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 […]

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 […]

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