The 250th Issue of PN Review

In November this journal will reach the milestone of 250 issues, and in order to celebrate this we will be releasing one piece of poetry, criticism or journalism each week from the 46-year back catalogue which continues to exemplify PN Review's conviction that poetry, at its best, is enactive, and what it does matters more [...]


On Stupidity by Robert Musil (translated from the German)

This is the first English translation of a lecture delivered by Robert Musil, the Austrian novelist, in Vienna in March 1937. The lecture opens with a quotation from his great unfinished novel, The Man Without Qualities, and various themes from that work are discernible here. Indeed, one recalls that it is said of the book's [...]

Conjurors by Julian Orde Abercrombie

Julian Orde Abercrombie relased very few poems in her lifetime, what follows is one of the few extant examples of her incredible talent,released two years after her death: a poem which confronts death even as it sings in the beauty of nature, watching the conjuring of life from "hairy grains" and chrysali, and then the [...]

Left Hand and Writing Hand by Anna Adams

In this article from 1984, Anna Adams explores the link between gross brain structure and creativity, taking some time to evaluate her own education in the context of the idea of the left and right brain This article is taken from PN Review 38, Volume 10 Number 6, May - June 1984. I was walking [...]

The Aquatint by Peter Scupham

Aquatint is a process by which an engraving is made to look like a watercolour, with no harsh lines, instead areas of tone. This is achieved using nitric acid, and as such the process could be described (if you were feeling especially poetic, as we so often are here at PN Review) as a soft [...]

On Translation by Michael Hamburger

Michael Hamburger, frequent contributor of both his own poems and translations to PN Review, talks on the nature of translation and the role of the translator to try and truly understand a poem and allow themself to fully relate to the author, without their own thoughts getting in the way. This article is taken from [...]

A View of Infinity by Idris Parry

German Literature scholar Idris Parry explores the snapping and unnameable infinity, in the work of Musil and Kafka, focussing on sexuality and its uncomfortable but intoxicating awakening in boys through adolescent interactions, specifically in the first book of Musil's, Young Törless. This article is taken from PN Review 31, Volume 9 Number 5, May - [...]

An extract from Absentist Poetry: an Introduction by Calvin Bedient

Absentism here represents a rejection of the Romantic transcendentalism and the Classical religion that give rise to so much of the poetry available under the label of "modernism", and instead a belief in an indifferent universe that we must make meaning in ourselves, whether it is (as Arnold says) found through monogamy, or art. In [...]

The Usk by CH Sisson

CH Sisson was a major figure in the development of PN Review, even functioning as an editor for some time, and regularly contributing phenomenal poems and articles (a total of 144 PN Review pieces came from Sisson) and here he demonstrated why he was so in demand in the magazine, synthesising the challenging concepts of [...]

A Lobster for John Milton by Anna Adams

Mancunian poet and critic Anna Adams explores ideas of human imitating the machine imitating the animal and vice versa, all wrapped up in the brilliant presumption that crabs are, in fact, able to travel backwards in time. This poem is taken from PN Review 20, Volume 7 Number 6, July - August 1981. If, like a [...]

The Latin Poetry of Englishmen by Richard Stoneman

Richard Stoneman, a leading Classics scholar In the modern day, the language barrier is often seen only as a hindrance to total harmony, in contrast to the medieval English opinion that, in fact, poetry in Latin was equal if not superior to poetry in the mother tongue of its author. From this unusual situation arose [...]

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