Kilroy Criticism

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Viereck's poetry was not initially as well received as his nonfiction books and essays. The poems, critics said, were lively and experimental for the time but that usually translated into overwritten and insignificant. Set against the erudite composition of his historical and political writings, the poetry seemed immature and unfinished. In spite of the negative comments, however, Viereck's first fulllength collection of poems, Terror and Decorum: Poems 1940-1948, including "Kilroy," was received well enough to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1949.

Reviewing Terror and Decorum, many critics still noted mixed feelings toward its content although the favorable outweighed the not so favorable. In the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Idris McElveen says the book shows Viereck's "energetic control of language for purposes of wit and variety in tone and subject matter," then goes on to note that "The volume presents a full view of his art at its...

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Poetry for Students
Kilroy from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.