Selected Prose

Louis Aston Marantz Simpson, Author Paragon House Publishers $24.95 (516p) ISBN 978-1-55778-048-5
In one of the essays in this delightfully engaging self-portrait, poet-critic Simpson calls himself an ``unnecessary man,'' a man without a definite place in the world. His refusal to bow to trends or schools may explain why this Pulitizer Prize-winning poet is not currently fashionable. In limpid, sharp prose he describes growing up in Jamaica when it was a British colony, love for his Russian actress mother, the ``low emotions'' of his remarried father and stepmother, who treated him like a boarder, his service in WW II, subsequent mental breakdown and partial amnesiaout of which he began writing poetry. When published in the New Yorker , he bemoaned that magazine's ``tiresome air of facetiousness'' and its heavy-handed editing of his poems. Critical essays gathered here offer unbuttoned cameos of Rilke, T. S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, William Carlos Williams, Auden, V. S. Naipaul. In the astonishing prose selections culled from his journal, Simpson reveals the poet's essential gift: a continual sense of wonder at the world's unpredictability. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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