The kudos for poetry went entirely to old hands. The work of younger poets, many of them'wrapped in the academic cocoon of teaching, was downright dreary. The year saw the publication of the collected poems of Wallace Stevens, a Hartford insurance executive who puts a high premium rate on intelligence, but pays off as solidly as an annuity; and of E. E. Cummings. the aging enfant terrible who can be soaringly lyrical, typographically cute and earthily human, all in a dozen lines. It was depressing to think what U.S. poetry would amount to when...

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