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)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PN Review Blog
Monthly Carcanet Books
Next Issue Vahni Capildeo The Boisterous Weeping of Margery Kempe Paul Muldoon The Fly Sinead Morrissey Put Off That Mask Jane Yeh Three Poems Sarah Rothenberg Poetry and Music: Exile and Return

This poem is taken from PN Review 195, Volume 37 Number 1, September - October 2010.

Literary Lives R.K.R. Thornton

Ernest Dowson

Of the ways of writing a poem, one way is
Where the sound’s what you fashion the sense with; another
Where you try for a mood, not seeking out harmonies.
And they don’t come together so often, these ways,
Except as how sometimes the sea’s crash is music;
Or the motion expressed in some music’s a mood.

That’s where Dowson comes in. That’s his mood;
And critics go jaunting along: ‘No variety;
He only says one thing: he’s in love and wants peace,
But she won’t; so he yearns, grows sad, world-weary.’
But they see the words circling and ignore their hearing.
Listen. Oh, but there’s music in Dowson.

Say what you will, there’s more than just Cynara
Stuck like a cherry on top of the Nineties,
More than just dabbling in Verlaine and Pater,
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image