Duncan is another adventurous soul, but unlike Lowell (see p. 778), a programmatic one. For him- as he pamphleteeringly...

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ROOTS AND BRANCHES

Duncan is another adventurous soul, but unlike Lowell (see p. 778), a programmatic one. For him- as he pamphleteeringly remarks elsewhere- poetry is ""the body's discovery that it can dream"" or ""a world of our own marvels,"" lines which could quite easily come out of his poems proper. Indeed Duncan's troubadouring, following Blake, Whitman and Lawrence with stop-offs at Black Mountain and Venice West, is large, lush and banner-high; he's a journeyer who quite honestly has given his ""fate to the Muses,"" and sometimes they serve him surprisingly well. If the latest offerings show nothing re the justly valued Pindaric poem, or the Sodom and Venice ones, they do present `Dream Data, 'Cyparissus' and the title-work, all gravely graceful achievements, along with any number of compassionate outpourings, variations on rather impossibly private concerns or fancies, oracular meditations on the senses, ""what the question is/where the heart reflects."" At his worst, as in that odd full-length theosophical play, he's Gertrude Stein under the influence of Shelley. Multi-notational, employing the open form, the ritual of spontaneous creation, Duncan's designs are toward the fabulous: floating pastorals, myths, ballads. A Singer of the Wholeness of the Imagination; alas, the voice and vision are not always full.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 0811200345

Page Count: -

Publisher: Scribners

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1964