THE WOMAN AT THE WASHINGTON ZOO by Randall Jarrell
Kirkus Star

THE WOMAN AT THE WASHINGTON ZOO

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KIRKUS REVIEW

19 original poems and 12 translations, mostly of Rilke, by a deservedly well-known poet. Most of these are in free verse, free and lucid and limpid, slipping from the colloquial to the splendid without noticeable transition. By minute side-steps from everyday associations (as in Cinderella and in a long poem about a female New England painter in California- where customary fairy tales are given larger, more frightening meanings), the poet displaces reality just enough to cast long shadows. All of these poems relate to life, but it is life darkened with puzzled wonder and lighted with the commonplace grown mysterious. All this fits in well with the poems of Rilke which are even simpler and more mystical--pure, fragile statements of death, loss, the meaning of childhood, childlike but not childish. Most of this poetry has this almost noiseless quality- purer perhaps in Rilke's poems than in Jarrell's which depend more on words. But the work of both poets bear some of the cool, calm inevitability of the most moving and puzzling kind of poetry.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1960
Publisher: Atheneum