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POEMS, 1970-1972

Graves has grown old, but for him it seems to be a process of intensification and, possibly too, the achievement of an unassailable position. The 83 poems in this collection (sections XXVI through XVIII of his ongoing Collected Works) are predominantly love poems, so exultantly autobiographical and so transcendentally pitched that they may cause discomfiture in some readers. Graves identifies his preoccupation in the broadest terms as "the hidden powers of poetic thought" which realize a "fifth-dimensional co-identification of lovers," a literal phenomenon that he takes care to distinguish from mere "idealistic fancy." To an outsider (as the reader will unavoidably be) the difference cannot be so clear, if only because it belongs to an incommunicable order of experience; or it may be that Graves places his passion and his metaphysics in a particularly close and exclusive relationship. The subject is a love affair — apparently platonic but in Plato's original incandescent sense — with a very young gift which will seem, if anything, ideal, though certainly no less valid It entails many moods, themes, occasions, a kind of cantata celebrating the love and the lovers. There are some poems more general and less problematical grouped loosely at the end, but nothing comparable in force or ecstatic music.

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 1972

ISBN: 0385062699

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1972

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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