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: 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
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing ‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing
(PN Review 236)
Alejandro Fernandez-OsorioPomace (trans. James Womack)
(PN Review 236)
Kei MillerIn the Shadow of Derek Walcott 1930–2017
(PN Review 235)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Oxford University Press
Gratis Ad 1
Next Issue Kei Miller on poetry and volume control Parwana Fayyaz's Afghan poems Gabriel Josipovici bids farewell to Aharon Appelfeld Craig Raine plants a flag A.R. Ammons from two angles

This report is taken from PN Review 186, Volume 35 Number 4, March - April 2009.

Then and Only Then Frank Kuppner

My mother, as I remember, had a trio of party-piece recitals at her command. One was to sing Schubert’s Erl King (she was a fine natural contralto and had taken lessons in her youth) - which, alas, I very much disliked. (A mere translation, of course; but who was any the better off for a useless story like that?) The second was to deliver bleeding (or, indeed, bloodless) chunks of The Ancient Mariner - which, alas, I disliked even more. (Excuse me, Loon. I have an important social engagement to get to, know what I mean?) And the third was, to declaim passages from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (Fitzgerald version, 1st Edition, as I discovered later) - which, for some immediate reason, I loved right from the start. Soon enough, I bought a small illustrated copy of Omar for her at Christmas (the book wasn’t in the house - oddly few books were) and I duly read through it myself more than once, which I fear may have been the main idea behind the gift all along.

I dare say, for such is the way of these brief adolescent bouts of improving application, that I must have studied the earlier verses rather more frequently than I did the later ones. But it was fairly surprising under the circumstances that one studied any poetry at all. Even so, this was clearly the real thing; love at first sight. (I only wish it still meant quite as much ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image