Books: Unpredictable Lute

BURNING CITY—Stephen Vincent Benét —Farrar & Rinehart ($2).

In the hierarchy of contemporary U. S. poets, Stephen Vincent Benét stands somewhat ambiguously as a comparatively young (37) singer whose heavily emotional approach to national concerns is slightly preWar, like his verse forms. A singularly unpredictable performer, he has been able to turn from so broad a project as his John Brown's Body to slapdash popular verses in the worst tradition of James Whitcomb Riley. In Burning City the contradictory aspects of his talent are laid out as if for analysis and dissection.

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