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: to 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
Gratis Ad 1
Gratis Ad 2
Next Issue Peter Scupham at 85: a celebration Contributions by Anne Stevenson, Robert Wells, Peter Davidson, Lawrence Sail

This poem is taken from PN Review 195, Volume 37 Number 1, September - October 2010.

Literary Lives R.K.R. Thornton

Ernest Dowson

Of the ways of writing a poem, one way is
Where the sound’s what you fashion the sense with; another
Where you try for a mood, not seeking out harmonies.
And they don’t come together so often, these ways,
Except as how sometimes the sea’s crash is music;
Or the motion expressed in some music’s a mood.

That’s where Dowson comes in. That’s his mood;
And critics go jaunting along: ‘No variety;
He only says one thing: he’s in love and wants peace,
But she won’t; so he yearns, grows sad, world-weary.’
But they see the words circling and ignore their hearing.
Listen. Oh, but there’s music in Dowson.

Say what you will, there’s more than just Cynara
Stuck like a cherry on top of the Nineties,
More than just dabbling in Verlaine and Pater,
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image