Autumn 1963 • Vol. XXV No. 4 Book ReviewsOctober 1, 1963 |

Beyond the Middle Style

Geoffrey H. Hartman BEYOND THE MIDDLE STYLE THE BRANCH WILL NOT BREAK by James Wright. Wes- leyan, $1.45. TRAVELING THROUGH THE DARK by William Stafford. Harper & Row, $3.50. QUANTITIES by Richard How- ard. Wesleyan, $1.45. POEMS by A. D. Hope. Viking, $3.00. THE SPIRIT OF THOREAU IS ABOARD again. It is, on the whole, a be- nificent spirit, kindly disposed to heifers and horses, and dangerous only to moralizers. "The moral as- pect of nature," we read in Tho- reau's Journals, "is a jaundice re- flected from man." And, "Farewell, dear heifer! . . . There was a whole bucolic in her snuff.... And as she took the apple from my hand, I caught the apple of her eye. She smelled as sweet as the clethra blossom." Something has driven that mood out of New England to the Midwest, and there to James Wright "Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota," as the title of a poem generously informs us: Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly, Asleep on the black trunk,

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