Books: Poems Split from Granite

By the simple expedient of picking top poets and giving them a useful chunk of cash, the Bollingen Prize in Poetry has established itself in the relatively short span of 16 years as probably the most highly regarded of U.S. literary awards. Since 1948, when a distinguished jury stirred a furor by awarding the initial prize to Ezra Pound,* the list of Bollingen winners has amounted to a virtual roll call of U.S. poetic merit. Among them: Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, W. H. Auden, Conrad Aiken, William Carlos Williams, Theodore Roethke. After the 1962 award to Robert Frost, the frequency of...