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All Messed Up: G.M. Palmer on Matthew Dickman

Reviewed: Mayakovsky’s Revolver by Matthew Dickman. Norton, 2012. Shot full of suicides, clichés, and sex, Matthew Dickman’s Mayakovsky’s Revolver is a collection of poems not unlike A Confederacy of Dunces—a mediocre work made important by personal tragedy.  In Dickman’s case, as evidenced by the back cover, the suicide of his older brother. While there is […]

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The Moving Scene: The Poetry of Descriptions

In one of the great misreadings of one poet by another, John Keats complained to his publisher that, in the poetry of John Clare, “the Description too much prevailed over the Sentiment.” For his part, Clare felt that Keats’s  “descriptions of scenery are often very fine but as it is the case with other inhabitants […]

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Joan Houlihan and the Role of the Poet-Critic

  This is the ninth installment in the “Role of the Poet-Critic” series, which includes interviews with Dana Gioia, William Logan, Adam Kirsch, Stephen Burt, Christian Wiman, Timothy Steele, William Jay Smith, and Rachel Hadas. Interviewer’s Note: Joan Houlihan is the author of four books of poetry: The Us (2009), The Mending Worm (2006), Hand-Held […]

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In Memoriam: Daryl Hine (1936 – 2012)

I didn’t know, when the Contemporary Poetry Review published my essay review on Daryl Hine this January, that the poet was in ill health, and certainly couldn’t guess that he would die within a year of that piece appearing. At the time I was cheered by the fact that he had found a new publisher […]

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From the Archives: The Last of the Regency Dandies (1862)

An excerpt from “The Last of the Dandies” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, June 1862 Article unsigned “Who is Captain Gronow?” He is the last of the “Dandies” of the Regency of George IV.; the sole survivor—unless we except the present octogenarian Prime Minister — of the favored mortals who, forty years ago, danced at Almack’s […]

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CPR Remembers: Count Robert de Montesquiou

Of all the modern poets of France who claimed noble birth—and many did so, by inserting de before their last name as a literary and social affectation—only two indisputably had that right: Villiers de L’isle-Adam and Robert de Montesquiou. And while Villiers was born to a family of paupers who had titles but no land, […]

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From the Archives: Beau Brummell by John Doran (1857)

A section of “Beau Brummell” from Miscellaneous Works Volume I: Habits and Men by John Doran (1857) I scorn to crowd among the muddy throng Of the rank multitude, whose thicken’d breath (Like to condensed fogs) do choke the beauty Which else would dwell in every kingdom’s cheek. No: I still boldly stepp’d into kings’ […]

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From the Archives: Brummelliana by William Hazlitt (1828)

We look upon Beau Brummell as the greatest of small wits. Indeed, he may in this respect be considered, as Cowley says of Pindar as “a species alone,” and as forming a class by himself. He has arrived at the very minimum of wit, and reduced it, “by happiness or pains,” to an almost invisible […]

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From the Archives: The Life of Beau Brummell (1864)

“Beau Brummell” from Eccentric Personages by W. Russell (1864) It is a solemn truth that every death-bed is the final scene of a great tragedy, though the death be a beggar’s, the bed one of straw. Yet to the human imagination the supreme catastrophe is magnified in its impressive terror when the miserable death strikingly […]

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From the Archives: The Maxims of Pelham (1828)

An Excerpt from Pelham: Or the Adventures of a Gentleman by Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1828) 1.) Do not require your dress so much to fit, as to adorn you. Nature is not to be copied, but to be exalted by art. Apelles blamed Protogenes for being too natural. 2.) Never in your dress altogether desert that […]

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