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 Jen Schmitt on Ekphrasis Rachel Hadas on Text and Pandemic Kirsty Gunn Essaying two Jee Leong Koh Palinodes in the Voice of my Dead Father Maureen Mclane Correspondent Breeze
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review Blog

This review is taken from PN Review 16, Volume 7 Number 2, November - December 1980.

HISTORY OF A VOICE Patricia Beer, Selected Poems (Hutchinson) £5.95

In a Radio 3 talk reproduced in Best of the Poetry Year 6 (ed. Dannie Abse, Robson Books, 1979), Patricia Beer makes clear her conviction that 'ideally there must be a connection that approaches identification between the voice of the poet when writing poetry and his natural speaking voice-a connection not so much of vocabulary and content as of rhythm, pitch and pronunciation. When the poet has a regional accent, as I have, this is particularly true.' Her own Selected Poems, which includes work from five collections, the first of them published in 1959, as well as seventeen new poems, bears this out admirably. They are evidence not only of an increasing clarification of themes but, inseparably, of a poet training and exploiting to great effect a highly individual voice: and the way in which the poems move forward and develop is an important source of energy as well as a specific point of interest. A Selected Poems can also reveal clearly a poet's recurrent themes: for instance, I was struck here by the number of poems linking water with death and, sometimes, salvation, from the early 'The Flood', to poems like 'The Baptism', 'Arms' and, in a different way, those about a water diviner in 'Driving West'. The eight poems included here from Ms Beer's first two collections, Loss of the Magyar (1959) and The Survivors (1963), also establish the poet's preoccupation with the eerie and with death-and they do so in a tone which is clear, natural ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image