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)
Kei Millerthe Fat Black Woman
In Praise of the Fat Black Woman & Volume

(PN Review 241)
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)
Next Issue Sasha Dugdale, Intimacy and other poems Eugene Ostashevsky, The Feeling Sonnets Nyla Matuk, The Resistance Alex Wylie, Democratic Rags Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Two poems from the archive
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PN Review 250
Featured Article
Put Off That Mask Trauma, Persona and Authenticity in Denise Riley’s ‘A Part Song’ Sinéad Morrisey This is the text of the 2018 StAnza Lecture

The Oxford English Dictionary definition of lyric runs as follows:
Of or pertaining to the lyre; adapted to the lyre, meant to be sung; pertaining to or characteristic of song. Now used as the name for short poems (whether or not intended to be sung), usually divided into stanzas or strophes, and directly expressing the poet’s own thoughts and sentiments.

It is this latter contention that the lyric, via an authentic and honest ‘I’-voice speaker, directly expresses the poet’s own thoughts and sentiments which I’d like to investigate further. And I’d like to do so with a double caveat. First, that the subject I’ve chosen is both so broad and so fundamental to the art of poetry that it is impossible to speak definitely on this subject. Second, that I myself am in a conflicted relationship, not with an ‘I’-voice in poetry per se, but with an ‘I’-voice in poetry which ‘directly [expresses my] own thoughts and sentiments’, with the notion of what might be termed a transparent ‘I’. To be in a conflicted relationship with a transparent ‘I’ is not to be necessarily – or not always – antagonistic to it. It is to be alert, on the one hand, to the aesthetic and ethical pitfalls of the use of a transparent ‘I’ in poetry, and, on the other, to be nevertheless aware, indeed at times in awe of, its captivating force.

In her temporary role as editor of Poetry Ireland Review, Vona Groarke, as part of her final editorial, answered a set ... read more
Two Poems
translated by Wang Fang and Yvonne Reddick
Yu Xiuhua Confession of Love

I try hard at life: I carry water, cook, and take all my pills on time.
I throw myself into it, like putting a piece of dried orange peel in my tea when the sun is warm and bright.
I drink my different teas in turn: chrysanthemum, jasmine, rose and lemon –
all these lovely things bring me to the path that leads to spring.
So again and again I press down the snow in my heart –
it’s too pure and close to spring.
I read your poems in a clean yard. All the world’s love-affairs
are a blur, like sparrows darting by,
and the years are pure as moonlight. No, I’m not being sentimental –
... read more
Four Poems
Parwana Fayyaz A Letter to Flower and Crown

In the middle of the night,
I write a letter to Bibi Gul and Taj Begum imagining their daytrip.
Measuring the hours with the gesture of the sun,
they now cross the muddy valleys –

with a hope that someone will help on the other side,
offering them shelter to rest for the night.
I first heard the story about the women fleeing
and losing their ways in crossing the valleys –

to an end uninvited.
... read more
Selected from the Archive...
in conversation with Natalia Ginzburg Tim Parks After a hopeless night in a couchette the train was two hours late arriving. I had to rush across a Rome I don't know to get to my appointment on time. My tape recorder had already decided not to work and I was relieved. My motive, anyway, in arranging this interview had been more to have an excuse to meet a writer whose work I admire than to achieve a journalistic scoop, and tape recorders are embarrassing. Thus the interview was noted down immediately afterwards between showers of spring rain on the steps of Piazza di Spagna.

Ginzburg was not disappointing. Small, white-haired, bright-eyed and modestly dressed, she met me in her office at the publishers Einaudi. Forthright in general and self-effacing as far as her own work was concerned, she was quick to say she didn't know as ... read more
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