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: 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
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Gratis Ad 1
Monthly Carcanet Books
Next Issue Thomas Kinsella in conversation Jeffrey Wainwright comes to grips with St Chad Hsien Min Toh gives us a Korean perspective Iain Bamforth on Lou and Fritz: Sensible Shoes meets Starstruck Judith Bishop on Love and Self-Understanding in an Algorythmic Age

This article is taken from PN Review 240, Volume 44 Number 4, March - April 2018.

Five Portraits of Peter Neil Powell

The covering note, dated 2 May 1970, was written in a tiny Cantabrigian script and formal to the point of irony. ‘Dear Sir,’ it began, ‘I enclose a handful of poems for your consideration and the means to return them if you do not care for them.’ Then there was a verblessly modest second paragraph: ‘Introductory: poems in several magazines, Listener, TLS, Priapus, Outposts, PEN New Poems etc. A collection shortly appearing in Phoenix Pamphlet Poets. Yours sincerely, Peter Scupham.’ He listed the titles of that ‘handful’: ‘For Roger’, ‘Model’, ‘Topology of Ruins’, ‘Dissolution’, ‘Collector’, ‘Convulsion’. None is in the imminent pamphlet, The Small Containers, nor in his first collection, The Snowing Globe; one would resurface in Prehistories, two more in The Hinterland; of the other three, I’ve no trace or memory unless (as is possible) he changed their titles. I may have turned them down, but I’m more likely to have explained that the magazine, Tracks, was an occasional and fragile thing without an issue presently in preparation.

Undeterred, Peter wrote again in October, enclosing three more poems, and this time I have the carbon copy of my reply: ‘Many thanks for sending me three poems: I like these very much. As you know, wherever possible I prefer to publish a group of poems, rather than a single poem, by each author; so I’d like to use all three in the next number of Tracks, which will appear probably in February 1971.’ Ah yes, ‘probably’; or, as Touchstone has it, much virtue in ‘if’. Tracks, which I’d ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image