BREAD OUT OF STONE by Charmel Iris


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This is a curious book of poems with a curious history. Written before the turn of the century by a Chicagoan, some of the poems appeared in Poetry and other then current periodicals. Iris presented the collected manuscript to his friend, Bishop Bernar Shial, who proceeded to misplace it for about fifty years. This despite the fact that it was accompanied by fervent eulogies by William Butler Yeats and Oliver St. John Gogarty. Now, in 1953, it appears with Yeats as prologue and Gogarty as epilogue. Others warm in their admiration are G.B.S., George Santayana, Carl Sandburg -- and against this battery of praise, moderation may seen unwelcome. But it is necessary to say that Iris is a lyric poet of very uneven calibre. At his best he has gleams of the true fire of genius; sometimes he meanders; his output is so slim that at best it is hard to judge him; although his subject matter is both sacred and profane, his approach is essentially Catholic. He is a romantic, at war with poverty, pain and injustice, and his sympathies are with the outcast. Hardly classifiable with any American, or indeed any foreign book, some three or four of these lyrics are very fine -- in color, intensity and originality. Slight as this is, it should be welcomed by all who search for fresh and pure talent in poetry. Sales may not be large but should be interesting.

Publisher: Regnery