"THREE MOODS" cannot be reviewed as a single slim volume of verse. Inman has persuaded his publishers to bind together three full-size collections and sell them for the price of a popular novel, and his innovation is a praiseworthy step towards bringing more poetry to a larger audience. The three parts are "This I Know," a reaction to a world at war, "Hokusai Saw," an attempt to translate the atmosphere of Hokusai's Japanese prints into poetry, and "The Maples Are Red," an impressionistic chronicle of the author's childhood. "The Maples Are Red" is probably the best of the three. In his introduction Inman damns the "symbolic language" of the modern "esoteric fraternity." He says that he would "rather be a Herrick than a Donne, a Frost than an Eliot." The result of this preference is evident in a certain shallowness and over-simplification, a victory for sentimentality over sentiment. His liking for Frost sometimes turns to inferior imitation. One could point also to an awkward technique, especially in scansion, and a poeticized vocabulary. But through all these poems there runs a genuine feeling of what childhood and boyhood are like, that saves these poems for the ranks of good, if not great poetry.
"Hokusai Saw," on the other hand, is for me at least, a complete failure. Instead of a real transmutation of the feeling of the paintings to the feeling of the poems, what we have is static verse, bulging with adjectives. The poems seem to add nothing and to lose a great deal.
In "This I Know" Inman faces his most difficult problem, that of coping with a holocaust. His attitude resembles very much that of another chronic invalid, fifty years ago, W. E. Henley. "I am the captain of my soul" is written all over these verses, coupled with a strong sense of excitement at being alive in such a time. The attitude has not aged well, but we can admire Mr. Inman's courage if not his solution.
Blank VerseY OU DON'T HAVE TO BE an English major to enjoy this book. The Brand-X Anthology of Poetry, collected parodies
The British Invade (Again)THE BREAKAGE By Glyn Maxwell Houghton Mifflin $22, 80pp. The Breakage is a challenge, but if you have the time,
Mr. Black's Last Lecture.Last evening Mr. E. Charlton Black delivered the concluding lecture of the series he has given during the year. The
Less Genteel, More ModernPopular anthologies, like women's fashions, quickly get out of date. Publishers have always been pleasantly aware of this fact, and
Armantrout's Poetry "Reflects the World"With the waning day peaking through the windows that look out onto Prescott Street, Rae Armantrout, one of the world’s