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October 29, 1938 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1938-10-29

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Page Eight


Williard Maas, Farrar and Rine-
hart, N.Y.
Belitt, Knopf, N.Y.
THE CARNIVAL by Frederic Pro-
kosoh, Harpers, N.Y.
A GLAD DAY by Kay Boyle, New
Directions, Norwalk, Conn.
Modern poetry, which for years has
suffered the limp slings and indifferent
arrows of the reading public, has begun
to show, even in this country, a facade
strong and arresting. It becomes increas-
ingly difficult for the common reader to
pass by the collective house of words
that the young American poets have built
without giving a very considerable part
of his attention to its color, dimension,
and purpose. In the four new volumes
under consideration and so cursorily
noted here, the properties of poetry as
practiced in this harassed decade are
served and defined.
litt has, in his own words, "uggested a
discipline of integration, rather than a
series of isolated poetic comments." His
success in this direction marks his book
with emphasis among the uncorrelated
and hybrid volumes so freely issued in
recent years. The growth of the man as
poet is traced here, from the loose beauty
In childhood, body wept to feel
The innocent anguish in the heel,
The impetus of blood and bone
To work some wonder of their own,
Some plaintive festival, intent
To burst its gorged integument,
To rise in rays, to spring ajar
In feathers like a pointed star
to the rational and brusque, illusionless
maturity of
What have we lived by? The gentler
Greece becomes
A classroom quarrel for contentious
And still the imemmorial errors linger;
The tradesman closes shop to dream
of drums,
And hourly, through the clash of silver
Nurses an anguish in his trigger-finger
In a short sequence of twenty-five
poems, Belitt has written a contem-
porary statement marked with the
steeled anguish of the sensitive and
contemplative man in a hard-knuckled
era whose spirit is no part of him. His
book is the severest and most selective
of those mentioned here and certainly
one of the most accomplished in recent
years. <
Willard Maas belongs in the company
of Horace Gregory, Muriel Rukeyser, and
Kenneth Fearing, though the fierce
apostrophes and surgical comments of
these compatriots is not found in CON-
CERNING THE YOUNG. Rather, he is-
the rebel with a new dignity and
strength, with a nostalgia that invades
his simplest poem likesnoke. With him,
tenderness without sentimentality comes
back to American poetry. He invokes the
dignity of what we might have been in
the same sentences in which he makes
active protest of what we are,
And whatever our hearts spoke
We shall remember now
As the moon curdles red and the hills
Are lost with the springs bright
And the naked trees in the dark
Cry out with dreams before we awake
With machineguns mounted on the
window sills.
(It must be noticed how, at this point,
Belitt and Maas speak identically. They
have a common enemy whose agent is
very real and workable firearms.)
The leafage of a Swinburne and the
spiked tree of an Auden combine in the
poetry of Frederic Prokosch to produce

a most effervescent sort of poetic bush.
Mr. Prokosch can swoon with the inver-
tebracy of a portrait by Rosetti and in
the next breath diagnose the known
world beneath fingers relentless and
skeletal. He seems the romantic stranger
in a world gone, one minute, into fiery,
celebrations over its own existence, and
the next, into dark, nostalgic keening

over the reaches of its sad geography.
His talent is facile to the point of slick-
ness, though, often in THE CARNIVAL
a line, a verse, will stand out like bone
through flesh. He will grow when, and if,
like Ben Belitt, he learns to practice a
"discipline of integration"
All her public life, Kay Boyle has been
a marginal sort of woman whose artis-
try, in the novel and the short story, has
built up an American reputation from
her various Continental homes, that
amounts very nearly to devotion. Now,
with A GLAD DAY, she joins, the poets
with a collection of loosely cadenced, un-
rhymed anecdotes, comments, and mar-
ginalia of many kinds. It is very clearly
the book of a prose-poet; the few at-
tempts in the volume that might fit a
general poetic conception are checked
and broken. There is magic, though, ,in
her Irish rhythms, so evident in her short
stories, and considerable structural
strength in the longer poems, notably,
"A Communication to Nancy Cunard"
which is the storyof the Scottsboro
boys, if Miss Boyle would relent and give
the reader keys td so much that is cryp-
tic, oblique, or just beyond the limits of,
logic, her book, like so many others of
its genre, might give the abnormal its
only excusable artistic function of illu-
minating the commonplace. Lacking
these, A GLAD DAY is but another note
on the margin of a never-written epic.
MORE," by Edouard Dujardin,
translated by Stuart Gilbert.
P New Directions, Norwalk,
The interest in this book lies almost
wholly in the fact that it was written in
1888, that it was- the first book even
written entirely in stream of conscious-
ness, that its author not only used this
technique but used it self-consciously,
even wrote a monograph on it, and most
important, that James Joyce by his own
confession had read the book even before'
he wrote A Portrait Of The Artist As A
Young Man and was strongly influenced
by it.
The stream of consciousness (or in-
terior monologue) Dujardin defines in
his monograph as follows: "The interior
monologue - in its nature on the order
of poetry -is that unheard and un-
spoken speech by which a character ex-
presses his inmost thoughts --those
lying nearest the unconscious- with-
out regard to logical organization - that
is, in their orginal state - by means of
direct sentences reduced to the syntacti-
cal minimum, and in such a way as to
give the impression of reproducing the
thoughts just as they come in the mind."
In the bold-faced phrase is the key to
the defect in Dujardin's style, a defect

which, in spite of his originality, makes
We'll To The Woods No More read like
a somewhat inept imitation of Joyce.
For Dujardin, still influenced by tra-
ditional restrictions, failed to break
away from the syntactical sentence, and
could not achieve the modern writer's
disdain for immediate intelligibility. And
therefore he includes in his interior
monologue factual descriptions of the
movements of the hero and the people
about him, which Joyce would have
omitted on both technical and psycho-
logical grounds. For example: "What a
bore he is! Always giving one the slip
like that! We are under the arcade now;
walking past the shop windows; in the
crowd. Better walk on the road. No, too
many carriages. Bit of a crush here, but
it can't be helped. A women in front; tall,
slim, heavily scented; shapely figure she
has, flashing red hair; wonder what her
face is like; handsome, probably. Cha-
vainne is speaking." And more generally,
Joyce restricts his stream of conscious-
ness to those elements which the char-
acter himself would have verbalized,
while Dujardin, less consistent, frequent-
ly verbalizes elements of which his char-
acter would have had only sensuous
awareness. Thus on the whole Dujardin's
stream of consciousness technique stands
as the half-way mark between the tra-
ditional narrational technique and the
highly accurate psychological interior
monologue of James Joyce.
Nevertheless, one can hardly minimize
the remarkable orginality of Dujardin
and the tremendous effect - which his
writings had on Joyce. For even aside
from the general idea of the technique,
Dujardin's work is strongly suggestive
of Joyce in many particular passages..
Dujardin: ". . . cold on the hand the
water is; my head down in the water,
brrr! Fine sensation that, one's head
down down in cool splashing water that
gurgles slippery sliding all over it; one's
ears buzzing, full of water, eyes closed
first, then open in the greeness. skin
tingling all over; sort of a thrill it gives
one, almost like a caress."
Joyce: "Enjoy a bath now: clean.
trough of water, cool enamel, the gentle
tepid stream. This is my body.
"He foresaw his pale body reclined in
it at full, naked, in a womb of warmth,
oiled by scented melting soap, softly
laved. He saw his trunk and limbs rip-
rippled over and sustained, buoyed light-
ly upward, lemonyellow . . ."
Dujardin anticipates Joyce also in his
use of recurrent themes, in the kind of
associations which he uses (from a cold
wash to the seashore), in the use of
snatches of songs and of puns (Louise
Apart from its technique and histori-
cal importance, We'll To The Woods No
More isa French novelette, charming
and unimportant.

nta gn
The big literary event in Ann Arbor
this month (aside from the lecture of
our native Thomas Mann, Dr. Lloyd
Douglas) was the opening of John
Brinnin's Bookroom on State Street. I
hope no one will object to my giving
the place a free plug, but I must say a
few words about the Bookroom. It has
a whole group of magazines that you
can't get anyplace else in town: Poetry,
Southern Review, Virginia Quarterly
Review, International Literature, tran-
sition, Science and Society, New Masses.
Incidentally, New Masses has been
publishing two Ann Arbor poets quite
regularly: John Brinnin and Norman
Rosten. Everybody who was here list
year fondly remembers Norman, his
poems, his plays, and his corduroy
While we're still with the Bookroom,
I must note a few more of its fine fea-
tures. It is carrying the complete Faber
& Faber list (British publishers), the
complete New Directions list (New Di-
rections is an interesting new publish-
ing house), and it has a rental library
of the new novels and the new poetry,
which is a real innovation. The Book-
room is also featuring a series of lec-
tures on poetry by Kimon Friar, poet
and critic. Mr. Friar's first three lec-
tures have really been good, and those
he will give during the next several
months will probably be even better.
For those of you who have been writ-
ing stories and don't know where to
send them-aside from PERSPEC-
TIVES -I am told that two new maga-
zines will be coming out shortly; one
is exclusively for college student writ-
ers, and will be called Campus. They
want stories, articles, poetry, with liter-
ary quality. The other one is The New
Anvil and "crude vigor will be preferred
to polished banality." Some of you
may remember the old Anvil, edited
by the same man, Jack Conroy, author
of The Disinherited. Anvil published
half a dozen well-known writers at a
time when nobody else would publish
them. If you want the addresses of
these magazines, get in touch with me.
It looks as tnough there is ging to be
a good crop of books this season. Hem-
ingway's new book is on sale in town
already. It has his new play and every
story he ever wrote. Looks like a good
buy. Knopf is bringing out President
Benes' They Gave Us A Country in No-
vember. Dos Passos will be in print
again with Adventures of a Young Mans
That genius Saroyan (according to Sa-
royan) is back again with What To Do
With Tigers, and Millen Brand (The
Outward Room) has a new novel about
a group of veteransin a soldiers' home,
The Heroes. Malraux's new novel
-L'Espoir,.is coming out in English this
fall as Mans Hope. T. S. Eliot will have
a new verse play out soon, The Family
Reunion, and Kenneth Fearing is hav-
ing a new volume of verse published,
Dead Reckoning.
These look good too: Robert Brif-
fault's Decline and Fall of the British
Empire, Felix Frankfurter's Mr. Jus-
tice Holmes and the Supreme Court,
six volumes of the letters of Ralph Wal-
do Emerson, The Chinese Fight For
Freedom by Anna Louise Strong, George
Seldes' Lords of the Press, Heinrich
Mann's, Henry, King of France, Art
Young: His Life And Times, Whitman,
by Newton Arvin, and Josephine
Herbst's new novel, The Rope of Gold.
One more announcement: PERSPEC-
TIVES wants to know what you think
of the magazine as a whole, or of any
individual features. So we will print

all letters which have something to say
about the things PERSPECTIVES is
trying to do.
Thanks are due to the Bookroom
and Wahr's for the loan of books
reviewed in this issue.

CHAD WALSH is a graduate of the University of Virginia, suh. Studying
here for his Master's Degree in French. -Aims to write poetry that is not highbrow.
MARITTA WOLFF won a fiction award in last spring's Hopwood Contests.
She is a junior from Grass Lake, majoring in English Composition.
SEYMOUR HOROWITZ is biting his nails over a novel. He is a graduate
student in English and hails from Buffalo.
CARL GULDBERG specializes in quick line drawings in pen and ink. Comes
from Suttons Bay and is a major in Architecture.
DENNIS FLANAGAN writes occasional short stories on evenings he isn't night-
editing the Daily and has contributed a story to each issue of Perspectives. He is
ELLIOTT MARANISS almost started a second civil war when several Southern
students were aroused by his Daily editorials on the South. A junior from Brook-
lyn, he takes deep interest in social problems.
CHRISTINE NAGEL is an art "find" arousing Artist Jean Paul Slusser's en-
thusiasm. A major in architecture, she is a member of Alpha Alpha Gamma,
Women's Honorary Architectural Society, and won a Jane Higbee award.
RALPH HEIKKINEN'S chief interest is football-he's a varsity guard-and
his creative writing is a hobby. "Hike" plans to enter law school.
CHARLES MILLER was a holder of a scholarship this summer at the Play-
house in the Hills in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. Is a transfer student from
PENELOPE PEARL, althougn from Baltimore, writes entertainingly about
Cape Cod. Attended Barnard College and Harvard Summer School. This is her
senior year, and she is majoring in psychology. 0
HAROLD PODOLSKY does interpretative work in linoleum blocks. Is a
senior and a Detroiter.

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