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 article is taken from PN Review 161, Volume 31 Number 3, January - February 2005.

Black Mountain in England 1 Ian Brinton

In an interview with Robert Walker, published in Angel Exhaust 13, Roger Langley talks of the background to his writing with special relevance to the poem 'Matthew Glover':

I didn't start writing until I found out about American poetry. There was Donald Davie at Cambridge who talked about Pound. But Davie never talked about Olson. It was really Olson who convinced me that I might write something myself.

So that something like 'Matthew Glover' is a fairly naïve attempt to do a miniscule Olson in an English setting. I'm not sure that I even thought that as I did it, but it so obviously is now: with willow warblers instead of kingfishers and an open verse system, a field verse system, moving in open paragraphs... I used to respect so much that Olson remark about 'the dance of little syllables'... So I was trying to watch little syllables that weren't particularly onomatopoeic or imitative in any particular way at all back at that stage, and think primarily about 'areal subject matter' as Dorn would say.

The reference to 'the dance of little syllables' comes from Olson's seminal essay, 'Projective Verse' (Poetry New York No. 3, 1950):

Let's start from the smallest particle of all, the syllable. It is the king and pin of versification, what rules and holds together the lines, the larger forms, of a poem... It is by their syllables that words juxtapose in beauty, by these ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image