NewPages (April 15, 2013)
Review of The Manhattan Review, 15.2, Fall/Winter 2012-13
The history of millions in one cold breath, one empty train station, one terrifying silence. This issue of The Manhattan Review plants us in the aftermath of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and then attacks it mercilessly from the individual, not the statistical. Those who lived to deal with the silence, to inhabit neighborhoods forever changed, move on.
Featured poet Wladyslaw Szlengel calls these deeply personal poems “poem-documents.” His direct, honest writing slips in and out of verse and prose, but is always chilling and personal. “The Little Railway Station at Treblinka,” shows a man haunted by silence, in a world that has been permanently and senselessly shifted. “It is Time,” starts at a cosmic silence and narrows to the inside of a gas chamber made even more claustrophobic by the persistent second person:
They will drag You and cast You into a hideous pit,
They will tear away Your stars—the gold teeth in Your jaw—
Then burn You.
And You will be ash
Extremely personal and beautifully translated from the Polish by John and Bogdana Carpenter, this poem will pull you into its world. . . . This issues beacon is its dazzling poetry from the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. I urge anyone interested in this moment in history to read this issue of The Manhattan Review. It’s a haunting, engrossing read.
Newpages.com (October 19, 2005)
Review of Redgrove Issue, 11.2, Winter/Spring 2005, Edited by Denise Hill
A good publication to consult for fine contemporary poetry, The Manhattan Review here offers a special double issue for the 2005 Winter/Spring volume. It caused me some admiring surprise to deduce that The Manhattan Review is, so far as I can tell, unaffiliated with any university, because the non-poetry contents featured in this issue flex a peculiar intellectual muscularity—which is not to say they come off as collegiate or stuffy; they consist entirely of material devoted to the life and work of the late British poet Peter Redgrove, and are shot through with delightful and discursive smartness. In a fascinating lengthy interview with Manhattan Review editor Philip Fried (conducted in 1982), Redgrove’s discussion meanders brilliantly through Jung and Freud, Plath and Hughes, Joseph Campbell, Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Boris Karloff, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Lewis Carroll, Robert Lowell, and beyond. Among the banquet of poetry by some 23 poets in this issue are a great number of moving and memorable passages that alone recommend The Manhattan Review as being worthy of constant and considered perusal. This from Polly Clark’s unique and affecting love poem, hinging on a wonderfully unlikely metaphor, “You Are My America”: “I land exhausted, with only / a suitcase, broken open, / and at your feet I begin / my book of declarations / that will be our history, / that will make us brand new people.” —Mark Cunningham
The Small Magazine Review (Vol. 33, Nos. 1 2; January February, 2001)
The Manhattan Review not only boasts of its twentieth anniversary, but the poems prove that such a magazine is necessary. Philip Fried should be proud of his magazine's longevity as well as its quality. Patricia Goedicke's poem "The Key" was my favorite for the subtle sounds supporting her subject matter. . . . The Manhattan Review is deep with this type of quality poetry.
The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Literature
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1994)
[Peter Redgrove entry] . . . there is an extended interview with Philip Fried in The Manhattan Review 3:1 (New York, Summer 1983).
New Magazine Review (January, 1981)
Whether it be interview or poem, The Manhattan Review does a fine job of choosing work whose energy and meaning are readily comprehended by readers, juxtaposing strong translations with poetry written by those whose roots lie buried in American soil.
Multicultural Review (Vol. 2, No. 3)
"Poetry is an international endeavor" claims an editorial in the independent Manhattan Review, and its emphasis on translations makes this review a leading force in the effort to increase multicultural awareness in the world of poetry. Long known for publishing translations of Eastern European poets, recent issues have continued the tradition with work from the Polish and the Finnish. The Fall 1991 issue contains translations of the Chinese poets Bei Dao and Duoduo who are prominent exiles. Other noteworthy contemporary poets publishing in English are included, such as Christopher Bursk, Peter Redgrove, and Rosemary Klein. A variety of styles can be found in the journal's pages, and the majority of poems are complex and avant-garde, detailing complex and resonant emotions and levels of thought. . . . This all-poetry journal has established itself as a consistent vehicle for communicating international voices.
Theodore Weiss (1990)
It was very good of you to think to send a copy of your attractive 10th anniversary issue. With Redgrove, Ammons, Bursk and the Eastern European poets and the rest it is a worthy, bumper crop, a capstone to ten lively, valuable years of publishing. As someone in the business 45 years plus, I say here's to your next ten and twenty. You know how relevant your [Zbigniew] Herbert [issue] was to me.
Poet's Market (1990)
Close-up: Philip Fried, Editor, The Manhattan Review by Judson Jerome
. . . Phil was a student of mine at Antioch in the early 60s, and I knew he was a promising poet. Since then he has been very successful both with his poetry and with The Manhattan Review, which he began publishing when he found himself "living that improbable and wholly unforeseen Life After Graduate School." . . . It was a cold world. So I founded a magazine." . . .
He admires poets who are not afraid to be eloquent. He says, "We Americans tend to have that fear; perhaps it is a Puritanical streak. Many poets in America today seem to talk in a cautious mid-mumble. We distrust words and don't want to see them take the place of things. Paradoxically, our great poetic ur-father, Whitman, who claimed to be giving off a barbaric yawp, was really creating a highly sophisticated linguistic weave: 'I effuse my flesh in eddies and drift it in lacy jags.' Nobody is more adept at clothing the rough edge of Anglo-Saxon in fancy Latin lace!"
Phil is excited by what he calls "boundary crossing." He has found that in poets he has interviewed, such as the young Pole Stanislaw Baranczak and the British poet Peter Redgrove, both of whom had been (like Phil) science students. "I think poets should be poachers," he says. "They should trespass on other fields and steal everything that isn't nailed down. I have the greatest respect for technical proficiency and knowledge of literature, but poets need subject matter as well. They can't forever be talking about their aches and pains in perfect pentameter or graceful free verse."
Askold Melnyczuk, editor of Agni (1983)
Adventurous and quick to get to the new.
Library Journal (November 1, 1982)
Small Press Review (August, 1982)
[A] magazine of serious and ambitious intent. I think it's successful.
Beloit Poetry Journal (Spring, 1982)
There is an excellent interview with Ammons by Philip Fried in the Fall 1980 issue of The Manhattan Review.
Hugh Kenner (1980)
The Ammons interview is excellent.