For the past two years in our April issue, we have devoted a substantial portion of The New Criterion to a special section on poetry. We are delighted to continue that tradition this year. David Yezzi, who is the director of the Unterberg Poetry Center at the 92nd Street Y as well as the poetry editor of The New Criterion, has assembled some splendid essays on poetry past and present, from Peter Campion’s reflections on the scabrously ebullient John Wilmot (1647–1680), the second Earl of Rochester, to Adam Kirsch’s reconsideration of “The Waste Land” and Daniel Mark Epstein’s magisterial meditation on the achievement of Richard Wilbur. Mr. Yezzi has also contributed a thoughtful essay on the vicissitudes of formal verse at a time—our time—when the advantages of form, in poetry as elsewhere, are widely neglected. This issue also includes new poems by Timothy Steele, a reassessment of Robert Southey’s place in the pantheon of poets, a review of Stephen Greenblatt’s new book on Shakespeare, and a moving memorial to the American poet Michael Donaghy, who died suddenly last September at the age of fifty. T. S. Eliot began his most famous poem with the declaration that “April is the cruellest month.” At The New Criterion, April is the month most devoted to the vigor of poetry.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 23 Number 8, on page 3
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