PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
Digital Access to PN Review
Access the latest issues, plus back issues of PN Review with Exact Editions For PN Review subscribers: access the PN Review digital archive via the Exact Editions app Exactly or the Exact Editions website, you will first need to know your PN Review ID number. read more
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing ‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing
(PN Review 236)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Alejandro Fernandez-OsorioPomace (trans. James Womack)
(PN Review 236)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Oxford University Press
Gratis Ad 1
Next Issue Kei Miller on poetry and volume control Parwana Fayyaz's Afghan poems Gabriel Josipovici bids farewell to Aharon Appelfeld Craig Raine plants a flag A.R. Ammons from two angles

This poem is taken from PN Review 103, Volume 21 Number 5, May - June 1995.

The Early Love Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson Gavin Ewart

The letters he wrote to Frances Sitwell were pretty soppy.
His Calvinist father was very bigoted and stroppy,
but all because of Religion. Lou's high-minded affaire
was something about which Dad didn't seem to care.
And of course he was consumptive. He was in his early twenties
and bright as they come and much more than compos mentis.
He had a hard time. His Mum wanted to send him to Bible Classes.
Dad thought, with his atheism, he might corrupt the other lads and lasses.

Frances was an alcoholic English vicar's neglected wife.
She was 32. She had a miserable life.

RLS had for her a sort of sentimental mother-fixation
but it was all genteel and proper - no fornication, no masturbation.
Kisses, I think. But they did support one another in a sea of trouble.
It was genuine love on his side, a kind of iridescent bubble
that shone like a star. To him her interest certainly mattered.

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image