Books: Macey

IN THE MILL—John Masefield—Macmillan ($2).

By stiff literary standards, England's Poet Laureate is an easy man to underestimate. But the very qualities that make his work minor (and made him Laureate) —simplicity, traditionalism and sentimentality—are also his great charm. Hardly less than Rudyard Kipling, he is a workingman's poet. The same qualities make In the Mill, the story of the days when he was an intelligent young workingman, one of the most engaging of his books.

In the Mill describes the two years Masefield spent in Yonkers, N.Y., in the late '90s, working for...

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