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Most Read... Geoffrey HillIl Cortegiano: F.T. Prince's Poems (1938)
(PN Review 147)
David Herdin Conversation with John Ashbery
(PN Review 99)
Dannie AbseThree Poems
(PN Review 198)
Henry Kingon Geoffrey Hill's Oraclau/Oracles
(PN Review 199)
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Welcome to PN Review, one of the outstanding literary magazines of our time. Keep up with the many worlds of poetry in this independent and always stimulating journal. For four decades PN Review has been a place to discover new poems in English and in translation as well as interviews, news, essays, reviews and reports from around the world. Subscribers can explore the complete, uniquely rich digital archive.

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Featured Poem
Jerusalem Poems James K. Baxter 1

I wait for an hour in the car at Parakino
While Father Te Awhitu catechises the children,

That gentle priest – these mild green hummocked hills
Are a herd of bulls, the toughs from Bashan

Waiting to tear me to pieces – dear John,
I have my old rucksack loaded with provisions

From Wanganui – bread, sardines, bread,
Biscuits, chocolate, even oysters – how can I be poor

When the gut rumbles after a day’s digging
On milk and watercress? So bitter an enemy
... read more
Dense Settling: Geoffrey Hill’s Broken Hierarchies
Marcus Waithe geoffrey hill, Broken Hierarchies: Poems 1952–2012, ed. by Kenneth Haynes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013)

At an Oxford poetry event in 2006, Geoffrey Hill dryly remarked that when Mercian Hymns (1971) was anthologised in an ‘American college magazine’, King Offa’s second appellation, ‘overlord of the M5’, was explained at the bottom of the page as ‘Head of the British Secret Service’ (CD recording, Clutag Press, 2006). Notwithstanding the audience’s relieved laughter, this anecdote had a serious side. For all its unwitting incongruity – indeed, because of it – the magazine’s comically false gloss perpetuates the poem’s confusion of mundane infrastructure with deeper wells of intelligence, and re-signals the proliferation of forms whereby a culture adverts to a taboo subject (deathless king or spymaster) without naming it directly. It prompts, too, the question of annotation: the appropriate bounds of our trust ... read more
The Last Mythopoet
Amanda Jernigan

Hear the voice of the Bard!
Want to know where I’ve been?
Under the frost-hard
Ground with Hell’s Queen,
Whom there I embraced
In the dark as she lay,
With worms defaced,
Her lips gnawed away
– What’s that? Well, maybe
Not everybody’s dame,
But a sharp baby
All the same.

This is ‘The Rymer’, by Jay Macpherson (1931–2012), perhaps Canada’s pre-eminent ‘mythopoet’. It is a poem that suggests that all poets are, to some extent, mythopoets: their haunts otherworldly; their companions, too.

Not everyone would agree. There are critics for whom mythopoetry is, if anything, a was: a short-lived literary movement that grew up here in Canada under the influence of the mythopoetic criticism of Northrop Frye, and died out when its chief practitioners – Macpherson and James ... read more
Selected from the Archive...
The North-West Passage Idris Parry
IT would be interesting to know how many of the benefits we enjoy from applied science are derived from accidental discovery. And how many of the great names of science are great because they found what they weren't looking for. Scientists are methodical, their business is definition, but they are not only concerned to define what is already known; their first aim is to know what we cannot yet define. This is discovery. The new is necessarily outside our schemes and must be found by inspired accident, if accident is that which we can't yet explain or connect. This is the thought behind Laurence Sterne's famous confession that he begins a book by writing the first sentence and trusting to Almighty God for the second. Such writing is a confident action into the unknown. There is a particular art ... read more
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