Adam Plunkett

Assistant Literary Editor

Two recent novels by Nigerian expats have explored the limits of the novel of ideas.

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A professor turns a blog post into a troubling book

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Burt has written well about more poets than more or less anyone who isn’t twice his age. What's not to love?

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An American Poet Outgrows Surrealism

The unhinged psalms of Dean Young

Dean Young is one of the most distinguished mid-career poets in America. His new book of new and selected poems shows how he has emerged from a dire medical condition to write the best poems of his life.

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A researcher spent 38 years asking whether his college classmates were happy. You don't have to have been in his class to learn something from the results.

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A translator who puts his mark on poems—a bit too strongly.

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IF LOUISE GLUCK had released a Collected Poems a dozen years ago, we would have known what to make of her. She was a walking dysphemism, a blade without a handle, a poet so intent on “unmasking … the ordinary to reveal the tragic,” as she put it, that any sign of kindness prompted bitter cynicism. “Mothers weep at their daughters’ weddings,/ everyone knows that, though/ for whose youth one cannot say,” she wrote in 1985. “My father liked/ to stand like this, to hold me/ so he couldn’t see me” (1990).

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Johnson’s closeness to Kerouac is invaluable for Johnson the memoirist, it is limiting for Johnson the disinterested biographer.

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Campbell McGrath has never been a difficult poet, but his early work was complex and often exciting for the ease with which readers could feel its com

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Poems and Persons

Being Numerous takes up the long and quixotic history of poets with ambitions as outsized as Yeats’s, such as George Oppen, Frank O’Hara, and a big gr

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