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 review is taken from PN Review 47, Volume 12 Number 3, January - February 1986.

ANOTHER LANGUAGE Rosemary Dobson, The Three Fates & Other Poems (Hale and Iremonger) n.p. pb.
Gwen Harwood, The Lion's Bride (Angus and Robertson) £3.95 pb.

These poets offer inviting coincidences: they were born ten days apart in 1920; each knows and writes well about another art; for each the negative aspect of child-rearing has been a vivid poetic stimulus; each has found central European thought and culture of special importance. Both are Australian.

Rosemary Dobson published her first volume (subsequently consigned to oblivion) before she was twenty; this is her eighth new volume of verse. In addition, she and David Campbell published two joint volumes of translations from the Russian, and she has had two volumes of Selected Poems. Her early poetry was marked by strong formal metres, first four- and then five-stress lines predominated; a striking proportion of the lines had feminine endings, which stretched them and made them seem longer than they were. In a country with a strong ballad tradition these rhythms sound less like light verse than they might do in England; her exploration of the variations of tetrameter rhythms have given her a fine feeling for Russian poetry. Many of her early poems were, or seemed to be, based on paintings, and she was criticized both for taking her art at second-hand and for using non-Australian hands at that. In retrospect the painting poems can be seen to be part of her development of a point of observation; she is a poet of seeing a scene. European painting gave her a stable place to stand, from which to notice loss, lost chances, the never graspable moment. In ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image