BETWEEN MARS AND VENUS by Robert Conquest

BETWEEN MARS AND VENUS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

As an English poet, Conquest is a master of form, a modernist in attitude, a miser in content. Along with his betters (Larkin and Gunn) and his peer (Donald Davie), he launched a 1960's reaction against the woozy-boozy majesty of Dylan Thomas, the intelligence be damned angel of the Apocalyptica. Called ""the Movement"", the group produced Welfare State ""norm"" verse, tidy but tough, less elegant than exact, a knowing- glowing emp which in general touched everything and nothing and did it all at the same time. Between Mars & Venus offers the chi-chi contemporary (""Galactic Council"", ""Satellites"", ""jet""), the off hand colloquial (""My point of entry at this moment is/A dazzling girl seen from a bus""), the elaborately precise (""Pure joy of knowledge rides as high as art/The whole heart cannot keep alive on either""), the bluntly improper (""So now let love speak more directly:/ Come to bed""). Whether descriptive or psychologic, personal or public, Conquest's words, phrases, no-rhymes, end-rhymes, strict stanzaies, controlled experiments, all drop into rightful place like so many tokens in a turnstile. At his best (""Middle Thames"", ""Pytheas"", ""Man & Woman"", ""Horrow Comic"") he scores sharply and with style; the rest are respectable, representative performances. He should be well received, if not too long remembered.

Pub Date: May 24th, 1962
Publisher: St Martin's Press