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
1930–2017

(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 51, Volume 13 Number 1, September - October 1986.

Roman Cage-cups Les A. Murray

Excavate, at a constant curving interval
a layer of air between the inner and outer
skins of a glass beaker, leaving only odd struts integral;

at the same time, at the same ablative atom-
by-atom rate, sculpt the outer shell to an openwork
of rings, or foliage, or a muscular Elysium -

It made for calm paste and a steady file
that one false stroke, one twitch could cost a year's
     time,
a good billet, your concubine. Only the cups were held
     noble.

Plebs and immigrants fashioned them, punters
who ate tavern-fried pike and talked Vulgate.
The very first might have been made as a stunt, as

the life-gambit of a slave. Or a joke on the feasting
     scene:
a wine-bowl no one coarsely drunk could handle
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image