PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Colm Toibin on Thom Gunn's Letters Allice Hiller and Sasha Dugdale in conversation David Herman on the life of Edward W. Said Jena Schmitt on Hope Mirrlees Brian Morton: Now the Trees
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
PN Review New Issue

This poem is taken from PN Review 251, Volume 46 Number 3, January - February 2020.

Olympia and other poems Heather Treseler

Manet aimed for the pantheon but became a pariah
with his portrait of a courtesan, her bright white
crinoline body unfurling like a flag of surrender,

her come-hither look as startling now as in 1863.
So too, the black servant giving her mistress
side-eye appraisal of this latest provocation,

no stranger to how a woman might manage
the fact that her imperiled body is for sale.
This is not love on auction. And you and I 

are not in Paris, considering the original. Friends,
would-be lovers, a black man and a white woman,
we sit in a posh cafĂ© three thousand miles from

the first blush of scandal, crowds so incensed
the Salon hired a pair of constables to stand guard
beside the bold prostitute and her bouquet-bearing

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image