Books: The Limits of Imitation

IMITATIONS (149 pp.)—Robert Lowell —Farrar, Straus & Cudahy ($4.50).

Poets, like pumps, sometimes need priming. Schiller kept a drawer full of rotten apples, and sniffed at them whenever he required inspiration. When Shelley decided to invite his soul he took off all his clothes and wandered about the house, oblivious to the shrieks of such proper English ladies as happened to be taking tea with Mrs. Shelley. Pulitzer Prize Poet Robert Lowell (Lord Weary's Castle) likes to rouse his sleeping powers by flirting with other men's muses—he writes what he calls "imitations" of poems...

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