Books: Kin to the Bat

WORDS FOR THE WIND (212 pp.)—Theodore Roethke—Doubleday ($4).

The shape of a rat?

It's bigger than that.

It's less than a leg

And more

than a nose,

Just under the water

It usually goes.

Like the rat in his incantatory verse, Theodore Roethke writes poetry in which the meaning is just beneath the surface, with only the end of its nose showing. Perhaps the best of the U.S. poetic generation that is wedged between the spare witticisms of Wallace Stevens and the distempered howls of Allen Ginsberg's Beat Generation, 50-year-old Poet Roethke has restored simplicity to the tortured, packed lines of U.S. moderns. He has...

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