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)
Kei Millerthe Fat Black Woman
In Praise of the Fat Black Woman & Volume

(PN Review 241)
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)
Next Issue John McAuliffe poems and conversation Charles Dobzynski translated by Marilyn Hacker Maya C. Popa in conversation with Caroline Bird Richard Gwyn With Lowry in Cuernavaca Jane Draycott Four Poems
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review Blog

This article is taken from PN Review 105, Volume 22 Number 1, September - October 1995.

Beginnings Nicole Krauss

I began writing poems at fourteen, with all the usual melodrama and forged passion that teenage poems deserve. By the next year.

I was frequenting the poetry section of the bookshop more than any other, and, unbeknown to me, I'd begun to learn this odd and ancient craft. I'm sure I read all the wrong things; lacking a mentor, I followed my nose, and rarely did it lead me to anything pre-1950. I didn't worry myself much about prosody, as everyone else (especially in America, where I grew up) was busy writing free verse; metre and rhyme seemed tools of an old man's trade. It wasn't until I bumped headlong into one of those old poets (and 1 think he would like that description) that I realized how much I had to learn.

Now I am twenty and still a young poet by all accounts: I cannot yet claim the leisure of retrospect or speak with serious authority about formative years. I only know for certain that, had it not been for two poets, my ideas about poetry would have assumed a very different shape. When I met Joseph Brodsky two years ago, poetry ceased to be simply a form of graceful and emotive expression and became crucial, demanding a constantly acute cognition, a hawk's vision, and an unyielding attention to form - not just every word but every syllable, every vowel and consonant. Put simply, if I was going to attempt poetry, I had ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image