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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)
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)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
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Next Issue Alex Wong embarks on Ausonius's Moselle Christine Blackwell recalls Jonas Mekas Lives of Graves, Trilling and Curnow visited New poems by Lisa Kelly and Jodie Hollander Andy Croft on the 'poetry industry'
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PN Review 246
Featured Report
Snakes and Stiltwalkers
Letter from Trinidad
Of Snakes and Stiltwalkers
Vahni Capildeo The driveway sloped down to the west-facing boundary of the house, a half-height, green-painted brick wall inset with a row of black-painted metal railings. These railings were thick with bougainvillea. Along the lower part of the wall, the wanted and unwanted shrubs and vines were trimmed to a common height, but too mixed up for the eye to disentangle stem from vine or leaves from brickwork. The electric gate stood between two pillars at the end of the driveway. It had begun to malfunction. It opened and closed at random. Sometimes one side approaching quicker than the other was triggered by the other side into flying open again. Sometimes both sides closed, slowly, but stopped just before they shut tight.

The men who were mending the electric gate had found a snake. There are rare reptiles on the island. Ideally an expert is called, and the thing is rescued. There are poisonous reptiles on the island, including the fer-de-lance, one of the few snakes anywhere that will turn and charge an intruder on its territory, rather than slinking away. The men were keen to do their job well. They called the lady of the house to see the snake. What did the senior lady of the house say? ‘Kill it quickly,’ perhaps? ‘Please deal with it’? In any case, she felt the kind of terror and extreme disgust that are inseparable from each other. She may not have said anything. She passed as quickly as she could, on her nerve-damaged legs, into the house. Somehow, she communicated the presence of the snake, and ... read more
Dollhouse on Fire
Sheri Benning AT THE JUNCTION, turn south on Highway 15. Before you reach the former town site of Amazon, turn east down any grid road. Continue until you can see Last Mountain Lake spark on the horizon. Lined with caragana trees planted in the 1930s to anchor the dirt, the fields left in stubble are deer-hide blonde; sky, arterial blue. Keep an eye out for whitetail, maybe moose. Don’t be surprised – a sharp-tail grouse might burst out nowhere, a flurry of dun feathers.

Dolls house

No one lives here anymore. This sour land, alkaline, should never have been pressed into cultivation. There’s an abandoned yard-site every section or so. Always in the back forty acres, an old barn leans into the pelt of thistle, spear grass, crested wheat, brome. In such a barn I was once badly startled when something ... read more
on Joan Murray’s Drafts
A Moment’s Life
Jena Schmitt Drafts, Fragments, and Poems: The Complete Poetry by Joan Murray (NYRB Poets) $16

BORN IN 1917 in London, England, to Canadian parents, Joan Murray moved to Chatham, Ontario, Canada, when she was a child to live with an aunt, uncle and cousins after her parents divorced, her mother an actor and travelling diseuse, often away, her father rarely if ever present in her life. In an essay, ‘Passage on Reading’, Murray writes, ‘The poignancy of lost mothers and lost children and the sadness in the inevitable wandering of lost things grew quite early with me…’. There was a move to Detroit at age fifteen, and three years later to New York City to study acting and dance before focusing on writing at the New School with Auden. In 1942 she died of a heart-valve infection in Saranac Lake, New York, from the ... read more
Selected from the Archive...
Adrian Stokes Revisited Donald Davie
FIFTY years ago, when Pound in The Criterion applauded Adrian Stokes's The Quattro Cento, he exclaimed: 'It is almost incomprehensible that any man can have as great a concern for the shapes and meanings of stone beauty as Stokes has, without its forcing him to take the tools in his hands. In fact one can only suppose that he in some way regards himself as the forerunner of some sort of sculptural amelioration, or at any rate is trying to clear up incomprehensions and to distinguish between pure and mixed sculptural values.' The comment is endearingly characteristic of Pound, who could never make a distinction, nor endorse one made by someone else, without at once doing something about it, taking the tools in his hands. But the reflection is a natural one, all the same: if Stokes wasn't himself ... read more
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