Mary Maxwell

Push and Pull – Forthcoming

Mary Maxwells long-awaited collection of essays includes pieces that first appeared in journals such as Arion, Boston Review, Literary Imagination, Partisan Review, Pequod, Raritan, Salmagundi, Yale Review and Vanitas.  Some originated as talks given as an independent scholar at literary conferences, while others were written as enthusiastic responses to publications by colleagues such as Richard Howard, Cees Nooteboom and Gilbert Sorrentino.

The subject of poetic translation is one of the collections most recurring topics, with discussion of the classics (Homer, Ovid, Horace, Sappho and Dante) as rendered by contemporary poets (Christopher Logue, Daryl Hine, David Ferry, Jim Powell and Robert Pinsky) forming the books core.  According to Maxwell, what is uniquely brought overby poets who translate is the prosodic embodiment of the lyric individual.

Maxwells gaze also regularly alights on the matter of canon revision, as the critic advocates the inclusion of undervalued women writers and artists such as Sulpicia, Beatrice of Die, Janice Biala, Serena Rothstein and H.D. Yet also brought to greater attention are the little-known poems of Edwin Denby, Jonas Mekas and Walter Benjamin.

One of the most important functions of criticism, Maxwell argues, is to reveal the intellectual and aesthetic dimensions of the art experience. Her collections opening salvo, Push and Pull,was inspired by the teachings of the painter Hans Hofmann.   The tradition,as she writes, must constantly be re-viewed in relation to the shifting cultural objects which put it into meaningful perspective; social and political agendas are often hidden but can usually be uncovered, with poignance and insight, by the sincere critics persistent prodding.

Push and Pull: An Introduction


By Forms Confin’d
Daryl Hine’s Ovid’s Heroines
Western Humanities Review, Fall 1993

Sex and Violence
After Ovid, Hofmann, Lasdun, editors
David Slavitt’s The Metamorphoses of Ovid
Pequod,  Summer 1995

Friends of Aphrodite
Jim Powell’s Sappho: A Garland
Threepenny Review, Fall 1995

Two on Spec
Dzvinia Orlowsky’s A Handful of Bees, Agni,  Fall 1995
Jeredith Merrin’s Shift, Agni, Fall, 1997

The Wild Man and the Sophisticate
David Ferry’s Gilgamesh and Dwelling Places
Willis Barnstone’s The Poetics of Translation
Western Humanities Review, Spring 1996

The Comtessa de Dia
Translations from the Provençal with commentary
The American Voice, Summer 1996

Body and Soul
Robert Pinsky’s The Inferno of Dante
Pequod, Summer 1996

Reasons for Living Happily
Francis Ponge’s Selected Poems
translated by John Montague, C.K. Williams, et al.
American Letters and Commentary,  Fall 1996

Four Microreviews:
Jonas Mekas, There is No Ithaca, Boston Review, winter 1997
Richard Wilbur, The Catbird’s Song, Boston Review, summer 1998
Cees Nooteboom’s The Captain of the Butterflies, Boston Review, winter 1999
Gilbert Sorrentino, New and Selected Poems, Boston Review,  Fall 2005

A Mother’s Meter
On Literacy, Movement and Prosody
Bryn Mawr Alumnae Magazine, Winter 1999

Howard’s Project
(published as “Art and Artifice”)
Richard Howard’s Trappings
Raritan, Spring 2001

Merwin in Limbo
The Poet’s Dante, Peter S. Hawkins and Rachel Jacoff, editors
W.S. Merwin’s Purgatorio and The Song of Roland
Partisan Review, Summer 2002

Horace in English, D.S. Carne-Ross and Kenneth Haynes, editors
David Ferry’s The Odes of Horace
Sidney Alexander’s The Complete Odes and Satires of Horace
Literary Imagination, Fall 2002

Pound’s Sulpicia
H.D., the Roman poet Sulpicia and their presence in Pound’s Cantos
Arion, Fall 2002

Resistance and Collaboration
Pierre Klossowski’s Aeneide and The Women of Rome
Research done at the American Academy in Rome, 2002

Made Things
(published as “Janice Redman: Mystery and Process”)
Janice Redman’s sculpture
Provincetown Arts, 2003

A Lament for Loraux
Nicole Loraux’s The Mourning Voice and Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Elusive Embrace and Gender and The City in Euripides’ Political Plays
Arion, Winter 2004

Exhilaration and Derangement
Robert Pinsky’s Democracy and the Voice of Poetry, Jersey Rain, etc.
Literary Imagination, Spring 2004

Logue’s Homer
Christopher Logue’s War Music, etc.
Raritan, Summer 2004

The French Bard
Yves Bonnefoy’s translations of Shakespeare
Talk given at Columbia University’s Translation Seminar
Fall 2004

Sappho Academicienne
Marguerite Yourcenar and
The Recently Discovered Sappho, Literary Imagination, Winter 2006

H.D. and Cinema
(in part given as “A Toast to H.D.”)
MLA, Philadelphia
December 2006

Benjamin the Poet
Walter Benjamin’s Sonette and Gershom Scholem’s The Fullness of Time
Salmagundi, Winter 2007

Edwin Denby’s New York School
Edwin Denby’s Collected Poems, etc.
Yale Review, October 2007

Pound and the Confucian Circle at Saint Elizabeths
Presented at Ezra Pound Conference, Venice, Italy 2007

Serena Rothstein: Discourse in Paint
LongNookBooks, 2008

Pindar’s Daphnephorikon
Translating the voices of women written by a man
Vanitas, Fall 2009

Charles Bernstein’s All the Whiskey in Heaven
Provincetown Arts, 2010

Translating the Female Voice
Presentations at ALSCW Conferences 2011-2012 : “Translation as Performance” and “Sulpicia in Performance”; Talk at CUNY-Queens College MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation, 2013; “The Voice of Sulpicia and Others,” performance of Jessica Krash’s settings followed by discussion, Wellfleet Library, 2015

Questions and Comments from the Audience
Anne Carson’s Antigonick
Arion, Spring-Summer 2013

Robert Mezey and Jorge Luis Borges
Some Thoughts on Authority and Translation
The Longnook Overlook, 2014

The Race of Rachel Wetzsteon
The Longnook Overlook, 2014

Correspondences and Affinities
Baudelaire translations of Walter Benjamin and Richard Howard
Yale Review, July 2017

The Rabbit Hole
Nicholas Delbanco’s Curiouser and Curiouser: Essays
Provincetown Arts, 2018

A Poet Comes Back Home
Bryn Mawr Alumnae Magazine, Spring 2018

Three Online:

“Other Mothers’ Children”
Kate Daniels’s In the Months of My Son’s Recovery
Literary Matters, 2019

“English Without Borders”
Michael Schmidt’s Fifty Fifty
Literary Matters, 2020

“One Thousand Words about Harry Mathews”
Harry Mathews, Collected Poems
Best American Poetry Blog, 2021

Taste The Day
Harry Eyres’s Horace and Me: Life Lessons from an Ancient Poet
The Longnoook Overlook,
V2, 2023

Granpa in the Bughouse
A response to Daniel Swift’s The Bughouse
The Longnoook Overlook,
V2, 2023

Richard Howard: An Alternate Introduction
essay-review of RH ♥︎ HJ and Other American Writers 
The Longnoook Overlook,
V2, 2023

Three “On the Seawall”:

“A Hero Who Calls Himself Nobody”
Review of László Krasznahorkai’s Chasing Homer
February 15, 2022

“Island of the Self”
Review of Cees Nooteboom’s 533 Days and Leaving
May 17, 2022

“Shaman Translation”
Review of Phillip Terry’s The Lascaux Notebooks
September 6, 2022