In response to:
The Apotheosis of John F. Kennedy from the January 28, 1965 issue
To the Editors:
I must protest the inclusion of Of Poetry and Power in Malcolm Muggeridge’s omnibus swipe at Kennedy books in the last issue. He in no way suggests the range of accomplishment in the book, which includes poems by W. H. Auden, John Berryman, May Swenson, Gregory Corso, Josephine Miles, Richard Eberhart, X. J. Kennedy, and G. S. Fraser, among others. I wonder, indeed, whether he even bothered to read the book. He seems only to have glanced at it. For example, the two poems he excerpts are ridiculously mangled. One would never know from his comments the manner, length, development—and hence the achievement—of either. Surely anyone who had read the book through would not have dismissed its surprisingly varied and arresting poems as “obituary verse.” Mr. Muggeridge does not seem to know President Kennedy’s speech on the relation of poetry and power (included in the volume), nor even Walt Whitman’s great elegy on Lincoln—surely of more immediate relevance to the matter of this poetry than Tennyson’s “Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington.”
This display of irresponsibility on the part of both reviewer and Review is profoundly disappointing. Do you wish to review books or merely to use them as an opportunity for snide remarks?
David E. Sanford
New York City