Books: Poet of Springfield

THE WEST-GOING HEART (448 pp.)—Eleanor Ruggles—Norton ($5.95).

Long before his death in 1931. Poet Vachel Lindsay was out of date; chanting about the heartland seemed naive to readers caught by the puzzles of The Waste Land. In the age of Eliot. Lindsay was remembered chiefly as the eccentric and faintly embarrassing author of two throbbing poems, the boomlay-booming Congo and General William Booth Enters into Heaven. Yet 15 years earlier, few had doubted that he was a genius. Author Eleanor Ruggles (Prince of Players: Edwin Booth) avoids outright judgment, but the sum of her sympathetic, somewhat sentimental biography seems correct: Lindsay was...

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