POEMS AND SKETCHES OF E. B. WHITE by E. B. White
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POEMS AND SKETCHES OF E. B. WHITE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A rich selection of 64 poems and 34 bits of prose--most of which ""set down a simple legible account of my misfortunes""--slipped from their various decades and the author's previously published collections. There are six groupings: ""Inscrutable and Lovely Town""--all that is both bracing and bruising in an urban landscape (usually, White's inescapable New York); ""Divine Intuitions of Poesy""--spirited parodies of, and canny commentary on, the odd birds of the New York publishing scene, and their migrations (no less apt now than when first written); ""In the Fields of Our Room""--sweet and tender tributes to love's intimate uncertainties, to the nonsense and nourishment of domesticity; ""Love and Living""--about the poignant, thrumming recurrences of living and dying in a life; ""No People of No Importance""--a happy miscellany of wicked satire and parody, including a backhand tribute to that doggedly doom-sliding baseball team, the New York Giants (via a man condemned by his melancholy nature to suffer the diminished sevenths of each game's dying fall); and ""These Conquering Days""--in which White takes on the aggressive affronts of technology, the media, and the official bullies of our time. From a firm stance on humanity's small, untidy ground, he dispatches all ill-considered inanities--innerspring mattresses and bureaucratic pronouncements; or war, thought-control, and the Bomb. The last piece, ""The Crack of Doom,"" chronicles the end of the world in a mesh of radio gibberish; then--""The Earth . . . went up in brilliant flame. The light was noticed on Mars, where it brought a moment of pleasure to young lovers . . . it is the custom to kiss one's beloved when a star falls."" Among the many dear and familiar pieces (in which even dated subject-matter has fresh applications), there are three poems never before published--among them, a touching reminder of his late wife, ""To my American Gardener with Love."" In words shriven, as always, of muzzy and disreputable associations--an essential companion to the Essays and Letters.

Pub Date: Nov. 11th, 1981
Publisher: Harper & Row