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)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Subha Mukherji Dying and Living with De la Mare Carl Phillips Fall Colors and other poems Alex Wylie The Bureaucratic Sublime: on the secret joys of contemporary poetry Marilyn Hacker Montpeyroux Sonnets David Herman Memories of Raymond Williams
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
PN Review New Issue

This review is taken from PN Review 204, Volume 38 Number 4, March - April 2012.

No Single Place To Be roy fisher, Standard Midland (Bloodaxe) £7.95
An Unofficial Roy Fisher, edited by Peter Robinson (Shears­man) £12.95

Standard Midland begins with a poem proposing the Madagascan exhumation ceremony as interpretation of a prehistoric burial cave in the Peak District - beautifully phrased, slightly tongue-in-cheek, and, as far as I can judge, scientifically plausible. This makes one feel rather sorry for all the critics and poets who have insistently characterised Roy Fisher as 'poet of the Midlands', or of cities, urban landscape, essentially English, or for that matter modernist, experimental or materialist. What elaborate machinery we have devised for avoiding the main issue, whatever it is. Fisher's poetry encourages me to think that it concerns a particular, maybe 'poetical', relationship between writing and world, a kind of mutual respect, also modulating in his case into mutual distrust. Some poetry, a lot of Yeats's for instance, wrests the world to its own purposes, setting up a theatre on its own terms. Roy Fisher's is not like that, though there is a streak of mysticism running through his career. Rather each percept is tested against, and opens onto, a sense of the reality outside the window. There is, then, a kind of fidelity, or deference, towards a sense of shareable experience while inhabiting language as closely as possible, so we get a recognition-within-difference. Word choice, rhythms, and even lineation again and again elicit our acknowledgement, that, yes, it is like that, even if this is the last place we would have expected to find it. The following short poem is a light-hearted, slightly self-mocking expression of just this sense ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image