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April 11, 1971 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 1971-04-11
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a. I F 4A



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books &

the arts

Marianne Moore: Too cagey to catcF

a magazine of essays and reviews

Arthur Penn's "Little Big Man"
More than just cowboys and Indians...........neal gabler
Two views on Reich's "Greening of America"
Reich's politics as a literary idea..... ..jim neubacher
Reflections on Reich from prison ............... john sinclair
Making a film in Ann Arbor
Notes of a cinematographer who tried it.........freddy sweet
Donald Hall's "Marianne Moore"
A deceptive prey ....................... . john alien
"Zinaida Hippius: An intellectual profile"
A forgotten poetess ......................... ..ron vroon
Pablo Casa Is' new five record collection
Thoughts on the man and his work ............ john harvith
Prof. Arthur Miller's "Assault on Privacy"
Man's fate in the computer age ..............frank munger
The folk music scene in Ann Arbor
Last gasps of a dying art...................luke baldwin
Herbie Hancock: Profile of a jazz musician
Music for the people by one of them'.......... ron english
Records: Biggs, Ormandy and the Czechs
Notes on a collection of classics .............donald sosin
Egbert's "Social Radicalism and the Arts"

pg. 3
pg. 4
pg. 5
pg. 6
pg. 7
pg. 7
pg. 8
pg. 9
pg. 9
pg. 10
pg. 15
pg. 16

(Continued from Page 7)
worth bothering about when-the
contrary truth seems so obvious.
In any case, Mr. Hall more or
less comes to Miss Moore's de-
fense by taking a semi-psy-
choanalytical look at her re-
current motifs and images with
an aim toward showing the
"animal" within the "cage".
.I will talk about this metaphor
in anmoment, but it is worth
quoting from the book first. At
about mid-point Mr. Hall states
"If there is a theme that runs
from first to last in Marianne
Moore's poems, it is the theme of
self-defense." In the last few
pages he elaborates as follows:
We . .. have wondered why
there was such fear and from
what source it came. I have
suggested that it was the
contents of the mind's dark
side that threatened beneath
the surface of the poetry. How
to protect oneself from t h i s

through imagination. Were the
conflict the real story one can
only imagine it would have been
debilitative - a "house divided
against itself."
What I suspect is at fault
in Mr. H a ll 's perception of
Miss Moore'sm work- is a too-
determined insistence on a dual-
istic view, either of that work
or of the world generally. That
particular quality and potency
of imagination which he sees
Miss Moore wearing as armor
against "the contents of the
mind'sdark side" might perhaps
better bercharacterized as a
synthesizer, a bridge between
two distinct though not oppos-
ing modes of consciousness.
There is something unduly Cal-
vinistic in equating the non-
rational province of conscious-
ness with "the mind's dark
It seems to me that M is s

It is worth reading, even if it does nothing
more than send one back to Miss Moore s
poetry, a little more determined to revel, a
little less eager to understand.
JIJJ."J.Y.>"> : :LYL :ll . N S.L:Y!J SLL :: LLLCsiis:ss:Ii : .:":r: } :"::. ".sisie iagsis~ isim isim

poetry." On p. 47, on the other
hand, he states that "At no
time do I feel Miss Moore's pre-
sence more closely than when I
am noticing the means she has
taken to preserve her syllable
count." The contradiction here
is not so real as it is apparent,
of course, but there remains a
hint that even in this area of
aesthetics Mr. Hall feels too
keenly the conceptual dualism of
style and content - leaning at
times toward the one, at times
toward the other.
Again, it seems to me that
Miss Moore is most present,"
most pleasurable, neither- when
she is "losing control" in the
rush of feeling nor whenhshe is
exercising control in the deli-
cate footwork of her syllabics. It
is when she brings her theme
and her form into perfect align-
ment that she is most dazzling
-- when she illustrates the es-
sential unity of those distinct
modes of being that we refer to
as "form" and content".
One thinks, for example, of
a momentin a poem like "The
Mind Is an Enchanting Thing."
The poem has six stanzas of six
lines each, the syllable count
per line cut consistently through-
out the six stanzas to the fol-
lowing pattern: 6- 5 - 4 - 6 -
8 - 9. Consistently, that is, with
one exception: in the fourth
stanza Miss Moore offers one of
several definitions of the mind
by saying "it's conscientious in-
consistency" - slyly increasing
the syllable count of the last line
in this one stanza from 9 to 10
... which may be the most con-
scientious inconsistency ever im-
mortalized in print!
There are minor problems in
Mr. Hall's prose style from time
to time. What is one to make
of a sentence like this: "F r o m
Sinclair Lewis to H. L. Menck-
en, to the expatriates Eliot and
Pound, America seemed s un k
in materialism." One doubts if

America was sunk in material-
ism from Lewis to Mencken the
way it might be from sea to
shining sea, but that does seem
to be the sense of the construc-
The real difficulty in coming
to grips with Miss Moore, of
course, is Miss Moore herself.
She is simply too cagey an ani-
mal to be trapped into any easy
semi-psychoanalytical, s e m i -
biographical, semi-aesthetic bag.
She eludes even the most loving
of efforts to grasp, to hold, to
penetrate her. Marianne Moore:
The Cage and the Animal leav-
es most of the final and many
of the intermediate w o r d s still
to be said. It is nonetheless
worth the reading, even if it
does nothing more than send one
back to Miss Moore's poetry a
little more determined to revel,

171 :

for the best dec


Henderson Ford Sales
3480 Jackson Rd.
Ann Arbor

This limited work may be a catalyst

.. norm wilson

NEAL GABLER is a senior in political
science who has been The Daily's chief
film critic for two years
FREDDY SWEET is a graduate student in
camp lit and a teaching fellow "in the
Residential College
JOHN ALLEN teaches a course on film in
the RC and is a grad in American Studies
RON VROON is a grad in Russian Litera-
ture and specializes in 20th Century
JOHN HARVITH is a second year law
RON ENGLISH teaches creative writing
at Eastern and is a jazz guitarist active in
the Detroit scene

JOHN SINCLAIR, chairman of the White
Panther Party, is currently in Wayne
County Jail awaiting trial in the CIA
bombing case and serving time on a
9%Z-10 year dope rap
JIM NEUBACHER is the former editorial
page editor of The Daily
FRANK MUNGER has a law degree from
the 'U' and is currently a doctoral can-
didate in sociology
LUKE BALDWIN is a folk singer who has
played in Ann Arbor and Saratoga
DONALD SOSIN is a sophomore -in the
School of Music
NORM WILSON, a grad student in comp
lit, is currently teaching in the Humanities
Dept. of the Engineering College.

unnamed danger has been the
obsessive theme of much of
Miss Moore's poetry and a
variety of armor has been
tried. Yet all the time imag-
ination, functioning as image-
maker, has been the ultimate
At this point Mr. Hall's own
images begin to be troublesome.
Putting an animal in a cage is
certainly a form of self-defense.
Putting oneself in a cage
through which the animal can-
not penetrate is also a form of
self-defense. Either way, how-
ever, there is some loss of free-
dom, some sense of victor and
vanquished. To put on armor
against oneself, especially
against that part of oneself
from which flows the vitality
and gutsiness of one's poetry,
is to be sadly and stultifyingly
schizoid. At no point does Mr.
Hall suggest that Miss Moore's
poetry has suffered from such
a split, of course; on the con-
trary he seems to see in this
conflict the dynamic of her
work. What an analysis of the
split does, however, is to de-
tract attention of the rational
and non-rational, the transcen-
dence of a potential conflict

Moore's peculiar vitality~'is not
merely the achievement of some
sort of equilibrium between the
dark and the wall-litsides of the
mind but the more dazzling feat
of finding and expressing the
complementariness of those two
modes of psychic activity better
characterized as the rational
and non-rational. Her poetry
constitutes a territory wherein
the wolf and the lamb, the leop-
ard and the kid, are not kept at
bay or in their separate though
adjacent enclosures but where-
in they lie down together and
dwell in dynamic unity.
When it comes to Miss Moore's
technique, Mr. Hall is more
conscious of this synthesizing
power of her imagination. He
goes so far as to state that
"In Miss Moore's poetry, form
is synonymous with content."
This seems to me both unchal-
lengable and the truest measure
of her accomplishment as a
great poet.
Even here, however, there are
some problems in Mr. Hall's
book. On p. 14 he states that "It
is these moments when control
is lost, these eruptions of feel-
ing, that are for me the great-
est pleasure in Marianne Moore's

. How about a
c' with
to complimr
India Ar
3 30 Maynard

I. p

Books and the Arts is published by The Michigan Daily, 420 Maynard, Ann Arbor,
Michigan. The book reviews were edited by Robert Conrow, the arts reviews by
Anita Crone. Layout and editorial assistance by Jim Neubacher. Photographic assist-
ance by Jim Judkis and Sara Krulwich.
Cover photo by Magdalene Sinclair



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Sunday, Apri I 11, 1971 Sunday, April 11, 1971


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