Some rather exciting poems by a scholar and novelist in which a restless, acquisitive intellect and aggressive consciousness are just barely restrained by the verse. In a poem with a long-winded title (Mr. Guthrie is fond of sledgehammer titles) he toys with the process of poetry creation: ""Live in it a while/ and alter it/ shape it to your needs."" It's a method that works for this poet as he nestles into a slant of perception, or just a plain irritation while he explores and decorates them with labyrinthian allusions, instances and applications. (If the going is too rough in some of the mythic/allegorical matters, the poet has, tongue-in-cheek, supplied footnotes.) He writes of the savagery of abrasive contemporary life, the apotheosis of irony, and of the ""Hallowe'en at the Back of the Mind."" The poems are, all in all, agile, rich, strenuous.