PN Review Literary Magazine
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)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Next Issue Rowan Williams's Sermon on the Death of Geoffrey Hill Jeffrey Wainwright and Ruskin teach us to draw Mark Thompson contemplates Empson's Buddha Vahni Capildeo pauses Joey Connolly asks 'Why?
Welcome to PN Review, one of the outstanding literary magazines of our time.
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Featured Article Picture of James Keery
‘One from the Groves of Academe, the Other from Bohemia’s Seacoast’ James Keery IN A LATE poem, ‘For Donald Davie’ (Poems and Versions, 1992), David Wright recalls his first encounter with a respected adversary, ‘One from the groves of Academe / The other from Bohemia’s seacoast’. A friendly riposte, with a glance at The Winter’s Tale, to Davie’s outspoken contempt for ‘all the values of Bohemia’; at the same time, Wright gives to ‘airy nothing’, a pastoral figment of Shakespeare’s imagination (or wit), ‘a local habitation and a name’. There was no ‘seacoast of Bohemia’, a landlocked kingdom within the Holy Roman Empire, though Ben Jonson’s delight in the blunder may be unjust to an ingeniously outlandish play. There was, however, a seacoast of Soho. The ‘London Bohemia’, to which, according to Davie, the Movement was ‘an angry reaction’, had annexed a coastal province during the war. ‘West Penwith’, the title of Wright’s elegy for the painter Kit Barker, was, until 1974, the Rural District ... read more
Seven Poems
Les Murray Exile

Balz dead, and war over
emigration is the plan
though Berta abhors it.

Hearing of it, her true father
summons her man –
What profession are you in, sir?

Schweizer Brauch. Swiss custom,
and you? Astrology –
I shun this murder-continent.


She will never forgive me
... read more
Concatenating
Pearl
Simon Armitage
Faber & Faber
£14.99
THE FOURTEENTH-CENTURY dream-vision known as Pearl, described by Ian Bishop in his Pearl in its Setting as ‘the most highly wrought and intricately constructed poem in Middle English’, is a moving, allegorical elegy for a lost infant girl. The poem is brilliant both in its ornate formality and in the charged feeling across its lexical patterning as the eddying imagery of longing and loss rises and swirls through its 1212 tightly-stitched lines – a simultaneity of effect that Simon Armitage captures with striking subtlety in his new translation. Acutely alert to the tone and craft of the original, Armitage illuminates for modern readers the complex echoing ways in which the poem’s rhyming, chaining, alliterative tail-in-the-mouth narration attempts to contain and nail the terrible circularity and preciousness of grief:


To think of her colour, now clad in clods…
oh black soil, ... read more
Also in the magazine... Vahni CapildeoAmis De Voyage Andrew HadfieldBrexitSpeare Nicolas TredellJonathan Culler Tara BerginAlice Oswald Andrew LatimerLittle Island Neil PowellA Good European
Selected from the Archive...
A Lyric Voice at Bay Eavan Boland
Critics work in a text. Biographers work in the foreground and the background. And the critic's work is made much harder when the background has been overwritten by events, interpretations and frank and forgetful prejudice. At that point the critic has to do some double-jobbing in order to rescue the text from the biographical background and the reader's resistance.

Albert Gelpi has set himself a hard task.1 Cecil Day Lewis, at least at first glance, is a decidedly awkward subject. Before reading this book I would have said Day Lewis was a refugee from the 1930s: and Anglo-Irish Georgian, who admired Tom Moore and consorted with Auden. A gentlemanly Communist. A hopelessly lyric inhabitant of a hard-driving decade. A poet who didn't so much lose his identity as have it handed to him in fragments: national, poetic, ... read more
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