Autumn 1941 • Vol. III No. 4 Book ReviewsFebruary 17, 2024 |

The Poems of Theodore Roethke

OPEN HOUSE. By Theodore Roethke. Knopf. $2.00 There is much in this book for which I care little, but every poet, I suppose, has a right to his own kinds of failure; at least most poets find them. At the lowest level there are semi-ironical and almost mechanically melancholy poems written in the meter of nursery jingles, more or less, and employing too often a kind of easy psychological jargon that has very little of precision: Delicate the syllables that release the repression;Hysteria masks in the studied inane.Horace the hiker on a dubious missionPretends his dead bunion gives exquisite pain. This is the first stanza of the best poem of its kind in the book; the rest of the poem is better than this, but it is not, I think, good enough. Horace hardly merits the attention paid him, and the sad irony is stereotyped. There is a little of the anatomical imagery which became familiar about fifteen years ago, with the first attempts to emulate the Metaphysical School. "I'm na

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