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
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... Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
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)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Kate BinghamPuddle
(PN Review 236)
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 review is taken from PN Review 221, Volume 41 Number 3, January - February 2015.

State of Exile marius kociejowski, God’s Zoo: Artists, Exiles, Londoners (Carcanet) £19.95

God’s Zoo is a substantial book of prose in which the Canadian-­born poet Marius Kociejowski gathers together stories told to him by a diverse group of artists, all of whom live in London but none of whom was born there. The theme is the state of exile, both literal and metaphorical. Illustrated by the same kind of small black and white photographs used by Sebald in The Emigrants, the atmosphere of the book is, however, very different to Sebald’s. This is partly due to its size, but mainly to Kociejowski’s decision to have each speaker tell their tale in their own time and voice, rather than though his. God’s Zoo contains powerful, highly personal descriptions of war and oppression; specific memories which are evocative, memorable and moving. It also provides a revealing view of England as outsiders see it: a place of safety and freedom, but also a place in which it’s hard to integrate: ‘I do not live among English people,’ says Iraqi poet and painter Fawzi Karim. ‘I do not have English friends.’

The book opens with an introduction, in which Kociejowski explains his provocative title. ‘God’s zoo’, he says, was a phrase he read and liked in Paul Tabori’s The Anatomy of Exile. Aware that some might find it offensive, but unable to find one that he liked better, he decided to go ahead and use it, with the support of those featured in the book. ‘Surely what it meant was that as creatures are to men, so are we to ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image