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

(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 interview is taken from PN Review 233, Volume 43 Number 3, January - February 2017.

in conversation Alan Hollinghurst
Alan Hollinghursrt: I was noticing some numerical coincidences. The first poems in your first book (Fairground Music, 1961) you wrote when you were seventeen in 1954, the year I was born. Then I met you when I was seventeen and became your pupil the following year and began to write under your encouragement. I think it was the time of Cannibals and Missionaries (1972). So your work has been a constant part of my adult life…

John Fuller: Golly, you are making me scour my memory.

A.H.  I’m going to do a lot of that. You are now publishing, to mark your eightieth birthday, a poem which is a sort of homage to Auden’s Letter to Lord Byron which he published in 1937 when you were born and he was thirty. So you’re publishing yours at an age exactly fifty years greater than that at which Auden published his.

J.F.  Yes, The Bone Flowers. It’s a homage to Byron himself, really, in ottava rima. Auden only managed
rhyme royal, one line less. But Alan, I’d no idea you were such a brazen numerologist…

A.H.  I don’t know what significance there is in these numbers but it made me want to ask you things I have never asked you before. What is your first memory of Auden or your first experience of him?

J.F.  I remember reading The Orators at school and being so struck by its utter incomprehensibility and busyness that I wanted to imitate it at a time when I’d perhaps only been writing pseudo-Georgian poems.

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image