Anthony Hecht’sCollected Later Poems and Melodies Unheard: Essays on the Mysteries of Poetry were published in 2003. He died on October 20. (December 2004)

Declensions

And every fair from fair sometimes declines.   I can recall how yearly The ranks of the GAR Detectably thinned out To an odd handful, merely; A bugler, perhaps a scout From that distant, mythic war.   In time their canes …

Aubade

Thinking of your blue-shadowed silk Is music. How shyly dawn slips out of its own absence Into its first pearl self, a nacreous birth Welcomed by silent stones—as though the world Somehow was cleansed of all hostilities. The wards of hope in every hospital …

Knowing the Score

De la musique avant toute chose. —Paul Verlaine The just man justices… —Gerard Manley Hopkins It is gratifying, as well as convenient, to have this generous assemblage of Seamus Heaney’s essays (a good number of which appeared in various earlier collections) now brought together in one volume. Some have been …

Treasure Box

In our bicentennial year, Charles Simic and Mark Strand, two poets of kindred excellences and temperaments, published an anthology entitled Another Republic and devoted to seventeen European and Latin American poets whose work was (and still largely remains) outside the orbit and canon of this nation’s taste and habit of …

Mirror

Always halfway between you and your double, Like Washington, I cannot tell a lie. When the dark queen demands in her querulous treble, “Who is the fairest?” inaudibly I reply, “Beauty, your highness, dwells in the clouded cornea Of the self-deceived beholder, whereas Truth, According …

Sentenced to Reality

This review was composed before the untimely death of Mr. Amichai on September 22, 2000, at the age of seventy-six. It took Yehuda Amichai roughly ten years to write Open Closed Open, a suite of poems, or more truly, a long poem divided and subdivided into sections, but thematically and …

The Case of the Dizzy Detective

A good argument could be advanced for allowing this little book to pass unreviewed. It’s trifling in a number of ways, and casts no light of any consequence on its ostensible subject. There is nothing here that will be useful to scholars or biographers of Auden, or to interest readers …

Naming the Animals

Having commanded Adam to bestow Names upon all the creatures, God withdrew To empyrean palaces of blue That warm and windless morning long ago, And seemed to take no notice of the vexed Look on the young man’s face as he took thought Of …

Portraits by Lowell

T.S. Eliot, in conversation with C.S. Lewis, maintained that poets themselves were the best critics of poetry, whereas Lewis opposed this view, declaring that one did not have to be a trained chef to be a discriminating gourmet. Robert Lowell’s prose is criticism of a very high and very special …

Recent Poetry

One way of indicating the distinction and quality of May Swenson’s poetry is to say that she deserves to be compared to Elizabeth Bishop. And indeed there are things in this book, which contains new poems together with selections from two previous volumes, that sound a note of indebtedness. Miss …