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This review is taken from PN Review 50, Volume 12 Number 6, July - August 1986.

BEYOND ANTHOLOGY Andrew Young, The Poetical Works, edited by Edward Lowbury and Alison Young (Secker & Warburg) £12.95, £7.95 pb.

Andrew's Young's Poetical Works is timely not only because 1985 is the centenary of his birth, but because the book offers a commonsense selection of his work. It follows the Collected Poems (1960), edited by Young himself, which contains only the mature poems and none of those from the first eight volumes, except in as much as they provided what he called his 'quarry' for later books; and Complete Poems (1974) which contained most of these early poems. The best of these are included in The Poetical Works together with the mature work and some poems published for the first time. Also included are three longer poems and three verse plays, among them his most successful, Nicodemus: A Mystery. Notes are provided; but more than half the book is taken up by the short Georgian poems for which Young is best known. In view of his long career as a poet it might seem unfair to describe his work as 'Georgian' - especially since that word still has prejudicial connotations for some people - but, though not represented in any of Edward Marsh's collections, Young's shorter poems comply with any sensible criterion of Georgianism. He is even guilty of its worst excesses: occasionally omitting the article for no other apparent reason than preciosity, and going too far for even the most ardent devotee of Nature: a falling leaf 'burst into song' ('The Last Leaf') for instance. In most of the poems he exercises greater control over his enthusiasm and ...


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