THE SELECTED POEMS OF JOHN MALCOLM BRINNIN by John Malcolm Brinnin

THE SELECTED POEMS OF JOHN MALCOLM BRINNIN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, poets both living (Graves, Auden, Spender) and dead (Donne, Hopkins, Crane) should be very fond of John Malcolm Brinnin's collection. His verse spans two decades, the forties and the fifties; the literary climate of those times hangs above them like a cloud. The early poems are complex lyrics in a neo-Metaphysical mode; they, like the middle ones, (more conversational or occasional), are full of social ironies, zeitgeist symbols; the very latest, being place poems (Prague, Switzerland, Cape Ann), are akin to younger contemporaries like Howard Moss or Adrienne Rich. They usually begin, ""Another hill town: another dry Cinzano in the sun"", and off they predictably go. Brinnin has grace race but no gravity; he's intelligent but not incisive. To be quite frank, Malcolm Brinnin is part of a cultural establishment which has made out of poetry an academic profession; that establishment runs from the campus little magazines to the New Yorker; it is almost exclusively staffed by small talents who writes small (whatever their length), scrupulously sophisticated poems on large seminar tables. Like Brinnin, what they do is smooth as stone and as lifeless, or sweet as syrup and as sticky. There are, also, translations from Andrade; these translations are better than anything in the volume.

Publisher: Little, Brown-A.M.P.