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 172, Volume 33 Number 2, November - December 2006.

Vernon Watkins and the Nostalgia of Literature M. Wynn Thomas

I have an interest to declare: Vernon Watkins has, on two occasions, been a very close neighbour of mine. His room was little distant from mine in 1966, the year in which I took up my first appointment as a very young, and very callow, Assistant Lecturer at University College of Swansea. It was the year before he was to die, at the age of 61, on a tennis court in distant Seattle: and in many ways his international reputation as a substantial poet, envied by his great friend Dylan Thomas, and admired by Yeats and Eliot, passed away with him. At Swansea his absent-mindedness became as much of a campus legend as his unselfconsciously bardic bearing - the story still circulated about the time he'd gone home at night from the bank, where he worked as a humble counter teller, and left the doors wide open, so that a policeman had to go in chase of him to secure the key. From his year's residency as writer in the Department of English I warmly remember the occasion when, gentle, generous and courteous as ever, he accepted the invitation to come and talk, in a characteristically rapt and intense manner, to a very small group of us about his acquaintance with Eliot and the insights that had given him into Four Quartets. In 1997 he again became my neighbour, after a fashion, when my wife and I moved to live in our present home, just three doors away from ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image