The New York Times

Such a Pain

IN THESE ESSAYS, BODILY AILMENTS AND OTHER CONDITIONS OFFER INSIGHTS ABOUT WRITING, AND LIFE.

“Can You Tolerate This?: Essays”

By Ashleigh Young

248 pages. Riverhead Books. $26.

Many poets have in their oeuvres what they call an ars poetica to describe their philosophy of writing, inspired by a 2,000-year-old verse by Horace. But these formal apologia seem to give away the keys to the poetry kingdom — once we read them, we might come to believe that all poems are secretly about poetry. It is odd that we don’t have a word

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