This is a small book of 33 new poems, by a cool, careful poet; they are more, Graves says, than he publishes most years and have been unusually hard to write. This pure, calm, essential style is, in some ways, hard to read too. The emotion has been abstracted and often it is only upon rereading that one sees the skill with which it has been compressed to an overtone hovering around these spare statements about love- chiefly- and the poet's relation to love. Highly disciplined, they turn on precise phrasings, on intellect. Yet an occasionally rhetorically richer poem suggests to the reader that Graves has chosen this pared style from wider abilities. And it is perhaps this underlying sense of a struggle between emotion and style, between chaos and the poet's final choice of word and image, that gives these poems their most dramatic values. What he says about love is not particularly new, or even, sometimes, subtle; but the method is pure, polished, exact and often memorable.