Magazine December 31, 2018, Issue

‘Beauty from Horror’

John Montague (RTE Ireland via YouTube)
A Spell to Bless the Silence: Selected Poems, by John Montague (Wake Forest University Press, 272 pp., $19.95)

In the summer of 1954, 25-year-old John Montague bussed tables at an Indiana University restaurant. He’d spent the previous year on a Fulbright scholarship at Yale but “had no money left.” The Indiana heat was “a surprise to an Irish skin,” although Montague was in good company at the School of Letters: William Empson, R. P. Blackmur, and John Crowe Ransom — who recommended the young poet to Paul Engle at Iowa. That fall, Montague joined the Iowa Writers Workshop, where a visiting William Carlos Williams read one of his poems and said, “This is good, but it is not

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners




Readers weigh in on Allen C. Guelzo’s “The Great War’s Great Price” and Kevin D. Williamson’s “Pillars of Fire.”
The Week

The Week

The worst part about getting coal in your stocking isn’t the indignity; it’s the notice of violation from the EPA.
The Long View

Holiday Revisions

From “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” words and music by Frank Loesser, with revisions and amendments by the women’s-studies department at Bard College...


“Though slave to him I plan to kill, From here on in I mean to do the things I will...”


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