PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
PNR266 Now Available
The latest issue of PN Review is now available to read online. read more
Most Read... 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)
M. Wynn ThomasThe Other Side of the Hedge
(PN Review 239)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing ‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing
(PN Review 236)
Next Issue Stav Poleg Running Between Languages Jeffrey Meyers on Mr W.H. (Auden) Miles Burrows The Critic as Cleaning Lady Timothy Ades translates Brecht, Karen Leeder translates Ulrike Almut Sandig
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
PN Review New Issue

This review is taken from PN Review 262, Volume 48 Number 2, November - December 2021.

Cover of Still
Sam AdamsDouble Dose

Christopher Meredith, Still ; Please (Seren) both £9.99
Christopher Meredith has long enjoyed a high reputation as poet and writer of prose fiction. This is still a remarkable event: the joint publication of a novella and a new collection of poems.

The contents of Still, gathered over several years, are presented in four sections, the last, the only one bearing its own title, ‘Still air’, being the poet’s share of a joint publication with artist and print-maker Sara Philpott in 2016.

Meredith is Welsh speaking. In the glossary of places mentioned in the collection, the site of a former slate quarry near Blaenau Ffestiniog, its yawning depths now lake-filled, evokes a response in the old language, ‘Dail poethion, Cwmorthin’. Although there are inevitable similarities, since the same scene, tall nettles growing by the ruins of the former manager’s house, is the subject of both, the accompanying English poem, ‘Nettles, Cwmorthin’ is not a translation. The demands of language and prosody in Welsh are different from those customary in English. Imagery is common to both, but the tradition of layering images, dyfalu, is typically Welsh. Hopkins’ poetry shows its influence, and it is present in Meredith’s ‘Winter Woods’, for example: where snowflakes, ‘ice crystals finialled like/ the ideograms of stars ... pattern the gravid void like/ free fallers clasping hands ... to feather, copter,/ this gathering/ of crystal feathers,/ rock and float, slide, sideslip,/ tumble, float again/ ride down the zigzag/ seesaws of the half-sustaining air ... they fall/ until at last they settle their wafer/ on the tongue of earth.’ Another striking example ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image