Issue 141, Winter 1996
So disparate, so distinct, even, are the new poems, the new poets who appear in all their multitudes in the office mail, so docile in their return-addressed envelopes yet so indubitable in their variety and delicacy that it would be defamatory for the poetry editor to claim more, in a generalizing way, about this particular clutch of poems than his own taste, his own delight in their particular virtues, their singular vitalities. No vogue-spotter I, nor one of those intellectual marines, as Auden used to call them, who have landed and captured a trend. Of course there are poets here who have made ekphrasis their muse, and the poets for whom history is a son of metaphysical pathos, a refuge from happenings merely; there are the intonations of experience that move toward the experimental (not moving very far, or very fast, I must say); and there are certain homages to the great dead, the beloved masters. But it is a moment in our poetry when Anything Goes, and what is remarkable about the new poems here, is that Everything Stays, caught in the ear by that immodest twist of idiom we call style, or character, or quality. Mainly it is a matter of pleasure . . .