THE CHERRY TREE by Geoffrey- Ed. Grigson


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As verse anthologies go, The Cherry Tree is liberal in selection and mostly lyrical in tone, a sort of anatomy of the emotions where you will find much grief and gaiety, cynicism and commitment, trivia and trumpet blasts, all divided into about 30 sections, each group having its own title, its own illustration (generally taken, incidentally, from the earliest engravings), and representative of such categories as shore and sea, summer and autumn, creatures of the air and of the field, love and death, moon and stars. Primarily, of course, it is English poetry, both the familiar and unfamiliar, which fills its pages (there are well over a 100 ballads and riddles, sumptuous servings of Shakespeare, Milton, Blake, Donne, Herrick and Lear, along with lesser samplings of Keats, Shelley, Hopkins, Hardy, Yeats and Auden); but one also gets a few translations from the Europeans or Ancients (Rilke, Rimbaud, Holderlin, Sappho, Ovid), the Chinese (especially Tu Fu and Li Po), the Celtic and the more famous Biblical passages. As always, tastes will differ: one may well ask, for example, why Marianne Moore's and Lawrence's menageries, Eliot's and Crane's seascapes, Emily Dickinson's allegories and Robert Lowell's elegies are absent. Nevertheless, though editor Grigson's preferences clearly lie with the arriere garde rather than the avant, his collection is perceptive and full of ""dip-in"" pleasures.

Publisher: Vanguard