Press Release: 15 January 2008

On pleasure – the winter issue of Poetry Review.


The Winter issue of Poetry Review, On Pleasure, is a box of delights including a sneak preview of The Minotaur, libretto by David Harsent and music by Harrison Birtwistle (to premiere at the Royal Opera House in April 2008); an exceptional series of haiku-strips – a combination of central European graphics and the haiku form – and a Letter From the Romanian Cultural Attache in Paris.

Michael Symmonds Roberts and David Harsent continue a long tradition of poets writing libretti. In On Pleasure, we sample their work as well as get an insight in to how they approach it. “I always try to remember Auden’s advice,” Symmonds Roberts writes, “[…] A good libretto is a private letter to a composer”. He goes even further.  “If it doesn’t inspire the composer (however good the poetry) it isn’t a libretto”. Editor Fiona Sampson, herself formerly a musician, says “The distance between poetry and music is sometimes too close to call. But seeing how poets work with musicians is a wonderful way to uncover a little of the complex relationship between the two.”

On Pleasure is also the place to find out what a haiku-strip is. These visual haikus can take the form of a little narrative in three panels, three lines of illustrated poetry or an image divide into three.

This issue’s Letter From is a wonderful opportunity to explore how another culture is received in France, when Romanian poet Magda Carneci writes about being an Eastern European poet twice exiled in Paris: first from her language and second from her own universe.

There’s also new poetry from Mahmoud Darwish, Jane Draycott, Lavinia Greenlaw, Alan Jenkins, Sean O’Brien, Neil Rollinson, Penny Shuttle and Higo Williams, as well as PR’s famous ‘Centrefold’: this issue, a picture of Peter Blegvad’s Favourite Things.

Poetry Review is a world-class publication and Britain’s longest-running and most prestigious poetry magazine. Started in 1911, it continues to be “the magazine of record” (Michael Schmidt in The Guardian) and as well as being the UK’s bestselling poetry magazine, hailed by Andrew Motion as “required reading”. Poetry Review has been at the forefront of many of the key artistic debates and movements in poetry and has an excellent track record in spotting new talent.

- Ends -


Notes to Editors

  •  Poetry Review is available for subscription from Paul McGrane. Telephone 0207 420 9881 or email [email protected].
  • Becoming a member of the Poetry Society will provide you with four issues of Poetry Review a year. To find out more call 0207 420 9881 or email [email protected].
  • To find out more about the Poetry Society visit