Timed to […]

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Best Books of 2006: The CPR Awards

  Book of the Year: Not for Specialists: New & Selected Poems by W. D. Snodgrass (BOA Editions). What happened to Snodgrass? After winning the 1960 Pulitzer Prize for his first book, the “confessional school” landmark Heart’s Needle, his career stalled. As William Logan has written, among living poets “none has suffered so peculiar a […]

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Best Books of 2005: The CPR Awards

    Book of the Year: The Collected Poems (1943-2004) of Richard Wilbur (Harcourt) Runners-Up: Safest by Michael Donaghy (Picador) Who is the greatest living American poet? While Anthony Hecht lived, one could debate the question. Now, the matter is beyond dispute: Wilbur really is our “king of the cats.” What’s more, not since Robert […]

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The Sharp Compassion of the Healer’s Art: Garrick Davis on Adam Kirsch

As the assistant literary editor of The New Republic, and later as the book critic for the New York Sun, the poet-critic Adam Kirsch has written a constant stream of articles on contemporary poetry as influential as any in recent years. These pieces, which weighed the value of poets as diverse as Derek Walcott, Sharon […]

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