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 Subha Mukherji Dying and Living with De la Mare Carl Phillips Fall Colors and other poems Alex Wylie The Bureaucratic Sublime: on the secret joys of contemporary poetry Marilyn Hacker Montpeyroux Sonnets David Herman Memories of Raymond Williams
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
PN Review New Issue

This review is taken from PN Review 66, Volume 15 Number 4, March - April 1989.

NINETEEN KINDS OF MORGAN Edwin Morgan, Themes on a Variation, Carcanet, £6.95

A substantial collection of Edwin Morgan's poems - Poems of Thirty Years - was published by Carcanet in 1982. Themes on a Variation gathers together most of Morgan's work of the past six years, together with Newspoems, a series of fifty pieces devised between 1965 and 1971 and, like much of the other material in this volume, available until now only in a small press limited edition.

This new collection will consolidate Morgan's place in contemporary poetry as the most approachable of writers, and one with an inexhaustible zest for Protean changes of form and style. His drive to communicate has the same character as Byron's, an energetic and ceaseless heroic chatter. Indeed, it is not surprising that Byron emerges as probably the most important of the British poets in Morgan's cosmopolitan canon of those writers for whom he feels most professional respect and personal devotion. 'Byron at Sixty-Five' pays homage to Morgan's hero imagined as having survived until 1853, outliving Wordsworth and (still fond of nights with his 'dear contessa' and 'a spot of grog') meditating on Melville, Marx, the revolutions of 1848, and the benefits of modern science. It is a remarkable poem because, besides capturing Byron's style accurately, it makes us appreciate (probably quite unintentionally on Morgan's part) how very like Byron he has become. Both poets share a tolerant humanity, with affection for human beings in all their variousness - indeed, delight in all the variousness of this world - together with mistrust ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image