PN Review Online Poetry Literary Magazine
Most Read... Peter Rileyon Ted Berrigan
(PN Review 169)
David Herdin Conversation with John Ashbery
(PN Review 99)
Henry Kingon Geoffrey Hill's Oraclau/Oracles
(PN Review 199)
Dannie Abse'In Highgate Woods' and Other Poems
(PN Review 209)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Next Issue Gregory O’Brien In defence of poetry as an offshore island and art as an undersea mammal or coral reef John Ashbery The Heavy Bear: Delmore Schwartz’s Life Versus his Poetry (1995) Mary Maxwell The Way Grass Grows: Janice Biala, Ford, and Pound’s Pisan Cantos Yves Bonnefoy The Tombs of Ravenna David Hoak Proofs of Love: the last letters of Lota de Macedo Soares to Elizabeth Bishop

This article is taken from PN Review 14, Volume 6 Number 6, July - August 1980.

Cliff Ashby

I first came across David Wright in the small print of the Sunday Times. Cyril Connolly, reviewing the magazine X, said that it was "the only magazine then extant that gave space to unknown writers". This would be sometime at the beginning of 1961, and I had been writing poetry for two years or more for a large fistful of editors' regrets. I thought it a good plan to send something to David, as a rejection slip from him would give me a full set, and then I could give up the silly business and become a reasonable man again.

David replied-much to my surprise. He didn't like the poems-I had sent him overmuch but would I submit some more? This I did and had poems in the last two issues of X. Was there ever such a beautifully produced magazine, or one that felt so right in the hands? What was more important to me was the correspondence, sporadic from time to time, that has lasted for-is it really 19 years? I don't know of a better letter-writer than David, witty and so often wise, a rare combination. His description of how they had to extract a piece by Genet out of the last issue of X was quite hilarious. In the true spirit of small magazines, they had forgotten to ask the agent, a female, for permission to print and the issue literally came unstuck! But it wasn't only being published in X that was ...
Searching, please wait... animated waiting image