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The Elusiveness of a Life

In response to:

Poet's Gallery from the February 7, 1980 issue

To the Editors:

Helen Vendler, in her mean-spirited review of my biography of E.E. Cummings, Dreams in the Mirror, and Marjorie Perloff’s Frank O’Hara: Poet Among Painters, declared at the outset that “The only form inherently more unsatisfying than literary biography is its macro-form, literary history” (NYR, February 7). To give these books to a reviewer with such notions is like feeding a donkey strawberries, as they used to say in the English music halls—or, more to the point, casting Perloffs before swine.

Richard S. Kennedy

Temple University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania