American poetry seems at the moment to be mulling around in the ""promising"" stage, and often has not reached even that. A number of minor voices are given outlet and the recognition of publication with but the meagrest chance that they would or should command an audience. At the moment, four volumes are at hand, only one of which could honestly be called "" promising"". This is POEMS -1917-1942 by Joan Murray, published as one of the Yale Series of Younger Poets, and it cannot be called promising in connection with the author's talents, as she died at the age of twenty five -- but promising only in relation to the body of current American verse. This is a body of free verse, extremely personal, melodious and thoughtful. Often obscure, it nevertheless contains the seeds of real poetic gift, --intensity, melody and personal depth of feeling. In one poem, at least, the poet breaks through to a clear, poetic statement -- in Orpheus. This is a very fine poem, indeed, and one can easily imagine it set to music in a chorale by one of our modern musicians. The volume will command a small but interested attention.