Volume 106, No 2, Summer 2016

The Poetry Review 106:2, Summer 2016I just did some maths (not my strong point, in case anyone wants to double check) and it turns out that eighty per cent of the poems in this issue contain proper nouns. Here are some of them, not in order of appearance: Thailand; the Queen of Spades; Joseph Gordon-Levitt; Algae Corner; Lucky Partridge; Langston Hughes; Mrs Kowksa; Jezebel; Momma Galya Armolinskaya; Mary Magdalene; Kolatkar; Malcolm in the Middle; Campari; Sir Salman; Henry Ford; Princess Osra; God. (Not that the poems that don’t feature proper nouns are lacking in any way; they have different strengths, namely other very good words such as “tagliatelle” and “hotpants”.) I don’t know what makes names seem good, or particular words good, or for that matter what makes a poem good, I suppose there’s a certain gleam that comes off it, and if you don’t see it perhaps you will after somebody else draws your attention to it, the way a cartoonist might draw a little window shape on a balloon to show it reflects light. When you see that gleam it feels like the poem is alive.

from Emily Berry’s Editorial


Mary Ruefle, 2015, The Last Big Particular Thing, The Heart of Princess Osra, Bath Time, Searchlight
Rebecca Perry, beaches (1), beaches (3) Read Rebecca’s ‘Behind the poem’ essay
Polly Buckingham, The Bell and the Ocean, My Own Best Messenger, Milo’s Alive
Graham Mort, Winston  Read Graham’s ‘Behind the poem’ essay
Jacob Oet, Neopets, I’m Sorry, Dave
Wayne Holloway-Smith, Short
Andrew Sclater, Dear Mother, Lochcarronside
Chris Rice, Mrs Kowska
Heather Phillipson, latest technology, Take Spanking White Pants, but what does it mean to think
Franny Choi, Turing Test
D. Nurkse, Cocktails
Karen McCarthy Woolf, The Hollyhocks
Daljit Nagra, Get off my poem Whitey
Cal Freeman, Dearborn
Denise Riley, Lone Star Clattering
Liz Berry, Oh Sweethearts
Dominique Christina, from Every Stone Is Important
Ilya Kaminsky, from The Deaf Republic


Mary Ruefle’s ‘erasure’ poems


Bernard O’Donoghue on Heaney’s Aeneid VI and other revenants
Holly Pester on reading Adrienne Rich rebelliously
To be a dancing bear: Tom Sleigh on David Jones’s animal drawings
Inua Ellams’s Letter from Nairobi


Stephen Burt on Denise Riley and Patrick Mackie
Edwina Attlee on Luke Kennard and Frederick Seidel
Katherine Angel on Matthew and Michael Dickman’s Brother
John McAuliffe on J.O. Morgan and Mark Waldron
Carol Rumens reviews Ruby Robinson and William Wootten
Dai George on Maura Dooley, Claire Askew and Julian Stannard
Daisy Lafarge reviews Amali Rodrigo and Robert Herbert McClean
Andrew Neilson on Fiona Sampson and Judy Brown
Sophie Collins reviews Vahni Capildeo and Sascha Aurora Akhtar
Chloe Stopa-Hunt presents a round-up of new pamphlets

The Geoffrey Dearmer Prize 2015

Selima Hill introduces winner Laura Scott’s winner with ‘The Half-loved’. We also publish Laura’s new poems: ‘The dogs in Greece are different’ and ‘If I were a fish’
Laura is also interviewed here

Cover image by Hannah Bagshaw