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)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
OUP PNR 246 Banner
PNR CAPILDEO PROMO MARCH 2019
Next Issue Alex Wong embarks on Ausonius's Moselle Christine Blackwell recalls Jonas Mekas Lives of Graves, Trilling and Curnow visited New poems by Lisa Kelly and Jodie Hollander Andy Croft on the 'poetry industry'

This article is taken from PN Review 34, Volume 10 Number 2, November - December 1983.

Pleasures and Rigours: Douglas Dunn's Poetry John Ash
Some notes on the poetry of Douglas Dunn


I see a rose but am forbidden it.
I see a swan but must not mention it.



If 'the people' are dominated by the prevailing system of needs, then only the rupture with this system can make them an ally against barbarism. Prior to this rupture there is no 'place among the people' which the writer can simply take up. Writers must first create this place and this is a process which may require them to stand against the people, which may prevent them from speaking their language. In this sense 'elitism' today may well have a radical content. To work for the radicalisation of consciousness means to make explicit and conscious the material and ideological discrepancy between the writer and 'the people' rather than to obscure and camouflage it.
Herbert Marcuse: The Aesthetic Dimension


DOUGLAS DUNN'S poetry is at its best when most fictive and baroque, when, - 'A swarm of fissured angels sweep over/ Unremarkable civilians,/Magnates of no inheritance'; when objects are described with such a strange vividness that his style approaches 'Magic Realism': hair brushes become pet animals, open books fall asleep, lamp-posts are like the ghosts of Baudelaire and Kafka, and unlucky mariners 'sit like unstrung banjos'. This Dunn makes Messrs. Raine and Reid look like mere beginners in the art of metamorphosis.

It follows that Love Or Nothing is his ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image