The familiar New Directions mix of distinguished and mediocre literary work once again--with the standouts this time pretty evenly divided between poetry and prose. The most impressive offering of all: four quite striking poems--crafted, continually interesting, involving in their diction--by the highly promising Terry Kistler, And there's impressive poetry too from Cid Corman (15 small poems), Robert Lax (disturbing, plain poetic chips), and Chinese poet Bian Zhilin (mellifluous work from the 1930s). As for the prose, the better stories all seem to involve the erotico-grotesque--and these oddly, compellingly flavored pieces come from an unusually far-flung group of writers: Japan's Fumiko Enchi, Argentina's Abelardo Castillo, Italy's Giorgio Manganelli (the best story of all), David Zane Mairowitz, and James B. Hall. Plus--among the lesser offerings: an inertial essay by Samuel Hazo; dull and lifeless poems by Betsy Adams and Deirdra Baldwin; ironic prose by Harold Jaffe and Max Aub; and one of James Purdy's homosexual melodramas. A slightly above-average ND, then, with a markedly international flavor.