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Launched as Poetry Nation, a twice-yearly hardback, in 1973, PN Review in A4 paperback format began quarterly publication in 1976 and has appeared six times a year since PN Review 21 in 1981.
Each issue includes an editorial, letters, news and notes, articles, interviews, features, poems, translations, and a substantial book review section.
Poetry Nation was founded by Michael Schmidt and Professor Brian Cox at the Victoria University of Manchester. Cox and Schmidt were joined on the editorial board by Professor Donald Davie and C.H. Sisson. The magazine has been under the General Editorship of Michael Schmidt since his colleagues retired some decades ago.
Through all its twists and turns, responding to social, technological and cultural change, PN Review has stayed the course. While writers of moment, poets and critics, essayists and memoirists, and of course readers, keep finding their way to the glass house, and people keep throwing stones, it will have a place.
'It has [...] attempted to take poetry out of the backwaters of intellectual life and to find in it again the crucial index of cultural health. In so doing it has often succeeded in broadening the horizons of our view of twentieth-century poetry and in encouraging poets to be ambitious about their concerns.' Cairns Craig Times Literary Supplement
What other editors have said:
'...probably the most informative and entertaining poetry journal in the English-speaking world.' John Ashbery, Executive Editor, Art News
'The most important journal concerned with poetry, [it] is gaining its proper recognition, surrounding its admirably intellectual criticism with an even richer spread of actual poems.' Marilyn Butler, Editorial Board, Women: a cultural review
'... the cleverest of the current poetry magazines' Ian Hamilton, editor of the review and The New Review
'...worthy of careful reading and digestion, [...] with new poetry, translations, interviews and critical essays. A little daunting for the common reader, perhaps, but there are serious and intelligent minds behind it.' John Lehmann, editor of the London Magazine and Penguin New Writing 1946-1950
'Your magazine is excellent.' Octavio Paz, editor of Plural and Vuelta
‘…the premier British poetry journal. Its coverage is broad and generous: from John Ashbery to new young English poets, from essays on Continental poetics and fiction to reviews of neglected poets both living and dead. At a time when poetry is largely neglected, [it] continues to make an eloquent case for its centrality to our culture.' Marjorie Perloff, Advisory Editor, American Poetry Review, Contemporary Literature, Oxford Poetry Review, Paideuma, Sulfur; Editorial Board, Modern Language Quarterly, Modernism/Modernity
'It would be fine to have a cultural revival based on Manchester instead of Oxbridge...' Edgell Rickword, editor Calendar of Modern Letters, Left Review, Scrutinies, Our Time
'...high-toned but bracing' Boyd Tonkin, Books Editor, Independent
‘...its elevated stroppiness of tone and a sense of breaking new ground that I haven't come across for some time' W.L. Webb, literary editor, Guardian