A GREEN PLACE: Modern Poems by William Jay--Ed. Smith

A GREEN PLACE: Modern Poems

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Twice as long and more traditional than the Kennedy collection (above), this anthology is also made up of unintimidating and relatively brief selections; but overall it favors the conventional subjects and stances of poetry and assumes a book-tamed audience. Though Smith includes a share of simple nonsense, the humor is often slyer, the approach one of inviting children into the world of poetry (or into Smith's ""Green Place"" where animals ""dance in delight by a quivering paw paw"" and ""a bell-flower tinkles by a trumpet vine"")--rather than going out, as the Kennedys do, to meet them. Rural or small town settings predominate, as do poems about nature, seasons, and animals; a section of ""The World Here and Now"" ranges from baseball to junkyards and a long-ago family drive (this by Janet Reed McFatter, who is heavily represented throughout). There are a few lyrical conceits and outbursts--Mark Strand on ""Eating Poetry""; James Wright's ""A Blessing,"" about encountering two Indian ponies off the highway ("". . . Suddenly I realize/That if I stepped out of my body I would break/Into blossoms""), but fiat restraint is more common; the love poems seem determined above all to avoid extravagance. It's a thoughtful, deliberately unspectacular collection, but not without variety and levity. And the number of unknowns who hold their own among more familiar names is evidence of Smith's care and judgment.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1982
Publisher: Delacorte