BEFORE THE BATTLE and Other Poems by Paul Oppenheimer

BEFORE THE BATTLE and Other Poems

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this first collection of poems, a member of the Hunter College English faculty glances off a variety of subjects, with earnestness, thought, and a certain diffuseness. The strongest poems concern the history and wanderings of the Jews; Thomas Mann; the autopsy of Galileo; and the death of Hoelderlin. In these poems, the lines and the emotional tension are simple, controlled, direct, and moving, and the meanings are conveyed straight from poet to reader. The more personal poems have a defensive quality. The love affairs they commemorate involve unloving and destructive women, and, despite the exotic imagery (as in eight ""Egyptian Sonnets""), the human relations they describe leave a feeling of youth, non-communication, and a dissatisfied war between the sexes. An incisive objectivity is present in some of the impersonal poems; the personal ones tend to be articulate but lack, too often, the ability to enter wholly into, and transform, a personal experience.

Pub Date: Aug. 30th, 1967
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World