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
Monthly Carcanet Books
Gratis Ad 1
Next Issue Kei Miller Sometimes I Consider the Names of Places Kyoo Lee's A Close Up and Marjorie Perloff's response John McAuliffe City of Trees Don Share on Whitman's Bicentenary Jeffrey Wainwright and Jon Glover on Geoffrey Hill's Gnostic

This article is taken from PN Review 118, Volume 24 Number 2, November - December 1997.

Theorising Barnsley John Needham

Sunday morning; my New Zealand eye watches the English heartland drifting past to the steady rhythm of the train wheels, thick hedgerows, stately trees, and rolling pasture, stone farmbuildings and churches. It's well into October, but with barely a trace of autumn, except for the slant rays of the sun and a suggestion of haze - even the glint of the railway lines seems mellowed. 'Season of mists...' - or is it just pollution? In any case, after a day and a half of planes and air-ports, plastic furnishings and fluorescent light, flickering screens and electronic voices, the whole scene looks timeless. But then, in a way, so did the piles of Observers and Sunday Times at the Heathrow newsagents, the dawn emptiness of the Underground, the echoing roofs of King's Cross station, and the soul-wearying straggle of tenements, warehouses, and factories on the way out of London. It brought back all my youthful journeys from south to north, home to Barnsley from the chimerical glamour of London or Oxford. How long it haunted me - haunts me still perhaps. When I went back to Oxford just a few years ago, the dreaming spires and college fronts seemed like cardboard cut-outs, without depth or resonance, but the fluting complacency of a College Fellow holding forth in a senior common room could still call up the ghost of old feelings of exclusion, inferiority and resentment, and the gowned students in the High Street brought back the old seductive sense of ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image