TO PLAY MAN NUMBER ONE: Poems of Modern Man by Sara & John Terry Chase--Eds. Hannum

TO PLAY MAN NUMBER ONE: Poems of Modern Man

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Wallace Stevens' ""The Man with the Blue Guitar"" provides the title and the seven sectional headings for this anthology of sophisticated poems about man in the modern world. Grouped by subject -- e.g. portraits, the tragedy of war, wonders of life and death -- the poems are as mature in focus but more demanding in structure than those in comparable collections (Some Haystacks Don't Even Have Any Needle) and there are few light change-of-pace offerings. Lawrence Durrell's buoyant lyric is in the ""poems of love"" section: ""Wrap your sulky beauty up,/ From sea-fever, from winterfall/ Out of the swing of the/ Swing of the sea./ Keep safe from noonfall, /Starlight and smokefall where/ Waves roll, waves toll but feel/ None of our roving fever./ From dayfever and nightsadness/ Keep, bless, hold: from cold/ Wrap your/sulky beauty into sleep/ Out of the swing of the/ Swing of sea."" Also moving are Sylvia Plath on a bee box (""Tomorrow I will be sweet God, I will set them free""); Richard Wilbur's fire-truck (in ""phoenix-red simplicity""); David Wagoner's hold-up victim. (""My shoes and my money are running away in the dark""); Anne Sexton's confessing addict (""Fee-fi-fo-fum -- / Now I'm borrowed./ Now I'm numb""); and Robert Lowell's fall 1961 reflections (""We are like a lot of wild/ spiders crying together,/ but without tears""). Many of the other poets (mostly American) are equally well-known -- Roethke, Dickey, Langston Hughes, Frost, Sandburg, Gwendolyn Brooks, Bly, James Wright, Graves -- and a notable number are Bollingen, NBA and Pulitzer prize winners (all are profiled in the appendix). Names familiar from other collections are generally represented by different titles so this is a useful addition where interest, warrants.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1969
Publisher: Atheneum