Welcome to PN Review, 'probably the most informative and entertaining poetry journal in the English-speaking world' (John Ashbery)
'If one of the defining characteristics of most magazines is that, like most bands, they have a short shelf life, then PN Review is immediately uncharacteristic. It's been going so long that many of us have all but forgotten what the P and the N stand for. I think of them as opening and closing the word Provocation. And that's why I so love the magazine.' - Paul Muldoon
Keep up with the many worlds of poetry in this independent and always stimulating journal. For over four decades PN Review has been a place to discover new poems in English and in translation as well as interviews, news, essays, reviews and reports from around the world. Subscribers can access the complete, uniquely rich digital archive. Poet-subscribers can submit their work by e-mail.
'The most engaged, challenging and serious-minded of all the UK’s poetry magazines.' - Simon Armitage
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Has Chance a Choice? On Novel Coronavirus, Poetry, and the Pastmodern
Perhaps we can now call evolution a poem. Most often it has been portrayed as a meta-narrative, the Tree of Life story. Darwin had left it open and latecomers until recently have attempted to close – that is, shape – the tree as it overgrows itself, visually unwieldy.
Poets, however, have thought for some time that evolution is more of a rhizome. In Christian Bok’s review of Darren Wershler-Henry’s Nicholodeon
(London, Ont.: Open Letter
, 1998) he describes that book as ‘performing a radical autopsy upon the corpus of bpNichol, dissecting the ganglia of his influence, “the rhizome of an author-function in mourning”’. Nichol himself was reading Deleuze and Guattari, ‘for whom the rhizome was a metaphor of the complexity of the world in general’.
Of course, this was not long after the death of authorship’s heyday, if not the death of history’s. We have since learned somewhat more: the rhizome of evolution carries human history along with the literary version. There is no building on Chaucer and the Bible, as if they were lower branches. And now we are reminded there is no leaving the viruses behind:
Viruses are actually the most abundant biological entities on the planet. There are at least one and probably two orders of magnitude more virile particles on Earth than there are any kinds of cells. Further, at least half of our human DNA genomes consists of sequences derived from virus-like elements. Actually, the entire history of life is a history of virus-host interactions.
(Eugene Koonin, designnews.com, 3/23/2020)
Suddenly, the viral
On Elly Miller
Elly Miller, the last of the great emigré publishers, died on 8 August at the age of ninety-two, leaving behind, apart from a large family, three books she was readying for publication and a host of projects in the offing. The daughter of the legendary Viennese founder of the Phaidon Press, Béla Horovitz, she arrived in this country in 1938 at the age of ten, with not a word of English, but that proved to be no obstacle, and she soon fitted in with the high achievers of Oxford High School for Girls, where she was sent. The story goes that her father, always keen to find books that would be at once popular and learned, asked Ernst Gombrich, a family friend, to write a history of art for Phaidon. When Gombrich handed in the typescript he explained that he had written it to appeal to an
Wong May translates Du Fu
Visiting a Nephew
To rinse rice
You muddy the well,
Cutting down wild ferns for food,
Don’t let go your hand
Let go your hand,
You hurt the root.
Not Seeing Li Bai
Not seeing Li Bai
For a time
I begin to fear for him.
Selected from the Archive...
in conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
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