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January 29, 1922 - Image 18

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1922-01-29

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and Authors

"SECOND APRIL" finds expression in "Eel-Grass," "Low-
(A Review by L. E. W.) Tide," "Inland," "Burial" and "Exiled."
There are but two poems in the vol-
In "Second April" (Mitchell Ken- ume which fall below the level of
nerley), Edna St. Vincent Millay music and intelligible 'beauty. These
achieves that high distinction which are "The Little Hill," which is streaked
wi.th Sunday-School sentiment, and
was promised by her earlier colle- "Weeds," which carries the pathetic
tions of poems, "Renascence" and "A fallacy to absurdity. "The Bean-
Few Figs From Thistles." Here we Stalk" is a delightful example of Miss
have a true poet, an imaginative think- Milay's animated fancy, the nimble
er, gifted with insight and ardor, who meter keeping pace with the rapidity
of the action. But to name all the
writes with all the intensity of pas- other poems of interest would be to
sion, yet with the beautiful restraint repeat the index.
of a fine self-consciousness. "Second April" is filled with dia-
Miss Millay is faithful to the tra- monds of verse, exquisitely cut, clear
dition of English song in that most and sparkling. Now that Miss Millay's
of her work is rimed and metrical, but power, quickened by rapture and in-
she is successful also when she de- tensified by suffering, has come to ma-
pends entirely upon the cadences of turity, she has produced a volume of
free verse. Although she handles the genuine poetry. 'Second April" is a
sonnet-and she prefers the Italian book worth keeping.
type-with complete ease and famili-
arity, the best medium for her peculiar - SEA AND SARDINIA
genius is the lyric The plasticity of D. H. Lawrence
this verse form enables her to adapt
it perfectly to her subject matter yet (A Review by R. D. S.)
to keep that characteristic directness A unique figure in contemporary
which might be lost in the subtle pat- English letters is D. H. Lawrence.
terns of free verse. Sometimes she Frank Harris calls him a genius. H.
is content to use the old ballad meters; L. Mencken regards him as a nonenti-
again the tunes are individual. No ty. Of course, he is very likely neither
matter which she chooses she stamps of these. But certainly his eighteen
them with the mark of her charming volumes contain sufficient literary
personality. Even when she mentions value to entitle him to a pretty fair
Camelot, Pieria, Demeter, or Perse- bid for a position in the middle-ground.
phone, or when she writes of Beauty Just where this position is to be re-
and Silence and Death, the poems are mains yet to be definitely decided.
none the less original and her %wn, The gist of Lawrence is to be found
for she brings fresh vision and new- in "The Rainbow" and "Women in
minted phrases which distinguish Love," those two strange books of
her work from that of other singers.
It has been noted that color is lav-
ishly used in much of modern verse.
Color sense, so little apparent in anci-
-ent poetry, seems almost over-de-
veloped in recent times. Miss Millay,
however, has put away the palette.
When she does use a tint it is notc
so much in order to paint a picture
as to emphasize a mood. She is pri-
marily the poet of gesture. Her verses
are extraordinary full of movement.
'The following stanza from "Alms" is
typical of her favorite manner.
"I light the lamp and lay the cloth,
I blow the coals to blaze again;
But it is winter with your love,
The frost is thick upon the pane." l c
Few Figs From Thistles" was one of
frank gracelessness and flippant cyni-
cism. In "Second April" her emotions JUST IM AG.
have deepened. The very titles of the
two books are indicative of the change
that has taken place.
It is exceedingly difficult to single TH E FROST
out for comment any of the fifty poems 1 -.F
which compose "Second April," but
the "Memorial to, D. C. (Vassar Col- . SUCCULE-NT
lege, 1911)" cannot be passed without
mention. The memorial is a group of TO THE
six lyrics, full of exquisite tenderness
and poignant grief. The "Epitaph"e-
and "Elegy" are especially beautiful, The * os
and the "Prayer to Persephone" is
perhaps the most appealing lyric Miss on
Millay has written;
Be to her, Persephone,
All the things I might not be;
Take her head upon your knee.
She that was so proud and wild,
Flippant, arrogant and free,
She that had no need of me,
Is a little lonely child
Lost in Hell,-Persephone,
Take her head upon your knee;
Say to her, 'My dear, my dear,
It is not so dreadful here."'"
The title-poem "Song ofda Second 416 4TH STREET
April," might be caled a dirge. In-
deed, sorrow and weariness and un-
rest are recurrent throughout the
volume. Her intense love of the sea

"dark splendor." These represent prob- in the net of this European civilisa-
ably as well as any the ecstatic mysti- tion, but it isn't landed yet. And the
cism that marks his work, a weird net is getting old and tattered. A good
compound of psychoanalysis, the oc- many fish are slipping through the
cult, and the psychology of love, with net of the old European civilization.
an added dash of the pathological. Like the great whale of Russia. And
The personality of the author who probably even Sardinia. Sardinia
writes these books cannot bit be int- then. Let it be Sardinia."
eresting, and it is for the revealing So Sardinia it is. And Mr. Lawrence
flashes of Lawrence himself, as much finds a country that alternately pleases
as for the delightful vignettes and and displeases him. What impresses
descriptive passages, that his new him most is the self-consciousness of
book, "Sea and Sardinia" (Seltzer), is the people. They take life as a very
to be recommended. In this brief per- necessary but matter-of-fact process.
sonal record of the man Lawrence, we Their existence consists of giving
can catch a fleeting glimpse of his themselves whole-heartedly to the
curious personality. Here is the dis- matter at hand, whether it be prepar-
cerning observer of life, never mixing ing a meal or indulging-in the riot of
in, always standing a bit aloof, but a street masque. They seem to live
ever sensitive to the people and the entirely iri the present tense. For
shifting scenes about him, the most part, Mr. Lawrence finds this
Primarily he is an individualist, and, naivete most refreshing. Only oc-
more strongly than anything else, does casionally does the frankness of the
he resent the fact that, wherever he natives disgust him,
goes, it is not he himself who is recog- Lawrence and the q-b-short for
nized but simply an abstraction, an queen-bee, as he calls his wife-travel
Englishman. "I must insist," he says, via boat, train and bus. The people
"that I am a single human being, an and events they encounter are describ-
individual, not a mere chip of 1' Ing- ed in quaint vignettes. He has a man-
hilterra or la Germanie. I am not a ner of throwing in a paragraph or a
chip of any nasty old block. I am page which gives .a most lifelike flash
myself." of some ordinary. event. Here, for
It is this strong individualistic instance, is a lively little paragraph;
strain, Drobably, that made him choose "There is an altercation because a
Sardinia as his destination. He dis- man wants to get into the bus with
poses of half a dozen possible places two little black pigs, each of which is
and then decides on this island, "Sar- wrapped in a little sack, with its face
dinia, which is like nowhere. Sardinia, and ears appearing like a flower from
which has no history, no date, no a wrapped bouquet. He is told that
race, no offering. Let it be Sardinia. he must pay the fare, for each pig as
They say neither Romans nor Phoen- if it were a. Christian. Cristo del
icians, Greeks or Arabs ever subdued Mondo! A pig, a little pig, and paid
Sardinia. It lies outside; outside the for as if it were a Christian. He dang-
circuit of civilization. . .Sure enough, les the pig-bouquets, one from each
it is Italian now, with its railways and hand, and the little pigs open their
its motor omnibuses. But there is an black mouths and squeal with self-
uncaptured Sardinia still. It lies with- (Continued on Page 8)

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