PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
The PN Review Prize 2017 - Now Open!
ENGLISH PEN: time to join!
English PEN relies on the support of its members and subscribers. read more
Most Read... 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)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing
‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing

(PN Review 236)
Daniel Kaneon Ted Berrigan
(PN Review 169)
David Herdin Conversation with John Ashbery
(PN Review 99)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Gratis Ad 1
Gratis Ad 2
Next Issue Meet Michael Edwards at the Brasserie Lipp David Herman reads Milosz's life Sumita Chakraborty's five poems Judith Wilson's encounter with Giovanni Pascoli Simon Armitage revives Branwell Bronte

This review is taken from PN Review 17, Volume 7 Number 3, January - February 1981.

Anna Adams A Reply to Intercepted Mail, (Harry Chambers/Peterloo Poets) £1.35

I do not like Auden's 'Letter to Lord Byron', without being quite sure why. Auden is too clever to be caught out; if you accuse him of snobbery, you find him despising snobs; of being partial and slanted - he says he's going to be, early on; of writing in a flat, knowing tone - he's doing it on purpose as a joke; and so on. I've no doubt I'm missing something, but more interesting than what I'm missing is what Anna Adams has found in the same poem: a spur to write her own letter to Auden, in the same stanza, and on much the same subject - being a poet in the time she is living in. (Perhaps this is the start of a chaim similar to the chain of tombeaux written by one composer in memory of another: Ravel wrote one for Couperin, Arthur Benjamin for Ravel, and Derek Bourgeois for Arthur Benjamin. She seized on his form with gusto, because:


                      Dissatisfied
with most that I have written to this day,
I have been looking for a form inside
which I can pack all that I have to say
unfiltered. I have thrown too much away
as unpoetic - fit for conversation
and letters, not poetic celebration.


Her idea of what was 'poetic' had been 'Epiphanies/before grass-blades or sunshafts. . .all/clear demonstration of mysterious law/incarnate in material'; on trying to turn 'a ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image