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 report is taken from PN Review 211, Volume 39 Number 5, May - June 2013.

Putting Poets in Museums Vahni Capildeo
Inside the museum, a man stands next to a glass case. The usual museum atmosphere of anaerobically respiring darkness experiences a breakage. Light flashes as the man, who is a poet, turns his head. He gestures. More heads turn. The spill of gold coins, arranged inside the case, suddenly appears both hidden and found; like itself, like surprise, like profusion. A poem is spoken.

I feel uncomfortable; not because objects need no words, or words live without objects. Perhaps because museums can have a shushing effect on people; couples cling, families cluster, individuals file. Perhaps it seems like effrontery to say anything in return, or as a departure, because we are told what we are looking at by the catalogue, audio guide, tour guide, and we are also told off by a room invigilator if we come up too close to look. Perhaps it is that the poet, Paul Surman, is speaking about the hands which handled those bits of metal, and his words are making our own fingers feel chill or anarchic, craving contact, hyperaware of our prohibitive ability to connect; with every personal reaction to an object, every private imagination sparked by a word, we are alone in a series of enriching infidelities to the differently alone people with whom we share overseen space.

Outside the museum, the troubling surge in Victoriana continues. People who insist that they are real women latch themselves into corsets and scratch at the streets they fear at night. Those ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image