'probably the most informative and entertaining poetry journal in the English-speaking world' - John Ashbery
During 2023 PN Review
is celebrating its jubilee. Find all our anniversary plans here
. Since we started as Poetry Nation
, a twice-yearly hardback, in 1973, we've been publishing new poetry, rediscoveries, commentary, literary essays, interviews and reviews from around the globe.
Our vast archive now includes over 270 issues, with contributions from some of the most important writers of our times. Key contributors include Octavio Paz, Laura Riding, John Ashbery, Patricia Beer, W.S. Graham, Eavan Boland, Jorie Graham, Donald Davie, C.H. Sisson, Sinead Morrissey, Sasha Dugdale, Anthony Vahni Capildeo, and many others.
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Unfinished/Ungoverned: An Introduction to V.R. ‘Bunny’ Lang
This is Miss Lang, Miss V.R. Lang. The Poet, or
The Poetess. Bynum, would you introduce
Someone else as, This is J.P. Hatchet
Who is a Roman Catholic? No. Then don’t do
That to me again. It’s not an employment,
It’s a private religion. Who’s that over there?
You probably haven’t heard of Bunny Lang. Or, if you have, it’s because you’re a Frank O’Hara fan, and can recall poems dedicated to her: ‘V.R. Lang’, ‘An 18th Century Letter’, ‘A Letter to Bunny’. Or perhaps the sudden shift in ‘A Step Away from Them’, when he pivots from the joys of cheeseburgers, Coca-Cola and hot shirtless labourers on the streets of Manhattan to the lines: ‘First / Bunny died, then John Latouche / then Jackson Pollock. But is the / earth as full as life was full, of them?’ To learn that someone has died before you’ve even been introduced properly seems unfair – to you, to them. Yet this is perhaps how most people first meet V.R. ‘Bunny’ Lang,
The Drunken Boat (after Rimbaud)
I could no longer feel the pilot’s reins;
Exultant redskins had shed his blood,
Nailed his naked limbs to a brilliant stake.
I cared nothing for the fate of my crew,
Minds filled with English lace and Flemish wheat.
When all that din had been tomahawked too
The rivers let me travel as I pleased.
Into the frenzy of the tides, last winter,
As gravely intent as a playing boy,
Descending the swift, imperturbable flood,
An Asterisk on the Map
This is the text of a keynote lecture that Sinéad Morrissey delivered at the Ciaran Carson Conference, held at the Seamus Heaney Centre in Belfast on 14 September 2023
Ciaran Carson’s The Star Factory,
first published in 1997, a year before The Good Friday Agreement, offers, in his own phrase, an ‘alternative hologram’ of Belfast, pieced together by memory. All memoir is pieced together by memory. The term memoir
describes its provenance as a genre. The Star Factory
is striking, however, in drawing our attention to the maverick ways in which memory actually works, to Ciaran’s laterally associative leaps and flights of cognitive fancy (I will return to flying soon), and to his submission to serendipity as the book’s organising principle. ‘Everything you open seethes with memory’, he writes, describing, with his hallmark lavish attention, the contents of his writing desk drawer,
Selected from the Archive...
A Conversation with Louise Glück
I interviewed Louise on Tuesday 24 November 2009 and we began by chatting about Hakan Nesser’s latest detective story. I knew he was a writer she enjoys. ‘Reading Woman with Birthmark1
will be two days of escape from life,’ she said.
YVONNE GREEN: The boundary you create between your poems and your reader seems to me to have the draw of the magnetic field suggested in the final stanza from ‘Lost Love’,2 in Ararat:
…when my sister died,
my mother’s heart became
very cold, very rigid,
like a tiny pendant of iron.
Then it seemed to me my sister’s body
was a magnet. I could feel it draw
my mother’s heart into the earth,
so it would grow.
LOUISE GLÜCK: I haven’t