Darwin in 1881 Essay

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In the following review excerpt, St. John calls Portraits and Elegies "an exceptional first book of poems," and "Darwin in 1881" "an affectionate portrait."

There is once again a taste for traditional forms manifesting itself in American poetry. This is good news in that it allows the reevaluation and a new appreciation, by a whole generation of younger poets, of those traditional forms and of some of our formal masters, poets like Anthony Hecht, Richard Wilbur, Donald Justice, Howard Moss, James Merrill, and W. D. Snodgrass. It is bad news because, perhaps predictably, it is helping to usher in a whole new era of decorative parlor poetry and exceedingly vapid verse. In our hunger for the least trace of formal consciousness (as teachers, poets, and reviewers), we've been too eager to leap upon the slightest trace of formal competence as the evidence of genius. As a result, we're finding...

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This section contains 507 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Darwin in 1881 Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Darwin in 1881 from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.