Moore and Thurman have searched for poems that avoid obscurity and demonstrate the strong conversational tone and essential...

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Moore and Thurman have searched for poems that avoid obscurity and demonstrate the strong conversational tone and essential freshness of modern verse, and their choices range from familiar anthology pieces such as Roethke's ""Meadow Mouse"" and Langston Hughes' ""The Negro Speaks of Rivers"" to poets usually considered more difficult -- say, Sylvia Plath and James Dickey -- and others like Paul Goodman who, despite their explicitness, are not normally considered for juvenile collections. Nothing could be clearer than these statements on human relations, nature, politics and the craft of poetry itself. One is brought up short immediately by Imamu Amiri Baraka's injunction to ""Make some muscle/ in your head, but/use the muscle/ in yr heart"" and Marge Piercy's ""Simple Song"" (""When we are going toward someone we say/You are just like me""), but it is the final sections -- including Marianne Moore's ""Poetry,"" an excerpt from Nicanor Parra's ""Manifesto"" (""A poet is no alchemist/A poet is a man like all men/A bricklayer building his wall"") -- which makes the editors' intentions evident: this is not just an anthology of poetry but a demonstration of what poetry is -- a lesson in the craft and discipline taught entirely through poetry itself. An intelligent, intent selection, proving in just so many words Parra's declaration that poetry is no longer a ""luxury item"" but ""an absolute necessity.

Pub Date: April 17, 1974

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1974