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“This poetry is not an ornament to the uprising—it is its soundtrack and also composes a significant part of the action itself.”

At Jadilayya, Elliott Colla has published an interesting and informative piece about the role of poetry–slogans and more–in the current protests in Egypt, as well as in earlier protests and revolutions in Egyptian history. Colla writes of a feeling that will be familiar to anyone who’s been part of a demonstration, however small or inconsequential [...]

The rewards of the poetic life

Poetry’s rewards may not come in this life . . .


Though it’s possible that T. S. Eliot was correct when he famously said that “it appears likely that poets in our civilization, as it exists at present, must be difficult,” there are nonetheless times when difficulty is not what we want. As Nicholson Baker writes in his dizzyingly poetry-besotten novel The Anthologist,
The rhyming of [...]

Pssst! Hey, Santa!

For those of you still shopping . . . poet and Quarterly Conversation contributor Ron Slate has rounded up nineteen poets and gotten them to offer brief notes on their favorite poetry books of the year.
Nineteen! At one per family member, that will probably take you at least through first cousins!

Giacomo Leopardi

In the October 25th issue of the New Yorker, Adam Kirsch–one of the smartest poetry critics working today–wrote about a new translation of the Canti of nineteenth-century Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi by FSG publisher Jonathan Galassi. Kirsch’s review highlighted the
unremitting quality of Leopardi’s pessimism, the crushing insistence, which distinguishes it from the seductive melancholy of [...]

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