THE POEMS OF STANLEY KUNITZ by Stanley Kunitz

THE POEMS OF STANLEY KUNITZ

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Here is the record of a poet's 50 fruitful years, years in which he has written always in his own developing voice. This volume includes parts of collections dated 1930, 1944, 1958, 1971, and ""New Poems."" The young Kunitz grew up under the influence of T. S. Eliot and his school, and sometimes his early verse reminds one of their 17th-century precursors, as in these George Herbert-ish lines: "". . . The ghost/ Knocked on my ribs, demanding, Host! Host!/ I am diseased with motion. Give me bread/ Before I quickly go. Shall I be fed?'"" Middle Kunitz sounds at times like that powerful promulgator Theodore Roethke. ""The light that seeks her out/ Finds answering light within,/ And the two hands join and dance/ On either side of her skin."" The 1944 collection, not surprisingly, is concerned with the war just ending, even when it speaks of homely things. All these are delicate poems, finely felt and nicely tuned. It is all the happier, therefore, and somewhat of a surprise, to find the poet adapting so well, growing with his and the century's changes. The latest poems use occasions. There are translations (Ahkmadulina, Ungaretti, Mandelstam, Yevtushenko, Stolzenberg, Akhmatova) and celebrations of events (an exhibition at the Whitney Museum, a display of Lincoln relics), but there are also strong poems in Kunitz's continuing, very personal voice. ""I have walked through many lives,/ some of them not my own,/ and I am not who I was/. . . . I am not done with my changes.

Pub Date: June 26th, 1979
Publisher: Atlantic/Little, Brown