Books: Old Directions

NEW DIRECTIONS XI .(512 pp.)—Edited by James Laughlin—New Directions ($4.50).

Until he was 16, James Laughlin, heir to a slice of one of Pittsburgh's biggest steel fortunes,* hardly knew the difference between the avant-garde and the guard at a foundry gate. English Teacher Dudley Fitts soon changed all that. At Choate, in 1931, Teacher Fitts took spindling, six-foot Student Laughlin in hand, introduced him to the work of such dedicated modern versifiers as T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and E. E. Cummings. Laughlin, who until then had hardly cracked a book on his own account, burst forthwith into creative bloom, decided to...