Poems and Poesies by Les A. Murray

In Murray’s own words, this essay ‘examine[s] the mental constituents of the poetic experience and found that experience to arise from a fusion of forebrain and hindbrain thinking, that is to say, of waking mentation and that characteristic of dreaming or reverie.’ This article is taken from PN Review 59, Volume 14 Number 3, January – February 1988. […]

Talks to John Ashbery: The Boyhood of John Ashbery, as interviewed by Mark Ford

Mark Ford interviewed John Ashbery for PNR to discuss his childhood, starting all the way from the beginning. This interview is taken from PN Review 150, Volume 29 Number 4, March – April 2003. John Ashbery (1927-2017) published with Carcanet 35 times. MARK FORD: I thought we might start chronologically: you were born on 28 July 1927. […]

Three Poems by Thom Gunn

Gunn is here at his most brutal, his most perceptive and his most disarmingly beautiful, taking no unnecessary affectations into his destructive verse as he describes an explosively emotional story in the cool terms of one who realises the power of verbal scarcity, belying the great depth of sadness that seems to animate so much […]

Four Poems by Ted Hughes

Hughes binds together the typically disparate images of youthful vandalism, pleasant rural landscapes and the deafening stink of the big city with the opening and closing motif of thrown stones, that playful, joking violence. This poem is taken from PN Review 5, Volume 5 Number 1, October – December 1978. ‘Under the world’s wild rims. […]

Dirge for Four Mexican Jumping Beans by Margaret Newlin

Surrealism can bring such joy into the sound and sheer performance of language that at PN Review we have included exceptional examples of it since the journal’s very inception, what follows is just one example of the exuberance with which surrealist imagery can imbue words. This poem is taken from Poetry Nation 6 Number 6, 1976. What […]

Meeting the Comet by Fleur Adcock

This poem is taken from PN Review 59, Volume 14 Number 3, January – February 1988. Before 1 She’ll never be able to play the piano – well, not properly. She’ll never be able to play the recorder, even, at school, when she goes: it has so many little holes . . . We’ll have […]

Shelley and the Old and New Atheism

By Robert Griffiths One question is brought up often throughout the history of PN Review, and that is the role of the poet when it comes to philosophy. Another facet of this question is whether or not the poet should court “reason”, or if it is even possible to do so; this article from 2011 […]

The Other Voice: Octavio Paz by David Holloway

This extract is taken from PN Review 19, Volume 7 Number 5, May – June 1981. Octavio Paz THEIRS was a sort of religious atheism, a religious rebellion against religion. It was more a search for an Erotica than for a new Poetics. Almost all identified themselves with Camus’ words from those second postwar days: […]

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 […]

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