PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
The PN Review Prize 2017 - Coming Soon
ENGLISH PEN: time to join!
English PEN relies on the support of its members and subscribers. read more
Most Read... Daniel Kaneon 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)
Sasha DugdaleJoy
(PN Review 227)
Matías Serra Bradfordinterviews Roger Langley The Long Question of Poetry: A Quiz for R.F. Langley
(PN Review 199)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Gratis Ad 1
Gratis Ad 2
Next Issue Celebrating Tom Raworth: a feature supplement Jane Draycott's Michaux Mimi Khalvati's Sonnets Andrew Latimer talks to Alex Wong, anti-ironist John Clegg's gives us a six

This article is taken from PN Review 232, Volume 43 Number 2, November - December 2016.

The Book That Ate Itself: Travels in Surrealist New Zealand & Some Remarks on Surrealist Poetry in Britain Gregory O'Brien
THE DROWNED PAGES, 1985
Rowing an aluminium dinghy out onto Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour, I was heading for Brown’s Island, a.k.a Motukorea – a whale-shaped volcano, two kilometres offshore. Stashed atop a bundle of provisions near the prow was a recently acquired copy of the 1978 Penguin anthology English and American Surrealist Poetry, edited by Edward B. Germain – my designated reading for the day’s outing. Mid-voyage, the wake of a passing ferry struck the dinghy and, along with a few other items, the Penguin went hurtling into the choppy harbour. After some flapping about, I managed to recover the book on the end of one wooden oar and deposited it back inside the dinghy. There it remained for the rest of the day, a drowned creature, bulging grotesquely with salt water. I considered abandoning it, but the wretched anthology had cost me three dollars (a princely sum at the time) so I committed to its salvage and, as far as it might go, restoration.

Back home, I put the book on top of the refrigerator, only to discover, after a few days, that the mass of weeping paper-pulp had stuck to the enamel surface; I had to tear the back cover to free it. From then on, the anthology remained open, pages facing downwards, in a dish on top of the fridge. The paper, I soon discovered, had become permanently puckered and stained a dark brown. I suspected the book might be rotting, but pressed on regardless. Within a few days, as the drying progressed, I noticed small tunnel-like holes appearing in the pages. In a manner that ...
Searching, please wait... animated waiting image