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Form as Moral Content in Thomas Hardy’s “During Wind and Rain”

Read the poem here. When beginning to think about the poem “During Wind and Rain” by Thomas Hardy, I thought it might be useful to go back for some context to the old pessimist Yvor Winters, who always had provocative things to say about form.  If he was a pessimist, well, so was Thomas Hardy.  […]

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The Light of Loss: Thomas Hardy’s “The Last Signal”

Thomas Hardy’s poem “The Last Signal” is one of his finest elegies. That is already saying a good deal, since a great many of his poems could be defined as elegiac in tone, if not actually in strict form. This clearly is the case with almost all of the poems written about his first wife, […]

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Introduction: The Poetry of Thomas Hardy (A Special Issue)

  Thomas Hardy is still far better known as a novelist than he is as a poet. Although certain poems have lodged themselves where, as Frost put it, they will be hard to get rid of, there is still a widespread conviction that much of his poetry is either awkward, difficult or just downright bad. […]

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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 […]

Posted in July 2012: The Literary Dandy, This MonthComments (1)

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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