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
Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this item to editor@pnreview.co.uk

This item is taken from PN Review 219, Volume 41 Number 1, September - October 2014.

Letters from Adam Czerniawski, Peter Faulkner, Paul McLoughlin, David Ludgate
Tadeusz Różewicz

Sir:

In your obituary note on Tadeusz Różewicz (PNR 218) you describe him as ‘a perennial Nobel nominee’. The Polish mafia ensured that he stayed that way. To block him it first promoted Miłosz, himself an expert in ruthless self-promotion, then Szymborska. And when Różewicz was still alive, they started canvassing Adam Zagajewski.

Two myths envelop his poetry. Firstly, that it is a despairing anti-poet’s work ‘contaminated by death’, and the immense popularity of his Auschwitz poem ‘Pigtail’ (his most anthologised poem in English-language publications) seems to confirm this. But it also contradicts Adorno’s notorious nonsense that poetry is not possible after Auschwitz. In one of his poems Różewicz emphatically declares: ‘at home a task / awaits me: / To create poetry after Auschwitz’. In fact, he went on to become perhaps the twentieth century’s most prolific poet and over the many years granted him his poetry moved well beyond the war in very many directions.

The other myth presents him as an atheist, and the Polish Catholic Church’s condemnation of him seems to prove this. In her Guardian obituary Katarzyna Zachenter confirms it, but in fact Różewicz was Poland’s most outstanding religious poet of the post-war years, if you don’t confine religious poetry to standard pieties, as Poles tend to do.

You remind readers that PN Review had published three of his poems in my translation. In 2011 Anvil Press published the third expanded edition of They Came to See a Poet, a substantial collection of Różewicz’s poetry in my translation. Over several decades Peter Jay single-handedly published attractively produced volumes of translated poetry, ranging from the classics all the way to Hölderlin, Rilke, Celan, de Nerval, Verlaine, Lalić and Quasimodo, to name but a few. A brave quixotic adventure of great cultural significance.

adam czerniawski
Monmouth



Delights to the Mind

Sir:

Alexander Hutchison may be right about the book by Peter McCarey he is reviewing (PNR 217), but he hardly encourages confidence when he alludes to Hamish Henderson as liking to say, ‘(quoting Joyce): great blows are delights to the mind’. This is as unfair to the pacific Joyce as it is to Yeats’s rhythmical powers.

peter faulkner
By email



Brian Jones

Sir:

In his otherwise marvellous review of Brian Jones: New & Selected Poems (PNR 218), Grevel Lindop refers to the Jones family moving from Islington to Catford in East London. In fact, they moved to Greenford in West London. PNR readers interested in Jones’s work may like to know that I shall be reading from the New & Selected (‘being Brian’, as it were), on 11 October at Poetry in the Crypt in Islington.

paul mcloughlin
By email



Pot, Kettle

Sir:

A little rich, I think, for the editor of PN Review to be complaining about nepotism in the Griffin Prize when fifteen of the contributors to that very issue (PNR 218) are published by Carcanet Press, which he also runs.

david ludgate
London

This item is taken from PN Review 219, Volume 41 Number 1, September - October 2014.



Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this item to editor@pnreview.co.uk
Searching, please wait... animated waiting image