Current Issue

The Dance of Poetry                    
winter 2013

Get ready to take notes: this issue contains four pieces originally delivered as lectures. Debora Greger and William Logan—the 26th and 27th Aiken Taylor Award winners—are the subject of talks originally delivered during the award’s celebration by David Yezzi and Emily Grosholz, respectively; Jay Parini offers a complementary oration on poetry and spirituality; and Brian Boyd, a new contributor, delivers a comparison of lyric and narrative poetry that originally began as a 2012 talk at Harvard’s Program for Evolutionary Dynamics. Poetry’s ability to cross the borders of language is the subject joining an essay on translating Faust by Martin Greenberg with an in-depth review of Yves Bonnefoy’s newly translated collection by George Poe. Turns out, poets themselves aren’t limited by borders either; Nobel Laureate Joseph Brodsky—who fled Soviet Russia for the United States—and his poetic relations are the subject of an essay by Jeffrey Meyers. These days, the publication of a dead literary figure’s every scrawl is common practice and Floyd Skloot tests the usefulness of this compulsion, specifically the eighth volume of Thomas Hardy’s letters. D. H. Lawrence the novelist could have easily been a subject for our critics in our recent issue on the novel; instead A. Banerjee examines Lawrence’s less-explored poetic personality. Our critics illuminate the poetic lives of R. S. Thomas, Robert Frost, and Elizabeth Bishop; and offer remembrances of Seamus Heaney, Louis D. Rubin, Jr., and Daniel Hoffman.

"I remember my father’s hands, playing
then with my mother’s false pretense,
the eyes of their room wide open in rage,
while silence would humble itself
and sit down on the wide cold floor
awed by the smallness of life’s secrets."

—Jayanta Mahapatra, from “In This Room”

 Life in a small town—including but not limited to roof-rats, tussles on the basketball court, confrontations with law enforcement, and a car accident—is described in a story by Peter Makuck. In a piece of poetic prose (a composition reminiscent of his recently revised narrative poem
The Donner Party), George Keithley remembers the Donner Party as he wanders through the desert. Reviews by various hands tackle recent work by Annie Finch and Wilmer Mills, along with Daniel Swift’s book on the connection between Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Prayer Book. And finally, because our poetry issue wouldn’t be complete without a little poetry, we present poems by Floyd Skloot, Jayanta Mahapatra, Peter Cooley, Brian Culhane, and Ben Howard.