Volume 106, No 3, Autumn 2016 OUT OF STOCK


The Poetry Review 106:3 Autumn 2016

In his book-length essay, The Hatred of Poetry (FSG, 2016), Ben Lerner suggests that the poetic enterprise is doomed to failure because a poem is an attempt, in language, to express what is beyond language. If we believe Lerner, then the act of writing poems mirrors the act of sending them out to magazines in that the odds are against us and yet we persist. This persistence is something that unites all poets and is maybe the most difficult thing for those outside our province to understand. Why would you invest so much in an activity that gives back such meagre returns? The poets published in these pages will receive a fee but the greater return is that they will be read. Isn’t this why so many of us keep plugging away? In the hope that we might inspire something of the thrill we ourselves have felt in the presence of a poem that succeeds in spite of the odds stacked against it.

I hope you find that thrill in these pages.

from Kayo Chingonyi’s Editorial



Selima Hill, My Mother in Hangzhou, Red Ants
Helen Mort, The Tattooed Lady
Matthew Sweeney, What I’m Dying to Paint
Paul Adrian, Kiyoshi and the Maple, The Radio Plays Birdsong
Pippa Little, Clast
Caroline Bird, A Toddler Creates Thunder by Dancing on a Manhole, The Rags, Sentinel of Anything
Richard Scott, psalm, ‘slavic boys will tell you’
Jacob Polley, Applejack, The Lofts, Snow Dad,
Malika Booker, Nine Nights
Steve Ely, from Sufficient vnto the day
Sophie Robinson, century egg, no new messages, personality steaks
Evdokia Charalampous, poem found inside a dumped fridge, he doesn’t seem to know, baking paper poem
Ali Lewis, A Certain Kind of Guy, Short Shirt
Rafael Campo, Latinos, Lessons not learned during medical training
Ruth Wiggins, Making Water
E.G. Cunningham, The Baroque
Nadia al-Fazil Kareem, Madame Absinthe and the Ladyboys of Tunbridge Wells, Silver Bird Cast from a Flute
Tara Alaka, The Eel
Camellia Stafford, Red Stays the Ruby, Notes on Liotard


Where do these lines go? Andrea Brady on poetry in Beirut
Poets reading: Andrew McMillan on new poets from the US; Ilya Kaminsky on Vénus Khoury-Ghata; Rachel Piercey on two poets for children
Poetry’s last ruggedness: Vidyan Ravinthiran on the poetry in prose
Letter from Hong Kong: Sarah Howe


Jay Bernard’s Colours


Karen McCarthy Woolf on Bernard O’Donoghue and Alice Oswald
Dave Coates reviews Rita Dove’s Collected Poems: 1974–2004
Dzifa Benson on Gabriel Okara, Jack Mapanje and Mahtem Shiferraw
Chloe Stopa-Hunt on Phillis Levin, Carol Rumens and Susan Wicks
Kate Bingham reviews Will Stone and Isobel Dixon
Aime Williams on Helen Mort, John McCullough and Hannah Lowe
David Shook reviews Homero Aridjis and Silvina Ocampo
Paul Batchelor on The Poems of Basil Bunting
David Wheatley reviews Nicolas Barker’s Visible Voices

Cover artwork: ‘El campesino’ (The farmer), 2015 by Luisa Fernanda Lindo. Altered book with plant. 20x30x15 cm.