Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
John McAuliffeBill Manhire in Conversation with John McAuliffe
(PN Review 259)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Patricia CraigVal Warner: A Reminiscence
(PN Review 259)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Gwyneth Lewis ‘Spiderings’ Ian Thomson ‘Fires were started: Tallinn, 1944’ Adrian May ‘Traditionalism and Tradition’ Judith Herzberg ‘Poems’ translated by Margitt Helbert Horatio Morpurgo ‘What is a Book?’
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PN Review 276
PN Review Substack

This poem is taken from PN Review 194, Volume 36 Number 6, July - August 2010.

Five Poems Jee Leong Koh

Attribution

I speak with the forked tongue of colony.
Eavan Boland, ‘The Mother Tongue’

My grandfather said life was better under the British.
He was a man who begrudged his words but he did say this.

I was born after the British left
an alphabet in my house, the same book they left in school.

I was good in English.
I was the only one in class who knew ‘bedridden’ does not mean lazy.

I was so good in English they sent me to England
where I proved my grandfather right

until I was almost sent down for plagiarism I knew was wrong
and did not know was wrong, because where I came from everyone plagiarised.

I learned to attribute everything I wrote.
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image