Books: Light Fantastic

TELEPHONE POLES by John Updike. 83 pages. Knopf. $4.

Novelists and short-story writers are a glut on the literary market, but a man who can dance a light fantastic stanza without tripping over his dactyls is a treasure to be prized. John Updike was a light versifier before he became a novelist, and his latest verse demonstrates that he is perhaps the best player of the game since Ogden Nash and Morris Bishop came into their prime.

Updike has neither Nash's bewildered air of good sense wrapped in metrical nonsense nor Bishop's malicious delight in destroying his targets in a single, whiplashing line....

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