MARIANNE MOORE by Bernard F. Engel

MARIANNE MOORE

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Another in the Twayne series, but it's more de rigueur than Eliot's (see p. 351), simply because it's the first full-length study Marianne Moore has received. Eliot (he gets around) has famously categorized her poetry as descriptive rather than dramatic or lyrical, filled with a prose cadence and a ""light rhyme,"" developing and discriminating upon various social, philosophical and zoological minutiae ""with something like the fascination of a high-powered microscope."" And recently Miss Moore has defined her personal panacea as ""God and family"" and that she likes ""to be inconspicious but look well."" All of these aspects- and some are certainly quaint-Professor Engel admirably annotates in a poem-by-poem commentary, keynoting- and quite rightly- the lady's ""playfulness,"" her elegant avant-garde style, along with the moral perseverance behind it, really an old-fashioned conservatism. Like many of the animals which so delight us in the poems, Miss Moore is emblematic of ""the armored self,"" of a candor and chastity, of liberty bred through discipline, of an almost diosyncratic endurance. Though paradox is her specialty and humor her ace in the hole, her world -- view is largely anti-romantic, anti-Statist. It's a pity there isn't more here about her syllabic meters etc.; still, a fine, fluent primer.

Publisher: Twayne