Fall 1965 • Vol. XXVII No. 4 Book Reviews |

No Machine to Measure the Poem With

Sound and Form in Modern Poetry: A Study of Prosody from Thomas Hardy to Robert Lowell by Harvey Gross. University of Michigan Press, $8.50. The subtitle closes in on Gross's real topic, and it is easy to get even closer: "Remarks on the Meters of about Forty Poets, Mostly 19th and 20th Century." The large number might suggest superficiality, but a reader will discover something else—an astonishing distance between the author at his best and at his worst. Gross at his best can pass judgment on a particular poem or poet in a way that is finally worthy of the theory of 1917 ("Tradition and the Individual Talent") and 1941 (The New Criticism). The poet has to be thoroughly congenial, as Edwin Muir, Theodore Roethke, Vernon Watkins, and W. C. Williams seem to be. Wallace Stevens as most congenial to the critic gets the best treatment in the book. Deft and subtle are Gross's favorite terms of praise, and no one will ever accuse Stevens of being awkward or obvious. With about

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