Vol 110, No 3, Autumn 2020

Barthes resolved the problem of not wanting to write about his mother’s death by doing so anyway. August 1978: “My suffering is inexpressible but all the same utterable, speakable. The very fact that language affords me the word ‘intolerable’ immediately achieves a certain tolerance.” “will it all come good?” asks an interlocutor in Fran Lock’s ‘Red Biddy’. I don’t know, but at least we have words – “the words of poets / a hundred or hundreds of years dead – / their words that would not be held back” (Mary Oliver).

from Emily Berry’s Editorial


Rainie Oet, Done Mourning in Autumn
Eleanor Hooker, from traces  Read Eleanor’s ‘Behind the Poem’ piece
Fawzia Muradali Kane, Washing the body, 3 to 11 / 11 to 7 / 7 to 3 / day off, Partitions
John McCullough, Candyman, Glass Men, Quantum
Fran Lock, from Red Biddy
Susie Campbell, from Little red mouth
Luke Kennard, Arion, aller en bateauVile Figs
Kit Fan, Vitreous Humour
Kimberly Reyes, a constitution, Candyman  Read Kimberly’s ‘Behind the Poem’ piece
Eve Grubin, American in England, Grief Dialogue
Samar Diab, trans. Rachel Dbeis, The Forest, Death, [This is what will happen]
Gboyega Odubanjo, A Story About Water
Kaleem Hawa, Learned Helplessness, Not Even Jerusalem Read Katrina Naomi’s ‘In Front of the Poem’ piece
Tommy Sissons, English Channel, Suedehead Read Tommy’s Poetry Mixtape here
Hasti C., Mixed White/Asian And/Or Multiple, Other (Specify):, Poem in the Form of a Fax Machine
Leontia Flynn, In public squares on cobbled streets, Traffic was heavy
Akpa Arinzechukwu, Consultation Room 3
Fiona Benson, Matron, Medicine, Leaf Insect, Boarding School Crush #17: Wonderwall
Lucy Mercer, To Lullabies
Tim Liardet, Self-Portrait with Multiple Yells, Aisling
Hugh McMillan, Positioning Three Words in a Poem, Marguerite d’Écosse
Katharine Towers, soul, water, Cwm Ivy
Mary Meriam, Elegy for Sally Jane, Forms of Song


50% Human: A poetic interview with AI agents GPT-2 32 and 3 language models by Ariel Klein


Valzhyna Mort on Alejandra Pizarnik
Jane Feaver: On reacquaintance with John Clare’s poem, ‘I am’, in the time of Covid-19
Nerys Williams on Langston Hughes and Sylvia Plath’s Poetry for Radio
Stretched Professors and Nameless Doors: The Campus Poem by Anna Woodford


Kayo Chingonyi reviews Claudia Rankine’s Just Us
Alistair Noon on Antony Wood’s translation of Alexander Pushkin
Dzifa Benson reviews Ariana Reines and Carolyn Forché
Edwina Attlee reviews Sam Riviere and Matthew Welton
Khairani Barokka on Bhanu Kapil and Samira Negrouche
Marek Sullivan reviews Ranjit Hoskote and Roger Robinson
Zakia Carpenter-Hall on David Morley and Natalie Diaz
Stephanie Sy-Quia on debut collections by Caleb Femi and Rachel Long
Rachael Allen on Sky Burial: New & Selected Poems by Peter Gizzi

Cover artwork by Anna Jensen

Selected Launch Readings

A selection of readings from The Poetry Review’s Autumn 2020 launch on Zoom, featuring Luke Kennard, Fiona Benson, Valzhyna Mort and Kimberly Reyes (double click on a video to watch full screen)