Collected Poems: 1939-1989

William J. Smith, Author Scribner Book Company $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-684-19167-6
Smith's poems throb with compassion for the dead and the living, for the lonely and the failed, ``the alcoholic, the addict, and the freak / the actor who makes it for one week.'' The translator/critic/poet displays a versatile range, from light verse (``The Typewriter Bird'') to chiseled lyrics to free-verse experiments with long, Whitmanesque lines. His keenly intelligent poetry speaks of inner transformations, of a quest for the self, of the artificial patterns we impose on life's formlessness. Smith, who started as a 1940s war poet (``Because I believe in the community of little children''), seems more comfortable pondering life's vicissitudes, its unexpected moments of grace and illumination. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1990
Release date: 11/01/1990
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