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Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
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Next Issue Gwyneth Lewis ‘Spiderings’ Ian Thomson ‘Fires were started: Tallinn, 1944’ Adrian May ‘Traditionalism and Tradition’ Judith Herzberg ‘Poems’ translated by Margitt Helbert Horatio Morpurgo ‘What is a Book?’
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About Us

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During 2023 PN Review is celebrating its jubilee. Since we started as Poetry Nation, a twice-yearly hardback, in 1973, we've been publishing new poetry, rediscoveries, commentary, literary essays, interviews and reviews from around the globe.

Our vast archive now includes over 270 issues, with contributions from some of the most important writers of our times. Key contributors include Octavio Paz, Laura Riding, John Ashbery, Patricia Beer, W.S. Graham, Eavan Boland, Jorie Graham, Donald Davie, C.H. Sisson, Sinead Morrissey, Sasha Dugdale, Anthony Vahni Capildeo, and many others.

We'll be celebrating our 50th birthday with events in Manchester this autumn. Join us at the Portico Library on 4 October and at the John Rylands Library on 19 October. Scroll down for full details and booking information.

The Poetry Archive Special Collection
In honour of reaching this milestone in poetry magazine publishing, we've put together a special collection at The Poetry Archive. Gathering fifty poems from contributors, it includes a number of poems that first appeared in the magazine, from John Ashbery's 'What is Poetry' from PN Review 4 in 1978 and Denise Riley's 'Dark Looks' from issue 100 in 1994 to Marilyn Hacker's 'Elegy for a Soldier' on the death of June Jordan, which appeared in PNR 147 in 2002 and Andrew Wynn Owen's 'A Sign at CERN' from PNR 229 in 2016. As ever we include voices from around the world and across the generations. Explore the collection here.

Anniversary Issue
Issue 271 includes PNR at 50: 'An Anniversary Supplement' with artwork from Antony Gormley and Mary Griffiths; poetry from Gillian Clarke, Tara Bergin, Sheri Benning; wonderful anecdotes from Anthony Vahni Capildeo, Dan Burt, Rebecca Watts, Philip Terry, Jeffrey Wainwright, and Carol Rumens; tributes from Lorna Goodison and Bill Manhire; and an AI generated conversation between William Empson and Robert Graves! Sujata Bhatt's poem from the issue, 'Der Kleiber: Eurasian Nuthatch', was recently a Guardian Poem of the Week!

Subscribe to the magazine to receive six issues per year and full access to the archive or buy the current issue without a subscription here.

You can also sign up to our free newsletter to get choice morsels of archive straight to your inbox.

Events Schedule

Wednesday 4 Oct 2023, 18:00 to 19:30
PNR at 50: Display Launch Party

Join us to raise a glass at PN Review’s fiftieth birthday party for an evening packed full of poetry and the chance to peruse gems from the magazine’s archive. Tickets are free and refreshments will be provided. Book your free place here.

For five decades the Manchester-based magazine PN Review has brought poetry to the attention of readers from across the globe. To celebrate its fiftieth anniversary this pop-up display will tell history using material from its archive curated by its first archivist, Stella Halkyard. The display will remain in-situ until the end of the year. Details are here.

Thursday 19 Oct 2023, 19:00 to 21:00
PNR at 50: Anthony Vahni Capildeo, Sasha Dugdale & Will Harris

Join us for the annual John Rylands Poetry Reading with Manchester Literature Festival to celebrate PN Review's 50th anniversary! Contributing editors Anthony Ezekiel (Vahni) Capildeo, Sasha Dugdale and Will Harris will be sharing their own poems alongside some of their favourite discoveries from PN Review.

The event will be held at John Rylands Library in Manchester on Thursday 19th October. There is a drinks reception from 6pm, with the event starting at 7pm. Tickets are free but advance booking is required - book your tickets here.

Thursday 19 Oct 2023, 16:00 to 18:00

Wokshop: The Sound of Poetry with Will Harris

Join Will Harris for a communal poetry workshop where you will play with - and stretch - the links between objects, words and sounds; share stories, listen closely to things, and stay as close as possible to the non-sense within. Full information and booking details here.

Friday 20 Oct 2023, 10:00 to 12:00
Workshop: Like and Unlike - Putting Poems into Conversation with Anthony Vahni Capildeo

Join Anthony Ezekiel (Vahni) Capildeo and John McAuliffe for a hands-on workshop exploring the role of poet as editor. How do our personal responses to individual pieces affect the gatherings we make? Is the resonance of the gathering more than the hum of its parts? How to balance responding and inviting? What matters most to you as reader or writer? Is that the same as what matters to you as editor or selector? Participants will propose and begin to create an imaginary anthology or magazine. Full information and booking details here.

Thursday 23 Nov & Wednesday 13 Dec 2023, 17:30 to 19:00
Workshops: PNR at 50: Writing Like an Editor

How can thinking about the editorial process make us better poets? What questions do magazine editors ask of poems before sending feedback to their authors? Join PN Review editors Michael Schmidt and John McAuliffe for these practical workshops exploring the processes of reading and revising as editors. Participants will work on a published poem from the magazine's archive as well as a poem-in-progress of their own. 

Book for Thursday 23 November here.

Book for Wednesday 13 December here
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Launched as Poetry Nation, a twice-yearly hardback, in 1973, PN Review in A4 paperback format began quarterly publication in 1976 and has appeared six times a year since PN Review 21 in 1981.

Each issue includes an editorial, letters, news and notes, articles, interviews, features, poems, translations, and a substantial book review section.

Poetry Nation was founded by Michael Schmidt and Professor Brian Cox at the Victoria University of Manchester. Cox and Schmidt were joined on the editorial board by Professor Donald Davie and C.H. Sisson. The magazine has been under the General Editorship of Michael Schmidt since his colleagues retired some decades ago. He has been joined by Professor John McAuliffe, and by Andrew Latimer as Contributing Editor. The magazine has also welcomed three contributing editors, Anthony Ezekiel Vahni Capildeo, Sasha Dugdale and Will Harris.

'A book can absorb a reader into a world of its own as if it were the one and only. A magazine like PN Review, on the other hand, refracts many aspects of our manifold being in a shared world. I love seeing difference, even creative disagreement, between one set of covers.' Anthony Ezekiel Vahni Capildeo

'I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity provided by PN Review to help give a platform to writers from diverse backgrounds thinking about - and testing the limits of - what poetry can do today.' Will Harris

'PN Review is consistently varied, thoughtful, provocative and unpredictable in its stance. The best magazines introduce voices and shape a literary culture and PN Review has always done this adeptly and with generosity.' Sasha Dugdale

Through all its twists and turns, responding to social, technological and cultural change, PN Review has stayed the course. While writers of moment, poets and critics, essayists and memoirists, and of course readers, keep finding their way to the glass house, and people keep throwing stones, it will have a place.

'It has [...] attempted to take poetry out of the backwaters of intellectual life and to find in it again the crucial index of cultural health. In so doing it has often succeeded in broadening the horizons of our view of twentieth-century poetry and in encouraging poets to be ambitious about their concerns.' Cairns Craig Times Literary Supplement

Praise for PN Review:

'The most engaged, challenging and serious-minded of all the UK’s poetry magazines.' Simon Armitage

'If one of the defining characteristics of most magazines is that, like most bands, they have a short shelf life, then PN Review is immediately uncharacteristic. It's been going so long that many of us have all but forgotten what the P and the N stand for. I think of them as opening and closing the word Provocation. And that's why I so love the magazine.' Paul Muldoon

'...probably the most informative and entertaining poetry journal in the English-speaking world.' John Ashbery, Executive Editor, Art News

'The most important journal concerned with poetry, [it] is gaining its proper recognition, surrounding its admirably intellectual criticism with an even richer spread of actual poems.' Marilyn Butler, Editorial Board, Women: a cultural review

'... the cleverest of the current poetry magazines' Ian Hamilton, editor of the review and The New Review

'...worthy of careful reading and digestion, [...] with new poetry, translations, interviews and critical essays. A little daunting for the common reader, perhaps, but there are serious and intelligent minds behind it.' John Lehmann, editor of the London Magazine and Penguin New Writing 1946-1950

'Your magazine is excellent.' Octavio Paz, editor of Plural and Vuelta

‘…the premier British poetry journal. Its coverage is broad and generous: from John Ashbery to new young English poets, from essays on Continental poetics and fiction to reviews of neglected poets both living and dead. At a time when poetry is largely neglected, [it] continues to make an eloquent case for its centrality to our culture.' Marjorie Perloff, Advisory Editor, American Poetry Review, Contemporary Literature, Oxford Poetry Review, Paideuma, Sulfur; Editorial Board, Modern Language Quarterly, Modernism/Modernity

'It would be fine to have a cultural revival based on Manchester instead of Oxbridge...' Edgell Rickword, editor Calendar of Modern Letters, Left Review, Scrutinies, Our Time

'...high-toned but bracing' Boyd Tonkin, Books Editor, Independent

‘...its elevated stroppiness of tone and a sense of breaking new ground that I haven't come across for some time' W.L. Webb, literary editor, Guardian
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