THE GREEN WAVE; NEVER A GREATER NEED; COLLECTED PEOMS by

THE GREEN WAVE; NEVER A GREATER NEED; COLLECTED PEOMS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The first volume, THE GREEN WAVE, is the latest verse from the prolific pen of the author of Beast in View -- and parts of this new collection appeared in the Kenyon Review, Tomorrow, and other periodicals. The reception of her poetry is a matter of personal taste. Her writing seems to this reader still dense and emotional, overloaded with private images, bespeaking a hot temperament. The verses show a piling up of unclarified detail, not rendered more explicable by her lack of ascertainable technique. The most interesting group of poems are translations of native love poems, originating in the Marquesas Islands, where-either actually or in imagination, Miss Rukeyser has found a spiritual home. Her verse expresses a kind of natural primitiveness. She has achieved considerable reputation among those to whom lucidity is not a necessary factor...Walter Benton's NEVER A GREATER NEED, represents the end of the series of passionate love poems so popular in the volume entitled This Is My Beloved. They continue the frank lush rhapsodies in free verse, by a young soldier to his altogether amenable young lady, and their amorous adventures in city, park, mountains, hotels, etc. Unfortunately, the highly keyed affair comes to an end midway; the rest of the volume is devoted to dour verses on soldiers' lives. There has been much reason to deplore the lack of love poetry expressing true and deep feeling in this generation, and in fact in the whole body of American poetry. But I still doubt that this dish ""au naturel"" exactly meets that need. Nevertheless, the former volume corresponded to some measure of popular demand, and it is possible that this one will answer that same need, though to a lesser degree....Most of the poems contained in these COLLECTED POEMS of Allen Tate have appeared elsewhere in previous slim volumes or as individual pieces. The last section includes his distinguished translations -- or rather English versions of some famous classical poems, such as The Vigil of Venus, one of the finest things he has done. The high standard of this well-known scholar, critic, teacher and poet, are well known in the literary world, and this volume emphasizes again his familiar qualities. He is a cerebral poet, witty and erudite, showing in his earlier work influences of T.S. Eliot, but more markedly his own polished classicism. The trouble with Tate is a deep lack of emotional impact and a corresponding obscurity. With the finest taste, he too often involves himself with words that carry no moving quality. He is doubtless a better critic than poet; one can be grateful for his all too rare standards and ideals while deploring that he has not more important substance for them to carry. There are in poetic circles and in the literary world many who admire Tate and will be glad to have his collected poems. One doubts that he will be ""popular"".

Pub Date: Jan. 22nd, 1947
Publisher: Doubleday; Knopf; Scribner