Collected Poems: 1953-1993

John Updike, Author Alfred A. Knopf $30 (387p) ISBN 978-0-679-42221-1
This collection gathers more than 300 of Updike's poems, some written in his youth and others very recently. Admirers of his fiction know that verbal precision, edged with wit, is one of Updike's hallmarks, and readers will fall upon his light verse with delighted recognition of its sheer cleverness. As a versifier, Updike knows full well how to use tools for the purposes of play, but he doesn't (usually) overindulge; even in the case of ``occasional'' poems, he polishes and polishes a passing subject with a certain modesty, until it shimmers: ``White Dwarf,'' written to mark the discovery of ``the smallest known star,'' salutes ``A little pill in endless night, / An antidote to cosmic fright.'' The trouble, though, begins with his sober poetry. For some reason, when he works in this vein, Updike's ear tends to falter, his judgment often errs and the poetry wanders into dangerously trivial territory. This is puzzling, since Updike's sense of rhythm in prose is exceptional, and his perceptions are bound so intimately with those rhythms. Not so here, unfortunately. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/29/1993
Release date: 04/01/1993
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.