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PN Review 276
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This item is taken from PN Review 276, Volume 50 Number 4, March - April 2024.

Letter to the Editor
Coleridge redivivus

Jeremy Hooker writes: I am writing to thank you for your Editorial in PNR 275. Your quotation from Christopher Middleton is one that I cherish. Following my first essay on his work, in PNR [114, 1997], Christopher wrote to me, initiating a correspondence between us over several years. I don’t know whether he saved my letters, but I kept all of his. I always thought of Christopher as the equal of Coleridge for our time. Of course, he was very ‘modern’ (alive in and to our time) and more playful than STC!

Who loves, raves

Rory Waterman writes: Recently, on Twitbook or whatever it’s called, Gregory Woods drew attention to a passage in Jeffrey Meyers’s review of Andrew Stauffer, Byron: A Life in Ten Letters (PNR 275), in which Hemingway (1899–1961) is referred to as ‘the Byron of our time’. I suppose they both liked bears.

It isn’t the only bizarre claim Meyers has been permitted to make. I puzzled over the declaration that Byron’s clubfoot ‘chained his dull spirit to the proud earth’, and wondered how this tallies with the perhaps justified assertion that he ‘had the most fascinating character and life of any British poet’, and the wholly justified one that ‘with fire, passion and wit he made world history’. I pondered over the notion of Lady Caroline Lamb having ‘poured lava through his veins’, though at least here I knew what he meant. Then I pondered another while over the suggestion (and attendant image) that ‘English society was saturated in sodomy’, and had a few other little ponders between and either side, my eyebrows and jaw growing ever more distant.

In this context, it is perhaps unfortunate that Meyers fastidiously points out three typos that ‘should be corrected’. I hugely admire PNR for its unfashionable commitment to being a broad church of styles and perspectives, but giving the author freedom to publish such wild comments in your pages feels a bit like letting a toddler play on the stairs. Perhaps there was no need to fit a safety gate, but a little more adult supervision wouldn’t have gone amiss.


Jasmina Bolfek-Radovani writes: I am writing to point to a couple of factual errors in the review of my multilingual poetry collection Knitting drum machines for exiled tongues by Oliver Dixon in PNR 274. I was sorry to read in the second sentence of the second paragraph that the reviewer attributed my place of birth to Serbia. I was born in Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia; I was not born in Serbia. Serbia and Croatia each has its own language, identity and culture, although they share a common, complex history.

The third sentence of the review mentions that Knitting drum machines for exiled tongues is my first collection instead of being my second one. This can be verified by going to my website page:

Oliver Dixon replies: Really sorry for the slips. I can only attribute them to human error/mental errancy.

This item is taken from PN Review 276, Volume 50 Number 4, March - April 2024.

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