THE SECRET LOOK by Jessamyn West


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It is difficult to determine just why Miss West, who in her recent autobiographical Hide and Seek (KR, p. 53) had so many affective perceptions, does not make a go of it in poetry. Possibly it is because in her verse she keeps a careful literary distance from her experience, using as she does, aphoristic conceits, and repetitive but not explorative, images and forms. The poems sound derivative and there's a hint of Millay and others: ""So earth in sea and sea in earth,/ The eye sees double from its birth""). She writes of death, natural forms, and love -- which can cause the burning of dream castles or can run out like coins collected from parking meters. These poems glance rather than look and reveal no particular secrets.

Pub Date: Feb. 20th, 1973
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich