Autumn 1942 • Vol. IV No. 3 Book Reviews |

The Humble Animal

What Are Years by Marianne Moore. Macmillan. $1.50   I've read Miss Moore’s poetry too many years and too many times not to have the feeling that both the poetry and my acquaintance with it will be unjustly represented by anything I write; I had rather say, like Graves’s Augustus, "Words fail me, my lords,” and go through the books pointing. This is Miss Moore’s own method of criticism, as anyone who has read one of her reviews will remember; so it would be proper enough to make my review quotations and a few conjunctions. Mr. Untermeyer has said that Marianne Moore’s poetry is not poetry but criticism—a mistake natural in one so imperfectly acquainted with either; a less representative critic (i. e., one with eyes instead of ears) might have said that her criticism is not criticism but poetry. She not only can, but has to, make poetry out of everything and anything: she is like Midas, or Mozart purposely choosing unpromising themes, or the princess whom a wizard

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Randall Jarrell was a poet, critic, and literary essayist. From 1937 to 1939 he taught at Kenyon College, where he met John Crowe Ransom and Robert Lowell.

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