Books: Coming Clean

YOUNG HEARTS CRYING by Richard Yates Delacorte; 347 pages; $16.95

Michael Davenport is not often on to himself. His life, a spiraling series of small revelations, major evasions and consequent breakdowns, bears down on him untidily and at unexpected moments. He manages, struggling, to still his madness. He succeeds, periodically, in publishing some poetry. Out of all three volumes, there are some indications that one poem will endure. It is called, with a combination of confessional irony and innuendo, Coming Clean.

There seems to be no way for Davenport to establish any kind of permanent, personal order, no means of giving up the...

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