Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
John McAuliffeBill Manhire in Conversation with John McAuliffe
(PN Review 259)
Patricia CraigVal Warner: A Reminiscence
(PN Review 259)
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 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?’
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Reader Survey
PN Review Substack

This review is taken from PN Review 254, Volume 46 Number 6, July - August 2020.

Cover of Parkland
Anthony BarnettPrynne’s Parkland
Parkland, J.H. Prynne (Critical Documents) £15
Parkland is a sixty-page prose pamphlet in two parts, the first has eight sections, the second nine. The first section closes with Conrad Gessner’s 1669 woodcut of a hoopoe. What or where is Parkland? I don’t think it is Parkland Memorial Hospital where an already dead Kennedy was rushed in a futile attempt at resuscitation. But then, among quite a few botanical references, ‘Jack’ is no longer ‘-by-the-hedge’ but ‘in’ it. I don’t think it is Parkland, Florida, infamous site of a school mass shooting. And yet, the second of three epigraphs has Bellini’s Norma pleading with her father for her children: ‘Oh, do not let them be victims…’ So, I don’t know, and if anyone knows better I’d like to know.

What I can say is that Parkland is ‘about’ The Queen of Sheba, who might or might not have existed, and two half-siblings Peter and Tom. Who are they? Her sons, brothers, admirers, attendants? One might ask, why not Pete and Thomas? The first epigraph is the account drawn from the 1560 Geneva Bible of the quene of Sheba’s visit to Saloman. The third epigraph is Christopher Smart’s apocryphal ‘Let the Queen of Sheba rejoice with the Artichoke’ – probably not the Jerusalem one.

Whatever else Parkland is ‘about’, it is ‘about’ music and song. A dense, often, but not always, intractable text sings with musical references: ‘Honour this song for her refurbish guisement of melody’, ‘sing again chorus’, ‘And yet these two admirers will sing again despited’, ‘turn for breath take up implements corrected ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image