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

(PN Review 241)
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)
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 17, Volume 7 Number 3, January - February 1981.

Anna Adams A Reply to Intercepted Mail, (Harry Chambers/Peterloo Poets) £1.35

I do not like Auden's 'Letter to Lord Byron', without being quite sure why. Auden is too clever to be caught out; if you accuse him of snobbery, you find him despising snobs; of being partial and slanted - he says he's going to be, early on; of writing in a flat, knowing tone - he's doing it on purpose as a joke; and so on. I've no doubt I'm missing something, but more interesting than what I'm missing is what Anna Adams has found in the same poem: a spur to write her own letter to Auden, in the same stanza, and on much the same subject - being a poet in the time she is living in. (Perhaps this is the start of a chaim similar to the chain of tombeaux written by one composer in memory of another: Ravel wrote one for Couperin, Arthur Benjamin for Ravel, and Derek Bourgeois for Arthur Benjamin. She seized on his form with gusto, because:


                      Dissatisfied
with most that I have written to this day,
I have been looking for a form inside
which I can pack all that I have to say
unfiltered. I have thrown too much away
as unpoetic - fit for conversation
and letters, not poetic celebration.


Her idea of what was 'poetic' had been 'Epiphanies/before grass-blades or sunshafts. . .all/clear demonstration of mysterious law/incarnate in material'; on trying to turn 'a ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image