PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
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... Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing
‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing

(PN Review 236)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Alejandro Fernandez-OsorioPomace (trans. James Womack)
(PN Review 236)
Kei MillerIn the Shadow of Derek Walcott

(PN Review 235)
Kate BinghamPuddle
(PN Review 236)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Gratis Ad 1
Gratis Ad 2
Next Issue CELEBRATING JOHN ASHBERY Contributors include Mark Ford, Marina Warner, Jeremy Over, Theophilus Kwek, Sam Riviere, Luke Kennard, Philip Terry,Agnes Lehoczky, Emily Critchley, Oli Hazard and others Miles Champion The Gold Standard Rebecca Watts The Cult of the Noble Amateur Marina Tsvetaeva ‘My desire has the features of a woman’: Two Letters translated by Christopher Whyte Iain Bamforth Black and White

This poem is taken from PN Review 60, Volume 14 Number 4, March - April 1988.

Four Poems Iain Crichton Smith

The Aesthetic and the Ethical

Slowly we are adopted by the words . . . slowly we
  are other.
We are the aesthetic critics, not the ethical.
The play is a playful event.

Even agony becomes beautiful.
Even the broken heads are questionable.
Even the dictator's talent is in doubt.

No sounds from the street reach this theatre.
The torturer is a genius or he is not.
The drapery on the coffin a lovely red.

The actor walks out into a cold street.
Someone arrests him . . . someone tortures him.
His scream is no longer an actor's scream,

and yet the one from the theatre sounds like it.
The two screams meet where no one has a name.

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image