Saturday, February 24, 2018

Not Too Hurried

Gosh, James Merrill is such a demanding poet. I've just finished the first of the sequences in the Collected Poems, First Poems from 1951, and it's amazingly confident and assured for the young writer he was then. Each poem has a kind of certainty in the way the thoughts weave in and out of the often very obviously formally complex choices of verse such that you can't help but feel inadequate at those moments when the subtlety of those thoughts leaves you trailing behind, which for me is often, I'm afraid. But not so often that the work is inaccessible.

I'm more than happy to read on, but with more that 800 pages to go I can't see finishing the full volume any time soon.

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