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)
Kei Millerthe Fat Black Woman
In Praise of the Fat Black Woman & Volume

(PN Review 241)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Next Issue Sasha Dugdale, Intimacy and other poems Eugene Ostashevsky, The Feeling Sonnets Nyla Matuk, The Resistance Alex Wylie, Democratic Rags Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Two poems from the archive
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review Blog

This review is taken from PN Review 136, Volume 27 Number 2, November - December 2000.

AMERICANS ARE SO NICE The Paris Review. The Poetry Issue, #154, $12.00

George Plimpton has a curiously bifurcated career in American letters. He founded and edits the Paris Review, probably the premier American literary magazine, and participates in other estimably high-brow literary activities. Yet to most Americans, Plimpton is known for his participatory journalism in which he plays a fey, slightly bemused, decidedly WASPy observer of American professional sports. Plimpton has pitched to baseball all-stars, allowed himself to get whacked around by the Detroit Lions, and done a stint in the nets for the Boston Bruins hockey team, among other lucratively comic turns. Plimpton keeps his dual careers apart but some of the puckishness of his career as an amateur sportsman can be seen in his editorship of the Paris Review. Plimpton's preference for semi-detached observing is manifested in the Review's signature feature, its lengthy and probing interviews of writers. Moreover, there is an ironic tone of a certain kind to the Review which suggests the tradition of the gentleman or amateur scholar. A regular column is called 'The Man in the Back Row Has a Question' which asks about just those kind of things which most people are interested in but are intimidated into not asking. In the current, gigantic 'Poetry Issue' the editors provide a parlour game or country house sense of fun (American WASPs are very big at playing games at parties) by soliciting a number of well-known poets to write to titles drawn from the hat of popular and literary culture: 'Jaws', 'The English are So Nice', ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image