Spring 1945 • Vol. VII No. 2 NonfictionApril 1, 1945 |

In Defense of Dylan Thomas

Sir: In your Winter '44 issue, Arthur Mizener speaks of . . . the widespread adoption among the younger poets (I mean those who have developed since Auden) of the decorative baroque style; Barker, Thomas, Rodgers, Shapiro, Lowell—the real interest of poets like these is, not in the subject in the ordinary sense, but in the verbalized details of the subject; and the characteristic product of this kind of interest is a poem in which a very simple structure of meaning supports a vast and intricate elaboration of highly colored details. Critical estimation should establish the wide differences rather than the surface similarities (rhythm, landscape, vocabulary) among these writers. The separation of subject and detail, in Thomas particularly, is not justified. It requires that we assume that the actual subject is not proposed, illuminated and exactly defined from line to line or image to image throughout the whole poem, but that it is a special and separate "motive" of t

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