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“The Convergence of the Twain”: Thomas Hardy and Popular Sentiment

On April 15, 1912, on her maiden voyage, the British steamer Titanic, the world’s largest and most luxurious ship, struck an iceberg in mid-Atlantic and sank. The White Star Line’s ships had previously suffered major wrecks and loss of life in 1854, 1873, and 1893. But 1,500 people, more than half the Titanic’s passengers, died, […]

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“Effulgent” by David M. Katz (A parody)

  “Effulgent” by David M. Katz           Part seemed she of the effulgent thought —“Her Initials,” Thomas Hardy   Glitter, brilliance, candor, dazzle; Luster, splendor, lambent lightness; She evokes a lucid ghazal All shot through with flashing brightness: Of those words, he chose “effulgent.” Anhedonic to a fault, dour Hardy’s verse betrays his waning Adolescent […]

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Thomas Hardy: The Flexible Strength of “Neutral Tones”

How can you account for the love you have for a favorite poem?  One way is simply to say that it sparks personal associations for you. For me, that’s true in the case of “Neutral Tones,” as I suspect it is for the many who regard it as one their favorite Hardy poems. After all, […]

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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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