HELMET OF THE WIND by Nancy Cardozo


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Cardozo is not really a primitive, but both the best and the worst in her poetry arise from its primitive characteristics. The best is very attractive and it is not the sort of thing one can learn -- images, for example, like butterfly tents and angels dressed in lion skins, which are purely visionary, perfectly visual. They belong to a closed realm of dreamy lyricism and childlike pragmatism which has no less respectable a precedent that Yeats' ""island"" imaginings. But Cardozo is not so well adapted beyond this comfortable central zone. In reaching out toward a broader, more direct relevance she becomes excitable, sentimental, conventional -- ""Poets, children of time,/ Follow my footprints on the abandoned shores,"" she cries and one declines automatically even though it means missing the spectacle of ""stars and monsters coupling in the foam."" Better to remember her catalpa trees which by their own essential potency generate the lost atmosphere of childhood.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1972
Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill