Thursday, April 18, 2013

New Members of the Minor Poets Club

from “American Literature” by John M. Muste, in The American Annual, 1970 (48th edition of the Encyclopedia Americana's yearbook). Found on the free table outside a bookstore in Hallowell, Maine.

“In 1969, Robert Lowell, long known for the variety and looseness of form of his poetry, turned to the unrhymed sonnet . . . in Notebooks 1967-1968. While the unvarying verse form makes the poems seem somewhat repetitious, Lowell’s tone and imagery provide variety, and he has a number of interesting and unconventional observations to make about the tempestuous modern era. The book will do no harm to Lowell’s wide reputation.
            “Two retrospective collections were of special interest. The Complete Poems of Randall Jarrell demonstrates that this poet had a rather narrow range and his imaginative power was not great. A few of his poems have lasting value, but the body of his work, while large, is not as impressive as has generally been believed. The Complete Poems of Elizabeth Bishop, on the other hand, displays the steady craftmanship of a distinguished minor poet.”

1 comment:

Carlene said...

Funny, one of the first poems that affected me deeply was Randall Jarrell's "Death of the Ball Turret Gunner."