POETS OF TODAY VII: James Dickey; Paris Leary; Jon Swan by John- Ed. Wheelock

POETS OF TODAY VII: James Dickey; Paris Leary; Jon Swan

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Once more most readers of contemporary poetry will find the most interesting part of this seventh volume in a series, the thoughtful and discriminating introduction by John Wheelock, a poet in his own right. This preface is particularly good, stressing as it does, the role of consciousness, so prominent a concept in contemporary life. The poets he has selected are embryonic but full of promise. Of Mr. Dickey the editor says: ""his themes are few but recurrent"" (and we may add, not unduly obscure); so also are his metrical patterns. His poems do not derive from literature but represent episodes of his own personal history...Leary's work is, by his own admission, experimental. He has been influenced by Charles Williams, Tennyson and Edward Arlington Robinson. But Wheelock says,"" ..the depiction of character and the evocation of place, these are passions with Mr. Leary"".... Jon Swan is the least readily enjoyable of the three. His Journey and Return, his first published book, ""is as different"" (again quoting Wheelock) ""from the workd of Mr. Dickey and Mr. Leary as they are from each other. Wallace Stevens has told us that 'poetry is the subject of the poems' and while not denying that Mr. Swan's poems have a definite subject.. you are aware that the poet is less committed to the subject that he is what he can do with it."" ...This is a volume for poetic sky watchers. A volume collecting Mr. Wheelock's successive prefaces would be a welcome addition to current criticism.

Pub Date: Sept. 16th, 1960
Publisher: Scribner