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 Subha Mukherji Dying and Living with De la Mare Carl Phillips Fall Colors and other poems Alex Wylie The Bureaucratic Sublime: on the secret joys of contemporary poetry Marilyn Hacker Montpeyroux Sonnets David Herman Memories of Raymond Williams
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.

Five Poems Sarah White
He Offers a Reason

‘Because it was he, because it was I.’
Montaigne, ‘On Friendship’

Lonely Montaigne, having had a perfect
confidant and lost him, decided to invent
the Essay as a way to touch his friend,
Etienne, again: He would wander from thought
to thought, as in their former conversations,
and simply let the Reader listen in.

As one such Reader, I say Merci, Michel,
for telling me, as well as any writer could,
a reason for your art. What
about my own? I won’t go into that

until I’ve thanked you for combing through the Greek
and Latin classics, teasing out their wisdom,
and carving it into the roof beams of your library.

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image