SOMETHING HUMAN: Poems by Barry Spacks by Barry Spacks

SOMETHING HUMAN: Poems by Barry Spacks

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This book of first-rate traditional verse (as opposed to poetry) will no doubt bring pleasure to those who are interested in seeing a conventional (""No More than Liberal"") but pleasantly whimsical mind (""Rule three: ignore rule four"") run through its paces. There are occasional mouthings of the portentous nothings minor poets occupationally mistake for profundity (as in the poem which ends ""Somewhere/ a heron pauses;/ listens"") but usually the ironic, enlightened mood prevails as one slides over rhyme and through iambic tetrameters and pentameters as if they're (and we're) hardly there. The poet is at his best (and occasionally his worst) when he deserts his cultivated metaphors and structural rigidities (""In the Chinese language is a word/ for anything: for smirking on a slant; for speaking sharply to a thoughtless bear;/ for singing through the winter; for dying standing"") for the open road, but the endless repetition of textbook words like ""laurel"" and ""hap"" reveal the staleness of his language and the emptiness of his vision.

Pub Date: Feb. 14th, 1971
Publisher: Harper's Magazine Press