Books: Poetry in English: 1945-62

"What is poetry? Why, sir," roared Dr. Johnson to his ever-attentive Boswell, "we all know what light is, but it is not easy to tell what it is . . . It is much easier to say what it is not."

Poetry is not, unfortunately, what most poets are writing in English today. In the last 20 years, the English-speaking world has produced no major poet and scarcely a score of those minor bards who assiduously tune the lyre of language till another great man is ready to take it up. But if quality is...

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