I think that holds true when you first start scribbling down lines of your own too: it’s play before it’s work, imitation before it’s self-expression, pure pleasure before it morphs into freighted ambition. I wouldn’t know how to read tea leaves like that. On the up side, I think poetry that has proven durable is more and more getting its proper due, and not just from acolytes and camp followers. In poems about historical figures like Wells, how did you choose the people to write about, and then what was it like doing the research? As for the place of poetry here at the The Atlantic, I have fair hopes that it will continue to occupy the niche it’s always had, marginal but honorable and vital. A general familiarity with what we have published in the past is the best guide to what we're looking for. Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor in chief of The Atlantic, set off a storm of criticism Thursday when he suggested that, in seeking a diverse group … Reading was everything, and poetry was on everyone’s shelves. April is National Poetry Month, which makes it a good time to celebrate The Atlantic ’s literary heritage. Based on that view, are there any trends you’ve noticed, anything particularly vital and exciting going on right now?  I was hoping you’d ask that. Title Poetry Across the Atlantic Summary U.S. Peter was the consummate lion of letters: an eminent poet, a distinguished book editor, a formidable critic, a great wit, and a force of nature. ← Back to The Atlantic. One reason I found myself writing “Ballade of the Golden Arm” was that I’d been devouring Villon and was captivated by how the strenuous rigor of his ballades seemed to be the secret of their ferocious vigor—there’s this tremendous tension between the constraints of the prosody and the release of verbal energy. Peter Blackstock, a senior editor at Grove Atlantic, is no stranger to the Booker Prize. This news magazine focuses on the political, economic, fine arts, events, and personalities affecting contemporary trends. Peter Davison, who for almost half a century was a pillar of the Boston literary and publishing world, thanks to his many years as an editor at the Atlantic … I guess it qualifies as yet another arcane fixation, but somehow or another it turned into an animating trope. {US Poet Laureate Robert} Pinsky likes to say that poetry is built on a column of breath, and I agree with him absolutely. Peter would take it from there, and his editorial correspondence week in and week out was something to behold. David Barber. In honor of the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet's birthday, a look at the works that have been published in the magazine, The poem was first published in the November 1960 issue of The Atlantic, In honor of April, a walk through The Atlantic's literary history, from 'Paul Revere's Ride' and 'Battle Hymn of the Republic' to Robert Frost's poems. His most recent collection of poems is Secret History. In one poem, for example, you directly address Williams Wells, a Victorian scientist who wrote a treatise on dew. Is that convention living on borrowed time? In some ways I feel like I’m still collaborating with him, doing what I can to keep his legacy intact. His acceptance letters were often suitable for framing, but so were those that dispensed tonic advice to younger poets or offered a piece of his mind on bugbears like wobbly prosody, wayward grammar, or period mannerisms like the rampant use of the first-person indicative. Poet Laureate Donald Hall and British Poet Laureate Andrew Motion participated in a historic series of joint poetry readings in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and London, sharing the stage for the first time and reacquainting the … Opening the Island (2003) Processional (2005) Asking Questions Indoors and Out (2009) Alongside (2013) Selected anthologies. That’s what lines do: they modulate rhythm, they sustain a pitch, they prompt the voice. Form has a strong gravitational pull on me, but I want to make sure I’m asking the fact for the form, as Emerson puts it. We read and admire lyric, narrative, experimental, form, free verse, prose poems, and any other kind of poetry. It’s not just sonority I’m listening for: I also like poems that kick up a fine ruckus, poems written with acerbic wit or sly irony, and ones that that make persuasive use of colloquial speech in quirky or spooky ways. He is poetry editor of the Atlantic. TheAtlantic.com Copyright (c) 2020 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. Poet Bio. I wanted to see what would happen if I tried creating my own kind of hybrid, an amalgamation of East and West, Old World and New World, the ancient and the modern, the sacred and the profane. The renowned Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, for example, got its start as Elias Ashmole’s private wonder cabinet. But I think the more you train and trust your ear, the more readily you’re able to discern whether a poet’s particular brand of sound and sense is earning its keep with conviction and precision. It was my good fortune to be one of the succession of Peter’s understudies during his thirty-year tenure as The Atlantic’s poetry editor—his last “Cerberus,” as he was known to quip. What must it have been like to flip open the page to that magisterial piece of work? One test that’s pretty trustworthy is seeing whether the poem induces me to say it aloud. Duotrope's listing for The Atlantic. It was an affinity that evolved. I’m certainly not ready to write off the existence of that semi-mythical creature, the common reader—unlike the unicorn or the manticore, empirical evidence suggests that there’s a population out there that still answers to that description. In the case of William Wells, here was a figure of some importance in his day who’s now all but forgotten, like just about all of us will be. When people find out I write poems, they almost invariably tell me that they don’t understand poetry. That it gets taught in workshops? His poetry and criticism have appeared in The Paris Review, The New Republic, The New York Times Book Review, and Poetry, and he has taught at MIT and Emerson College. Poems are made out of words, but when words take the form of lines on the page, the language tenses and flexes with a particular kind of inflected intensity. On December 3, Chris Jackson, accepted The Center for Fiction Medal for Editorial Excellence. He’s the editor of a wide range of award-winning and bestselling authors, including Bryan Stevenson, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jill Leovy, Trevor Noah, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Ibram X. Kendi, Valarie … I suspect that’s a pretty common story: getting turned on by poetry before realizing that it’s Poetry, if you know what I mean. But it’s not as if there’s some hard and fast boundary, is there? First published in 1857, the Atlantic Monthly, was founded, in part, to weigh in on the great debate of that century – to editorialize that all men are created equal and free. That’s how it was then: poets of prominence were what we’d today call “public intellectuals,” and Longfellow’s stemwinding narrative poems were runaway bestsellers. But my starting point was discovering that the word “sutra” in Sanskrit literally means “thread” or “line”—in its original religious sense it referred to a pithy verse or aphorism, or a collection of such utterances. In the poem “Eulogy for an Anchorite,” for example, my primary source was an obit I happened across at the breakfast table. She is also the co-editor of a book of essays, In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic (1994). As an author, a teacher, and an editor, she helped define … RelSci Relationships. User Account; Change your mailing address; Change your email address; Reset your password; Update payment method; Subscription Management; Connect your subscription to your account; Purchase a subscription; Renew your subscription; Print magazine delivery; Help Topics. It was another attempt to get inside the skin of historical figures, this time with an exclusive focus on those who left some indelible mark on the American imagination. There’s reams of poetry getting cranked out nowadays of all varieties: the profession may be a cottage industry compared with what the big-league “content providers” are doing, but lately it’s beginning to look more like this sprawling bazaar where you can find a ready supply of whatever suits your fancy. Liking the sound of certain lines chiming and jangling around in my head probably had everything to do with it. The Atlantic - In 1952, in her native Baltimore, Adrienne Rich delivered her first public lecture, “Some Influences of Poetry Upon the Course of History.” She was 23. To get a sense of our journal, read some back issues, or better yet, subscribe. And let’s not forget that there are purely expedient reasons for including lines of verse in the editorial mix—to serve as filler for rounding out columns of type. For ten years, he performed the Herculean task of reading and considering every one of the 75,000 poetry submissions that pour into The Atlantic’s offices each year. Then again, isn’t it one of the touchstones of modernism that it’s the particulars that matter at the end of the day? Reading Randall Jarrell’s The Bat Poet at a tender age probably had something to do with it. Editor Ann Hulbert Email fiction@theatlantic.com Address The Atlantic 600 New Hampshire Ave., NW Washington, 20037 Established 1857 ISSN 1072-7825 Circulation 400,000 monthly readers Website www.theatlantic.com Submission Guidelines I find it awfully hard to generalize, however. A fully realized poem establishes its own kind of audible energy at the outset, be it musical or conversational, roaring or purring or what have you. And when it comes to an intricately interwoven stanzaic form, there’s no beating terza rima. New Canadian Poetry (Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 2000) The monthly news magazine The Atlantic once stood out for its inclusion of poetry and fiction in its pages. My poems have become more peopled, more inhabited, over the years, and I think that’s because I’ve gravitated toward elegies and apostrophes for the sense of narrative and dramatic occasion they provide. It’s true that a good many poems deliberately resemble puzzles or riddles (“dark sayings” is one of the dictionary definition of a riddle, after all), but it seems to me that the most accomplished poets in that vein have the knack for getting readers to enter into the spirit of the game. RelSci Relationships are individuals Denise Wills likely has professional access to. It’s not likely we’re going to see a wholesale resurgence of that kind of thing, but you never know. All that said, I don’t think it makes a whole lot of sense for an editor to select poems based on some hazy notion of popularity or accessibility. The same goes for Frost poems like “Birches” and “The Road Not Taken”: no matter how many anthologies they appear in, they’re still imperishable. The short answer would have to be yes: poetry might have roughly the same editorial niche here as it always has, but reading habits have changed, the literary climate has changed, the larger culture has changed many times over. Now that you mention it, I suppose that line from “Ode to William Wells” verges on an artistic credo: I have a thing for unearthing stray historical facts and occurrences, and I’m convinced there’s something rewarding and perhaps even redemptive about the effort to recover relics and remnants of the past that might otherwise vanish into the dust-bin of history. The Atlantic poetry editorship is an especially sensitive post; not only does it require the recognition of good writing in whatever strange and innovative forms it might take, but it also comes with the amorphous assignment of meeting the poetry needs of a general interest magazine. Form isn’t just about line counts and rhyme schemes, of course. Brute productivity is one kind of vitality, I guess, but you have to wonder if the supply is really being driven by demand. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com. Talk about furthering one’s education! Grove Atlantic has created a six-person executive committee to help CEO Morgan Entrekin run the publisher and increased the entry-level salary to $40,000. One man’s arcana is another man’s manna, I suspect. Poets still held bragging rights as the unacknowledged legislators of the world, and here in the Hub of the Universe they were all but officially consecrated as such. The real trick, if you stick with it, is making sure that some vital essence of that original delight remains uncorrupted by professional responsibility and anxiety. I don’t cotton to the notion that poets have an obligation to speak for collective experience, but it’s an honorable tradition worth preserving and I think it can be a welcome corrective to the claustrophobic solipsism that’s an occupational hazard of so much testimonial writing. So I first try tuning into a poem’s frequency—I almost want to liken it to listening to birdsong. The Polish poet, who died this week, published several poems in the magazine. There are inevitably lots of other factors in play—subject matter, formal aptitude, ideas, originality, verve—and I’m not saying that subjective taste has nothing to do with it. I’m partial to the clutch of lyrics we published by Edward Arlington Robinson from around World War I and several by Howard Nemerov that date from the ’50s and ’60s, owing to their unobtrusive mastery of versification and intonation. Become a subscriber Enjoy unlimited access to all of The Atlantic’s journalism, starting at less than $1 per week. Since 1857, The Atlantic has been challenging assumptions and pursuing truth. Most people who read poetry see only published poems, which are a tiny fraction of all the poems being written. I’d like to think that readers of all stripes will regard The Atlantic’s poetry not as some ceremonial or ornamental sop to tradition but rather as reliable leavenings of pleasure, stimulation, and surprise. Needs: The Atlantic says it is always interested in great nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. The Atlantic is always interested in great nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. That intimidation factor seems to have become a commonplace, hasn’t it? David Barber, a poet himself and longtime poetry editor at The Atlantic, says they are running far less poetry than in the past.“By the measure of editorial inches alone, The Atlantic simply can’t be as welcoming to poets as it once was. Upon learning, for instance, that a 98-year-old beekeeper “bobbed to the top of Kilimanjaro” looking for a particular strain of insects, Barber writes “It buoys me simply to think of it”—and it’s impossible not to concur. But I wonder if it’s also a self-fulfilling prophecy. That kind of thing is catnip for me. It gave me a fixed unit of measure to work with, and I got drawn into the technical challenge of using syllabics as a kind of stealth prosody, a notational pattern that insinuates itself surreptitiously in the flexing of syntax rather than in the pulse of accentual stresses. Chris Jackson is the publisher and editor-in-chief of One World, an imprint of Random House. The Edge of Home: Milton Acorn from the Island (editor, 2002) Coastlines: The Poetry of Atlantic Canada (co-editor, 2002) Meetings with Maritime Poets (2006) Poetry. To be fixated on anything implies an abiding devotion to exacting detail, and trusting in the details to deliver the goods. I’m also partial to Marianne Moore’s sly little proviso: “Ecstasy affords the occasion, and expediency determines the form.” I don’t think of myself as a diehard formalist—it’s not as if I keep an assorted stock of fixed forms close at hand like Julia Child’s famous particle-board kitchen wall where all her gleaming culinary paraphernalia dangled on hooks. Both Lincoln and Obama dabbled in poetry as young adults. The Atlantic Magazine. You’ve just got to hope that Pound was right when he said poetry is news that stays news, and leave the rest to the fates. For me it’s all about the ear. Another marvelous poem that comes to mind is Robert Hass’s “Heroic Simile,” from 1976. Poets have become a professional caste over the last generation or so, and that’s something of a mixed blessing: I see a lot of work that’s competent but generic, and a steady stream of writing that doesn’t have much aesthetic courage of conviction beyond raw ambition. But I also think poets don’t do themselves any favors when they get drawn into thinking that intelligibility is some sort of imaginative copout, as if the only way to be profound is to confound. The Atlantic published reams of Longfellow in its first twenty-five years, and most of those poems survive only as museum pieces. A magazine that endures for generations can’t help but reflect that, for better or for worse. He was an American physician who had a practice in London in the early 1800s and dabbled in natural history on the side—or as it was often called then, “natural philosophy.” I happened upon a reference to a scientific paper he presented to the Royal Society in a Loren Eiseley book called Darwin’s Century—in a footnote, naturally!—and was instantly enchanted by its title: “Essay on Dew.” And I was all the more captivated to learn that it wasn’t some kind of metaphorical rubric but quite literally a research paper on condensation and evaporation, one that caused something of a stir in learned circles because it embodied what was just then becoming codified as the scientific method: drawing a hypothesis about the laws of nature based on first-hand observation and scrupulous field studies. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poetry… What’s a Wonder Cabinet, anyway? All in all, then, I’m inclined to take a leaf from E. M. Forster’s sensible appraisal of democracy—two cheers for contemporary poetry. On the other hand, it’s worth recalling the disclaimer that the mother of us all, Emily Dickinson, firmly issued in her famous correspondence with Atlantic editor Thomas Higginson: “When I state myself, as the Representative of the Verse—it does not mean me, but a supposed person.” Was she just being cagey? Fashions come and go in poetry just like in every other field, and so a good deal of what gets ballyhooed as the next big thing turns out to be fleeting bubbles of small beer. That’s probably a byproduct of being force-fed poetry in the classroom as just so much grist for laborious interpretation and explication, rather than as this rich heritage of devices and designs for saying things artfully and memorably. The supple density of the haiku stanza struck me as a handy means to that end. Wonder Cabinet provides a surprisingly inclusive picture of human experience and approaches its subjects with humor, fellow-feeling, and a rueful appreciation of the predicament of being a strange creature in a world of strangeness. I’m tempted to suggest that they choose me, but it’s probably more accurate to say that I lie in wait for them. Reading poetry in a general magazine shouldn’t smack of a homework assignment or taking your medicine. Writing a poem that “lasts” in some greater historical or cultural sense like “For the Union Dead” is rarer by orders of magnitude—more like getting struck by lightning during a lunar eclipse or in conjunction with Halley’s comet. David Barber, The Atlantic's poetry editor, talks about the writing and teaching of poetry, and about his new collection of poems, Wonder Cabinet. Poetry is composing for the breath. He won the 2017 Bermuda Triangle Poetry Prize, and was the First Runner-Up for the 2019 Fischer Poetry Prize. Taking it on, one inherits a long tradition of distinguished contributions to American poetry—poems by Emerson, Whitman, Frost, and Robert Lowell, among many, many others—as well as famous flubs like editor Thomas Wentworth Higginson’s rejections of Emily Dickinson (“The bee himself did not evade the schoolboy more than she evaded me,” he wrote in 1891, when prompted to comment on her posthumous success). It waxes and it wanes. David Barber, The Atlantic ’s current poetry editor, has been at the magazine since 1994. There’s a “Houdini Sutra,” a “Satchmo Sutra,” a “Great Stone Face Sutra” (that’s Buster Keaton), and so forth. Historically speaking, poetry has only had a scant toehold in general-interest magazines, even back in their heyday when there were a lot more of them than there are now. Well, first I tried going down to the crossroads with my pawn-shop guitar, but the devil never showed, so I had to opt for Plan B. We’re all captives of our times, like insects trapped in amber. Something about them speaks to me, and in turn I want to see if I can speak for them. The Atlantic is an American magazine and multi-platform publisher. A relationship does not necessarily indicate a personal connection. Even so, it seems to me that we ought to resist the temptation to feel either superior or nostalgic in relation to our literary ancestors. The germ for a poem is oftentimes something I’ve read that touches a chord and sends me off in pursuit of more facts, more details, more dirt. 48. Peter Davison, poetry editor, The Atlantic Monthly: Poetry should make contact with every part of you, with the mind, with the senses, especially with the ear. As a longtime enthusiast of aphorisms, epigrams, and the like, I couldn’t resist updating this concept a bit, and I was further emboldened by the fact that sutras took all kinds of eclectic forms as they evolved into one of the principal modes of Buddhist and Hindu scripture. Submit a Letter. I’ve never known anyone who combined such an exquisite literary sensibility with such savvy horse sense about the hard labor and exacting craft that goes into making good poems. There are long odds on any poem holding its own from one generation to the next, and the anthologies of yesteryear are graveyards of poems that were once deemed indispensable. You write: “There’s a touch of the sublime in your arcane fixation.” What is it about arcane fixations that you find sublime? Along with empathy toward underdogs, the poems profess an infectious admiration for unusual achievements, and an implicit faith in their importance. With the large number of submissions that come to The Atlantic, you have to discriminate very quickly. We do not consider work that has appeared elsewhere. Van Duyn read with Peter Davison, a Boston-based poet and editor who was best known for his four decades of work as a literary editor for the Atlantic Monthly Press and Houghton Mifflin, and his thirty years as poetry editor of The Atlantic Monthly. What does poetry add to a general interest magazine? Marie Howe is the author of four volumes of poetry: Magdalene: Poems (W.W. Norton, 2017); The Kingdom of Ordinary Time (W.W. Norton, 2009); What the Living Do (1997); and The Good Thief (1988). The publication of a volume of Elizabeth Bishop’s uncollected and unfinished poems earlier this year caused a real stir, and the Library of America has a spinoff series called the American Poets Project that strikes me as an enlightened alternative to the glut of “best of” anthologies out there. There’s just no telling, and I think it’s a mug’s game to speculate along those lines. At The Atlantic, and throughout Atlantic Media. I’m beginning to see signs that a taste for humorous and satirical verse might be making a comeback, and that’s an altogether welcome development for those of us given to lamenting over the lost art of keeping an uncivil tongue in one’s head. Poems by This Poet Prose by this Poet. All Rights Reserved. By my lights Lowell’s “For the Union Dead” remains one of the touchstone American poems—it originally ran in The Atlantic in November 1961. How is it different writing about public versus private experience? Highly respected magazine, The Atlantic publishes both big names and emerging writers in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The Atlantic wants to hear what you think. That it gets anthologized? The Atlantic covers news, politics, culture, technology, health, and more, through its articles, podcasts, videos, and flagship magazine. There also appears to be a happy resurgence of public interest in memorizing and recording poetry, thanks to the efforts of our recent U.S. poet laureates and the grassroots enthusiasm for so-called “spoken-word” performance. I don’t think that’s a foregone conclusion, though for all kinds of complicated reasons it appears that poetry doesn’t have as secure a niche as it once had in the collective consciousness. Not exactly the world we now inhabit, is it? We want to hear what you think about this article. Description: The Atlantic Monthly is designed for the literate reader with an interest in current events. A letter or submitting pieces to our editorial team for consideration ) Processional the atlantic poetry editor! Think about this article changed at all over the course of the place poetry! 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