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This article is taken from PN Review 102, Volume 21 Number 4, March - April 1995.

A Voice of America: Peter Kane Dufault P.J. Kavanagh

Sometimes poets try to rescue other poets for whom they feel affinity. This can reach across barriers of nationality and language - witness the extraordinary story of Russian Joseph Brodsky alerting English Donald Davie to the 'thrill' to be found in Ivor Gurney - and it is time to draw attention to the poetry of American Peter Kane Dufault.

His work could be called 'coloured thought' - the thinking is about matters common to us all, the colours taken from the natural world. Another way of categorising him would be as the polar opposite of John Ashbery, for whom all is flux, and personal identity doubtful; at the heart of Dufault's poetry there lies a salty self. This is not said to provoke a faction-fight, it is a quick suggestion of the sort of thing we are dealing with.

Marianne Moore, Richard Wilbur, Amy Clampitt have publicly praised him; poets of a younger generation, such as Brad Leithauser, have championed him. Ted Hughes has admired his work since the 'Fifties and finds 'every poem has a surprise - every line pretty well. So fresh and new and itself.' Despite such support his New Things Come Into the World (1993), a selection from a lifetime, has apart from the New York Review of Books been greeted with so deaf an American silence that a yawp must go up from here, in the hope that even a faint echo of it might be picked up on the ...


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