Books: Poet in America

UNTRIANSULATED STARS, Letters of Edwin Arlington Robinson to Harry de Forest Smith (348 pp.)—Edited by Denham Sutcliffe—Harvard University ($5).

In the life and work of Edwin Arlington Robinson there are plenty of signs that, for all his accomplishment, he never got what he was after. His poetry is racked by tension between its tightly controlled, dry surfaces and a subterranean shouldering towards something grander and more universal than he was able to express.

Even during his early youth "Win" Robinson was something of a puzzle to the citizens of his home town, Gardiner, Me....