In Time and Place

John Hollander, Author Johns Hopkins University Press $0 (112p) ISBN 978-0-8018-3392-2
Unlike the major poets of his generation, Hollander is a practitioner of prosody and continues to consider structure an end as well as a means, as shown in his dazzling display of control in this volume. Perfectly tripartite, it consists of a classic show of quatrains on the subject of lost love, a brilliant entremets in the form of a fictional journal that swallows its own tale, and a series of prose poems. Intellect abounds, and everything works like a clock. But while there is nothing to dispute, at the same time, nothing is memorable either. Hollander brings to mind the conundrum of the unidentifiable ""Rival Poet'' of Shakespeare's sonnets. In that ``contest,'' Shakespeare triumphed by what he called his ``rude ignorance'': ``I think good words whilst others write good words.'' It may be that like the Rival, Hollander has too much polish, refinement and intelligence to catch our ear and to endure. Even after this virtuoso performance, Hollander exemplifies one of the crucial questions in American poetry today: How will the great tradition extend into modern New World culture? (November)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1986
Release date: 10/01/1986
Paperback - 116 pages - 978-0-8018-3393-9
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