COLLECTED POEMS 1958-1970 by George MacBeth


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The earliest pieces here are turgid, formal statements on grand themes of public and personal crisis, delivered in impacted understatement that could remind one of Thucydides if it didn't rely so heavily on Christian symbolism. But later efforts -- is that the word? -- include such far-out items as ""Pavan for an Unborn Infanta"" (""AN-AN CHI-CHI/ . . . AN-CHI AN-CHI AN-CHI AN"" and on to exhaust the possibilities of those two syllables), ""The Lax Cheer"" consisting of ""laxrobert,"" ""lax lax lax,"" etc., transcribed vertically, Dada party games like ""The Ski Murders"" and ""Fin du Globe,"" and adolescent blood-and-sex doggerel like ""Lady Dracula"": ""Lady Dracula/ Is hungry for blood,/ She digs deep in/ An' she sucks real good."" These moods are unified by the dimly intuited threat that if we don't succumb voluntarily to the author's strategies he will resort to some sort of force, perhaps gag us with a ""phlegm-soaked pillow"" or bash us with primal magniloquence or just taunt us with the childish perversity of an ""Auschwitz Rag."" This creates some prejudice against the milder-mannered inclusions and, for the author's part, leads to some careless writing in the rush to extreme effects.

Pub Date: Jan. 10th, 1971
Publisher: Atheneum