THE IKONS by Lawrence Durrell


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Mr. Durrell is a fine writer of poetic prose, but poetry is a different craft; and the brooding splendor of language, the intricacies of character, in Alexandrian Quartets, becomes something more limited in these densely-woven, stately, impersonal poems. Self-contained, classic (indeed) in tone, these poems are too thought-over to flow freely; and when contrasted to the vividness and Simplicity of much modern poetry, they seem somewhat pretentious at first reading, since they are not only formal but heavily laced with elaborate words and with Greek place-names and mythologies. It is an educated-English kind of poetry, and many of these poems have been printed (in other versions), and praised, in English periodicals; but lines like ""Your mauled roots roared with confused ardours,"" (referring to an olive tree) and many others seem over-crammed with images. Beneath this convoluted surface, however, there is content and strength, and a sense of a powerful past history seen through glimpses of a dusty present; a strong, simple vision which is at times matched, and not overwhelmed, by the language.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1967
Publisher: Dutton