September 20, 2016

Stevie Smith

By Cody Walker

For the past several days, I’ve been lugging around Stevie Smith’s All the Poems, which came out earlier this year from New Directions. Edited by Will May, it runs 806 […]

February 19, 2016

Un-Valentine’s Day

By Cody Walker

Just as Humpty Dumpty celebrated un-birthdays, some of us at the University of Michigan on Monday celebrated Un-Valentine’s Day. Our cupcakes were topped with hearts, yes; but they were also […]

June 18, 2015

Larkin, Cornered

By Cody Walker

On a day that could use some (possibly) bright news, there’s this: Philip Larkin will be getting a memorial stone in Westminster Abbey’s Poets’ Corner. He’ll be in fine company: […]

September 14, 2014


By Cody Walker

Early childhood: what a wipeout, memory-wise. I was alive for Woodstock, for the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, for the moon landing, for the better part of […]

September 2, 2014

The Dutiful Mob, Reconsidered

By Cody Walker

It’s the day after Labor Day, which means—at many college campuses, including the one where I teach—that fall classes are starting. In constructing the syllabus for my poetry workshop, I’ve […]

November 18, 2013

Of Blogs and Bobbleheads

By Cody Walker

About ten years ago, a friend offered to buy me a custom-made bobblehead doll for my birthday. The question, then: Who did I want? Whitman seemed too obvious (I have […]

September 2, 2013

How Pleasant to Know Mr. Lear!

By Cody Walker

The magnificent Edward Lear, who described himself as “3 parts crazy—and wholly affectionate,” found his way into the Times’ Arts Beat this past week. The piece begins: “Ever wonder what […]

July 26, 2013

Distant Lands, Close Quarters

By Cody Walker

When I put my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter to bed at night, the last thing I tell her is “I love you a lot.” The “a lot” feels crucial—not as an intensifier […]

April 12, 2012

Mix Tape: Mellow Yellow Smellow

By Maggie Smith

Who said it, James Joyce or Kool Keith? (“One is the most innovative writer of the 20th century, the other is James Joyce.”) Philip Larkin once said, “Deprivation is for […]

January 26, 2012

Mix Tape: Cursed Poets

By Maggie Smith

What does it mean to “be a poet”? Philip Larkin “didn’t give readings or lectures, was never a poet-in-residence at a university, never taught, rarely gave interviews, generally stayed away […]

June 1, 2009

Location, Location, Location

By Cody Walker

Nabokov wrote The Real Life of Sebastian Knight under unusual circumstances. In a 1941 letter to Edmund Wilson (penned long before their famous feud), he tells his new friend, “I […]