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Our Steps amid a Ruined Colonnade II: James Matthew Wilson on Expansive Poetry and its Discontents

II          Marble staircases climb the hills where derelict estates               glimmer in the river-brightened dusk . . .               And some are merely left to rot where now               broken stone lions guard a roofless colonnade . . .                                                 —Dana Gioia   Though long anticipated, the recent demise of the respectable Edge City Review […]

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Our Steps amid a Ruined Colonnade: James Matthew Wilson on Contemporary Poetry and the Academy

While arguing amid the colonnades, Tired in the noon-day by the badly taught, Or resting, dubious, in the laurel shades   I have impinged upon a firmer thought.    – Yvor Winters Poet-critics from David Lehman to William Logan have aired their complaints about the dangers literature faces in the contemporary English Department, and they have done […]

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Poetry at the Movies

A Survey of Verse Scribblers on the Silver Screen As Reviewed By: Kathleen Rooney If you hit the trivia section of the Internet Movie Data Base entry for Steven Spielberg’s 2002 high-tech adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s short story Minority Report, you will learn that the director “hired the top 12 contortionist [sic] from around […]

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Explaining the Modernist Joke: W.H. Auden, Louis MacNeice and Letters from Iceland

Travel Writing and the Canon Like many odd literary creatures from the British 1930’s, W.H. Auden and Louis MacNeice’s Letters from Iceland (1936) is referred to more frequently as a representative period piece than as an achieved work of art. As Tim Youngs notes, in his essay on Auden’s travel writing in the recent Cambridge […]

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To Cloak the Emptiness of One’s Yearnings: George Santayana Reconsidered

I  Early in 1941, as British forces were pushing Italian tanks back into Libya and spoiling Mussolini’s dreams of becoming a full member to the Axis powers, Ezra Pound was hard at work in Rapallo, pushing dreams of his own. In a letter from January 2nd of that year, Pound wrote to the retired Spanish […]

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Can A Conference Save Poetry? Garrick Davis on the Pope of Rhyme and Meter in West Chester

In the world of American poetry, getting a call from Dana Gioia is like getting blessed by the Pope. This spring, I received that benediction when he invited me to West Chester, Pennsylvania, for the 9th Annual Conference on Exploring Form & Narrative in Poetry.  Gioia, himself a poet and critic (and now Chairman of […]

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