COLLECTED POEMS: I by Muriel Spark


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This is Miss Spark's first collection of poems to appear here and it is notable for the same unexpected qualities as her fiction. Death and graves haunt a number of poems, either by their presence, as in the long ""The Ballad of the Fanfarle,"" or as an uneasy echo. The many ""biographies"" or story poems describe people who are either dead, or else detached from life, either by their own acts or by the dry, remote viewpoint of the author. Heartwarming she is not. There is nothing about love, or even sentimentality; her themes are often bizarre or even surrealistic, and even a subject as seemingly commonplace as ""The Card Party"" coils into sinister, witty meanings. But she is also capable of a kind of grave, simple splender, both in odd moments or short poems, most notably in a long poem, ""Canaan,"" as well as several translations from the Latin. Splintery-sharp, mysterious as fragments of mirror and fables, these are disturbing, unusual, oddly interesting poems.

Pub Date: June 17th, 1968
Publisher: Knopf