Masterful Variations: Luke Hankins on Ashley Anna McHugh

Reviewed: Into These Knots by Ashley Anna McHugh. Ivan R. Dee, 2010. 68 pp. Hardcover. $22.50. Winner of the 2010 New Criterion Poetry Prize.

In Ashley Anna McHugh’s “All Other Ground Is Sinking Sand” (“On Christ the solid rock I stand” goes the previous line of the hymn this title is taken from), a villanelle addressed to the speaker’s father, we find ourselves at the ailing father’s bedside and learn that he has a bedsore that has turned gangrenous:

Doctors say that he could die: They have to hurry,

might amputate.… continue reading...

The Poem as Devotional Practice: Luke Hankins on the Metaphysical Poets

Scholarship noted: Love’s Architecture: Devotional Modes in Seventeenth-Century English Poetry by Anthony Low. New York University Press, 1978.

I. A Lasting Model?

Certain religious poets of 17th-century England, often called the “Metaphysical” poets, have gained as firm a place in the Western canon as any group of poets enjoys today.… continue reading...