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)
M. Wynn ThomasThe Other Side of the Hedge
(PN Review 239)
Next Issue Sharif Elmusa on Mourid Barghouti Lorna Goodison Christmas Poem Brian Morton Now Patricia Craig Val Warner: a reminiscence John McAuliffe Bill Manhire in Conversation
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review Blog

This review is taken from PN Review 27, Volume 9 Number 1, September - October 1982.

MIRRORING THE FLOWERS Prentiss Moore, The Garden in Winter and Other Poems (Texas)

Ideas and objects only arrive in Prentiss Moore's poems after passing through a thick filter of Art and Literature. A brief glance gleans Mallarmé, Baudelaire, Vermeer, della Robbia, Tu Fu, Fellini's Casanova, Hokusai's Wave, Magritte, Theocritus, Barthes, Char, Horace, Leopardi, Li Po, Monet, Debussy and Ravel. Clearly Moore has taste but it is not a very original taste, and there are far too many plaster busts of Athena, Baucis, Philemon and the like,-smelling of the school-room and entirely failing to breathe and blush with unexpected life. I have a good deal of sympathy for this kind of highly art-conscious writing (indeed his poem about the Fellini Casanova's encounter with his mother is a poem I very nearly wrote myself) and Moore is a neat enough versifier in a Creeleyish mode, but the book as a whole is afflicted with a disabling preciosity. Take the first verse of 'Light Of The World' (the title itself a clue to the pervading sentimentality of Moore's inspiration),-'no my love/wait wait to/see the rose'. Here everything-the absence of capitals or punctuation, the three syllable lines-contributes towards an impression of self-regarding 'exquisiteness' which the remaining six lines do nothing to dispel. We are back in the pale, twilit world of the minor Symbolists,-Moréas, not Mallarmé. At least one poem, 'She Has Waited', does little more than faintly reflect some of that great poet's favourite images. What is entirely lacking is the dialectical thought that lies beneath Mallarmé's surface of symbols. Moore's intellectuality is fake,-nothing you ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image