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The erratic genius of this strange novel will be likened, inevitably, to Dylan Thomas, for here is -- in terms of a Vermont background- just such another poet, drunkard, philanderer, as Thomas is portrayed. Cheney was overwhelmingly convinced of his own deathless genius from his irresponsible, awkward boyhood on. Indifferent to anyone who failed to recognize him, whether anxious parents or hesitant contemporaries, Cheney went to excesses to overbalance his insecurities; but he never weakened in conviction that the diarrhea of words that poured forth from a fevered imagination, to be captured on any available scrap of paper, to be declaimed on the slenderest of invitation, were indisputably the greatest poetry ever conceived. He felt the world owed him a livelihood; he ran up bills shamelessly, borrowed- and rarely repaid, - from anyone; married the one women who first gave him proof of his masculinity -- and accepted from her undeviating, unquestioning devotion. They lived for years, flauntingly on his part, in a cheerless, unheated, unlighted, unfurnished abandoned schoolhouse in Vermont. There, alone, he felt he could write- and this he did until he crammed a trunk with his poems. Somehow, he got what he demanded -- never by his own efforts which were bungling and graceless. He took his women where he found them; his wife was chiefly a childbearer. And he won adulation from women -- and largely hatred from men, even those who nurtured his genius, brought his poems to publication, gave him the success that proved his undoing. It is a strange and tragic book, vigorous, lustful, unpalatable to anyone demanding any measure of restraint. Sex is the dominant urge -- more than any conviction that here, in his outpourings, is any measure of genius. And in sex, Pierre Sichel has spared no detail of excess, to- for most readers- the point of nausea... The book will sell- and rent -- but prospective customers should be warned what to expect.

Publisher: Lippincott