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 Beverley Bie Brahic, after Leopardi's 'Broom' Michael Freeman Benefytes and Consolacyons Miles Burrows At Madame Zaza’s and other poems Victoria Kenefick Hunger Strike Hilary Davies Haunted by Christ
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review Blog

This poem is taken from PN Review 70, Volume 16 Number 2, November - December 1989.

Letter to Thom Gunn Clive Wilmer

You won't recall them now - 'The Burial Mound',
'Valhalla', 'The Dead Warrior' - poems which sound
Too much like half-cooked, over-seasoned stews
Of tough ingredients culled from Gunn and Hughes
('Thistles', 'The Byrnies', 'The Burial of the Dead',
'The Warriors of the North'). Hard man, you read
My gauche effusions with such tolerance
And courtesy, you did not look askance
At what, derived from you, partook of truth
Though twisted by the fantasies of youth;
You taught me form, reminding me of sense
When rhetoric or modish violence
Deformed a phrase or rhythm; you deferred
To nothing but economy of word.

But that was not the start of it. I had
At seventeen - such a discerning lad! -

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image