POETRY CIRCUS by Stanton Coblentz


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An attack on latterday Anglo-American bards, negligible but rather fun. Thesis: modern ""extremists"" have reached the apotheosis of triviality. Many of the author's objections hold for the classical poets he reveres--lack of study, excess of names and places, ludicrous wit, prosiness, ""no boy ever addressed a girl in this way"" could be leveled against Shakespeare, Milton, Byron, Cowper, Donne et al. His more snipes: poetry is often distinguished by printed form alone; and critics have often failed to winnow the wheat from the poetic put-ons. Sounder than some will think is his indiscriminate lumping old and new ""moderns"" from Hopkins to Ginsberg, but an insuperable flaw in his argument results from his refusal to single out the new traditionalists. He mentions and excoriates several anthologies but fails to mention Hall's, which includes many poets sticking to the rhythm, rhyme and ""poetic mood"", he misses these days. In short, better cases against the antipoets have been made, for those unwilling to leave chacun a son Muse.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1967
Publisher: Hawthorn