About John Drexel

John Drexel's poems have appeared widely in magazines in the U.S. and Britain, including the Hudson Review, Oxford Poetry, Paris Review, Salmagundi, Southern Review, and Verse, and his work is included in A Fine Excess: Contemporary Literature at Play (Sarabande Books, 2001). A former editor at Oxford University Press and past recipient of an Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship and a Hawthornden Fellowship, he works as a freelance writer, editor, and critic. He also directs occasional poetry workshop-seminars in Hay-on-Wye, Wales, and in Cornwall, England.


John Drexel Has written the following articles:


CPR Classic Readings: Philip Larkin’s “Broadcast”

While far from being the most ambitious and successful poem in The Whitsun Weddings, “Broadcast” seems to me in many ways among the most essentially Larkinesque of Philip Larkin’s poems, and at the same time the most uncharacteristically romantic.

Posted in Classic Reading, May 2010: Philip Larkin Special Issue, This MonthComments (0)

CPR Classic Readings: “The Sunlight on the Garden” by Louis MacNeice

As Reviewed By: John Drexel “The Sunlight on the Garden” by Louis MacNeice The sunlight on the garden Hardens and grows cold, We cannot cage the minute Within its nets of gold; When all is told We cannot beg for pardon. Our freedom as free lances Advances towards its end; The earth compels, upon it […]

Posted in Classic Reading, Featured, October 2007: Louis MacNeice Special IssueComments (1)

“What is the Language Using Us For?”

As Reviewed By: John Drexel New Collected Poems by W. S. Graham. Edited by Matthew Francis, with a foreword by Douglas Dunn. Faber & Faber, 2005 What is the language using us for? Said Malcolm Mooney moving away Slowly over the white language. . . . So begins the first poem in Implements in Their Places(1977), […]

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Terra Incognita, or British Poetry in America

As Reviewed By: John Drexel New British Poetry. Edited by Don Paterson and Charles Simic. Graywolf Press, 2004. Paper: $16.00. “Anthologies provide the easiest access for American readers into contemporary British poetry, and the lack of reliable contemporary anthologies on both sides of the Atlantic may account for a large part of the apathy and […]

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Lost in Translation?

As Reviewed By: John Drexel Barrier of a Common Language: An American Looks at Contemporary British Poetry by Dana Gioia. University of Michigan Press, 2003. Paper: $16.95 Although the notion is rarely articulated openly, there is a tacit assumption in most anthologies and criticism [in the United States] that in the past century American poetry-vigorous, […]

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Is English Your Native Tongue?

As Reviewed By: John Drexel Belonging, by Dick Davis. Swallow Press/ Ohio University Press, 2002. 54 pages. cloth, $24.95; paper, $14.95. Landscape with Chainsaw, by James Lasdun. W. W. Norton, 2003. paper, $11.00. Soft Sift, by Mark Ford. Harcourt, 2003. 49 pages. cloth, $23.00. Books of poems often arrive on the reviewer’s desk in more […]

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F. D. Reeve’s Tales

Reviewed: The Moon and Other Failures by F. D. Reeve. Michigan State University Press, 1999. $17.95 (paper). 65 pages. The Urban Stampede and Other Poems by F. D. Reeve. Michigan State University Press, 2001. $18.95 (paper). 80 pages. Lately I have been thinking about what constitutes, or might constitute, popular poetry. While working on an […]

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Geoffrey Hill: The Poet in Winter

As Reviewed By: John Drexel The Orchards of Syon by Geoffrey Hill. Counterpoint, 2002. $23.00 I ought, in the interests of full disclosure, to begin with a confession: Geoffrey Hill was my thesis tutor–i.e., my academic advisor–when I was a graduate student at Leeds University in the late 1970s. Our relations were entirely formal, occasionally […]

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