Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Redux newsletter.
This week at The Paris Review, we’re celebrating another year of the best deal in town: our summer subscription offer with The New York Review of Books. For only $99, you’ll receive yearlong subscriptions and complete archive access to both magazines—a 34% savings!
To give you a taste, we’re unlocking pieces from the archives of both The Paris Review and The New York Review of Books. Read on for Robert Lowell’s Art of Poetry interview, paired with his letters to Elizabeth Bishop concerning the founding of The New York Review of Books; Ingeborg Bachmann’s short story “Everything,” paired with Merve Emre’s essay on Bachmann’s novel Malina and other fiction; and a portfolio of art by Kara Walker, paired with an essay by Zadie Smith on Walker’s work through the years.
If you enjoy these free interviews, stories, poems, and works of criticism, why not subscribe to The Paris Review and The New York Review of Books and read both magazines’ entire archives?
Robert Lowell, The Art of Poetry No. 3
The Paris Review, issue no. 25 (Winter–Spring 1961)
The ideal modern form seems to be the novel and certain short stories. Maybe Tolstoy would be the perfect example—his work is imagistic, it deals with all experience, and there seems to be no conflict of the form and content. So one thing is to get into poetry that kind of human richness in rather simple descriptive language. Then there’s another side of poetry: compression, something highly rhythmical and perhaps wrenched into a small space. I’ve always been fascinated by both these things.