Books: Of Thee I Sing

COMPLETE POEMS (676 pp.) — Carl Sandburg—Harcourt, Brace ($6).

Carl Sandburg did pretty well at West Point—for a poet. He lasted two weeks.* He failed in arithmetic and grammar and now, 50 years later, in the preface to his fat Complete Poems he admits that he is "still studying verbs and the mystery of how they connect nouns," and adds, "I am more suspicious of adjectives than at any other time in all my born days." On the subject of poetic form, form-scorning Poet Sandburg is a more primitive, less useful guide. Example:

Has not the square stood up and publicly called the...

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