Winter 1966 • Vol. XXVIII No. 1 Book Reviews |

Young Critics on Young Poets

Death Of The Kapowsin Tavern by Richard F. Hugo. Harcourt, Brace and World, $3.95 I came to this book doubly prejudiced in its favor. First because I was recently frightened by a vision of myself as one of those critics who builds a career by automatically and ferociously disliking anything put in front of him. I was also prejudiced because a friend of Mr. Hugo's said he talks of poetry all the time. The poets I meet don't. They talk shop, but not of poetry. So I wanted to praise. It is with regret that I must find fault. Mr. Hugo is often a clumsy writer. Or perhaps it is fairer to say that the habitual syntax of his mind is foreign to me, so that often I must work to understand the lines on their simplest level. On second reading, they are usually clear; but this auxiliary effort gradually intrudes on my relation to the poems, since his poetry is not the sort one accepts as being difficult in this way. The difficulty is not a deliberate quality of the poet's strategy, but i

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