PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
Digital Access to PN Review
Access the latest issues, plus back issues of PN Review with Exact Editions For PN Review subscribers: to access the PN Review digital archive via the Exact Editions app Exactly or the Exact Editions website, you will first need to know your PN Review ID number. read more
PN Review Prize winners announced
Carcanet Press and PN Review are delighted to announce the winners of the first ever PN Review Prize. read more
Most Read... Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing
‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing

(PN Review 236)
Alejandro Fernandez-OsorioPomace (trans. James Womack)
(PN Review 236)
Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Kei MillerIn the Shadow of Derek Walcott
1930–2017

(PN Review 235)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Gratis Ad 1
Gratis Ad 2
Next Issue Peter Scupham at 85: a celebration Contributions by Anne Stevenson, Robert Wells, Peter Davidson, Lawrence Sail

This review is taken from PN Review 167, Volume 32 Number 3, January - February 2006.

TRAVEL AND RETURNS ALICE OSWALD, Woods etc. (Faber) £12.99
ANNA WIGLEY, Dürer's Hare (Gomer) £7.99
KATE RHODES, Reversal (Enitharmon) £7.95

Growing up between Maynooth and Monasterevin, on the banks of the Grand Canal fed by the prone to disappearing Pollardstown Fen, you couldn't really avoid Gerard Manley Hopkins, a once regular visitor to South Kildare whose presence is now formally enshrined in the town's annual Hopkins Festival. At fourteen, 'God's Grandeur', 'Felix Randall' and 'The Windhover' were standard school fare; a heady concoction of alliteration and awe that served the needs of both curriculum and Catholicism well. In the current climate, awe is 'bleared, smeared', but in Alice Oswald's long awaited new collection, recently nominated for the Forward Prize, an unembarrassed, effusive and surprisingly moving Hopkinesque awe reasserts itself. Throughout this formally eclectic sequence of short poems which retreats temporarily from the watery landscapes of Dart, Oswald thoughtfully traces symmetries between worlds, experiences, forms; the wonder of those presencings, 'a sudden entering elsewhere' ('Sonnet'), that confirm the 'something that is side by side with anyone' ('Mountains', The Thing in the Gap-Stone Stile). As with Hopkins, Oswaldian awe is attuned to the consolations of nature's formalities, congruities, the regularities 'wedged / between its premise and its conclusion' ('Field'). At the same time it registers dissonance, withdrawal, separation, absent presences; 'the distinct misgiving between alternate voices' ('Birdsong for Two Voices'), or the 'opponent selves hanging and fluttering/ out there in the taken for granted air' ('A Star Here and A Star There'), 'the leaves that aren't yet there' ('Wood Not Yet Out').

Oswald's ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image