THE NEW MODERN POETRY by M.L.- Ed. Rosenthal


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As everyone knows, Professor Rosenthal is a serious, perceptive critic of modern poetry, so it will hardly come as news that he has assembled a generous and representative anthology of British and American poetry since World War II. The work is especially strong on younger British poets; not only do we have well-received Ted Hughes or Philip Larkin, but also less familiar figures such as Peter Redgrove, George Macbeth, and other members of the Group movement, currently generating controversy and excitement overseas. Rosenthal further includes the recent offerings of Edwin Muir and Ramon Guthrie, elder poets who broke out of harness in their later years. Regrettably, however, the selections are arranged alphabetically, a sometimes unhappy format. The mock-Edwardian diction of John Betjeman, for instance, follows the harshly lyrical, American idiom of John Berryman. Then, too, we get a scanty sampling of Elizabeth Bishop or Ginsberg, and a hefty helping of, say, Howard Nemerov; and the reasons for the imbalance are not clarified by Rosenthal's rather elusive introductory statements. But there are bound to be quibbles over any anthology. Rosenthal's collection, as a whole, is a sound and satisfying enterprise, acutely demonstrating the newer technical and emotional orientations.

Publisher: Macmillan