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)
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)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Peter Scupham remembers Anthony Thwaite in 'Chimes at Midnight' Sinead Morrissey spends A Week in GdaƄsk Rebecca Watts talks with Julia Copus about Charlotte Mew Boris Dralyuk and Irina Mashinski evoke Arseny Tarkovsky and his translator Peter Oram Frederic Raphael sends a letter to William Somerset Maugham
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review New Issue

This interview is taken from PN Review 93, Volume 20 Number 1, September - October 1993.

in Conversation with Richard Hoggart Nicolas Tredell

PARK COURT HOTEL, LANCASTER GATE, LONDON, 18 MARCH 1993

In the first volume of your Life and Times, A Local Habitation, published in 1988, you say, when describing your time at Leeds University in the late1930s that [m]y own emerging intellectual life had three main focuses: politics, documentary and poetry (p.194). I wondered if we could look at each of those interests as they've interwoven with your life and work - starting with poetry first of all, which has been a constant concern of yours, though in your multifarious activities it's not always been the concern that's been most noticed.


I have always thought that poetry is the queen of the literary arts. Indeed, I used to write poetry at the university and had some of it published in a student magazine. I had a friend -we wrote a joint poem which was banned by the professor on the committee of the university magazine - who threw everything up and went down to London to become a poet. He became one - a minor poet, but a poet he was devoted to being. I never had that strength of conviction or feeling, or that kind of courage perhaps, but I remain fascinated by poetry, thinking it the most important literary form, more so than fiction. It's the most taxing linguistically and also intellectually and imaginatively. For whatever reasons, I stopped writing or trying to write poetry - it was never more than trying to write. ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image