Volume 106, No 4, Winter 2016

The Poetry Review winter 2016/17 issue

Back in September 2016, newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic ran a light-hearted piece about a downy white cloud shaped uncannily like the head of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. Trump’s lawyer tweeted a snapshot of the distinctive formation with the caption, “In case anyone is unsure as to who will be our next #POTUS, the Lord has chosen the people’s messenger.” In the wake of first the Brexit vote and now the shock about-turn of the US election result, the art of political polling would seem to be in tatters: its number-crunching apparently no more reliable than turning to the heavens for a touch of cloud divination. People have always scanned the sky’s teeming chaos for signs of coming political conflict. In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, the sunsets are swollen with portents: “Fierce fiery warriors fought upon the clouds” and “drizzled blood upon the Capitol”.

I find myself on this wild and whimsical course of cloud-spotting thanks to Matthea Harvey’s Kardashian Klouds, hovering at the centre of this issue somewhere between art and visual poetry. I began to notice clouds all over the poems we had chosen for this issue…

from Sarah Howe’s Editorial



Simon Armitage, Maundy Thursday, The Send-off
Jorie Graham, From Inside the MRI
Matt Howard, Redwood, Elder
Pascale Petit, Black Caiman with Butterflies
Andre Bagoo, Not all of Cazabon’s paintings have been found, The Forgetful Friend, Yes, The Third Pair Read what Andre Bagoo says is ‘Behind the Poem’
Jamie McKendrick, La colonna sonora, Hearing Voices
Carolyn Jess-Cooke, Now
Zaffar Kunial, Prayer
Hugo Williams, Birdwatching
Penelope Shuttle, Noah’s Notes (Preliminary)   Read what Penelope Shuttle says is ‘Behind the Poem’
Fran Lock, On Insomnia, Mountain Jag
Victoria Grigg, The Ward at Night
Fiona Benson, Termite Queen, Ectopic
Rory Waterman, Love in a Life
Emily Berry, The End
Jane Yeh, A Short History of Patience, Rabbit Empire
Mark Waldron, I wish I loved lawnmowers
Kaveh Akbar, Juicebox, A Factory
Will Harris, Halo 2, Justine
Daniel Liebert, Old Chinese Rain in Kentucky, The Green Room, A Horse Made Beautiful by War

The Interview

Paul Muldoon in conversation with Maurice Riordan


Omphalos: Bhanu Kapil, Zaffar Kunial & Nick Laird
I let my significance happen only at home: Eleanor Goodman on contemporary Chinese women poets
Home-scars: Jen Hadfield on homing in limpets and humans


Nubes Kardashianum (Kardashian Klouds) by Matthea Harvey


Kate Potts on Anne Carson and Sharon Olds
Hugh Foley reviews Matthew Welton and Solmaz Sharif
Edwina Attlee on Matthew Caley, William Letford and John Clegg
Carol Rumens reviews W.S. Merwin, Helen Farish and Beverley Bie Brahic
Sam Buchan-Watts on Charlotte Newman and Erik Stinson
Clare Pollard reviews Selima Hill, John Agard and Ruth Padel
Ailbhe Darcy on Em Strang, Tiphanie Yanique and Melissa Lee-Houghton
John Greening on recent chapbooks and pamphlets
Caleb Klaces reviews Stephen Burt’s The Poem Is You

Cover image: Hannah Bagshaw