Here are the collected poems of the writer who rates equally in the public mind with Auden, as the voice of the pre-war and...

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COLLECTED POEMS: 1928-1953

Here are the collected poems of the writer who rates equally in the public mind with Auden, as the voice of the pre-war and war years- both accepted as the leaders of a wry turn of thought in lineal descent from T. S. Eliot. But when we see Spender's poems collected in one volume what a different conception emerges. Here is an exceedingly sensitive and apparently shy man, who practises poetry but has never completely mastered it technically. Not half so acrid as hurt, not half so satirical as lyrical, and in a non-academic way these poems reflect his personal reaction to the events of his life, the war, a love affair, his friends, his wife, his daughter. Technically Spender lacks the obvious virtuosity of Auden who is a master of every formal trick. But he has a sort of free-flowing melody which uses a great deal of assonance and little rhyme- and a beat that is highly individual. The music is, in the end, probably the key to whatever charm his poetry has, for the imagery and allusion is not rich and the subject matter only lightly touches on anything more than the ephemeral. It is just in this sensitive light touch that he must claim to be a poet. Spender's name has become synonymous with a group of modern poets who burst brilliantly into view in the thirties. Already well known and well established, his book will capture an already captivated audience, whatever its intrinsic merits may be.

Pub Date: March 11, 1955

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1955