Books: Not So Modern Poetry

MID-CENTURY AMERICAN POETS (300 pp )—Edited by John Ciardi—Tv/ayne ($4).

Anthologist Ciardi, a Harvard professor and minor poet, 33, asked 15 "younger poets" (several are in their 403) to contribute a batch of verse to this volume and to write introductory statements about their work. It seemed a good way to present a fairly representative cross section of the serious new U.S. verse of the past decade and also to let the poets speak up in their own behalf.

There is only one thing wrong with the result: most of the poems are pale,...