Books: Melville in the Darbies

SELECTED POEMS OF HERMAN MELVILLE edited by Hennig Cohen. 259 pages. University of Southern Illinois. $7.

Considering the Selected Poems of Herman Melville, it is lucky that Melville's literary reputation seems secure. But then, so did the Pequod.

There are passable poems here, but only a few. The great body of these verses are jounce-rhymed, solemn and obvious. The contrast with the majesty and freedom of the author's prose could not be greater. Where Melville could interrupt the action of Moby-Dick to supply the reader with treatises on the history and anatomy of whales...

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