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This review is taken from PN Review 28, Volume 9 Number 2, November - December 1982.

THE SINGLE RUNNING MIND Wyatt Prunty, The Times Between (Johns Hopkins University Press) £5.95

Wyatt Prunty's chapbook, Domestic of the Outer Banks, was commended in PNR 25, and his first full-length collection, The Times Between, is confirmation of his talent. The book does bear the family likeness of a great deal of recent American poetry-the meditative, inconclusive tone, an atmosphere of urgent but meandering revery, the slightly oblique notation of scenes and incidents so that many poems seem to evade one's gaze or to be slightly batty creatures with whom rational dialogue is clearly not going to work. I mean this kind of thing:


Uninterrupted days occasion us,
affording light, withdrawing light,
almost as if someone too far away
had thought but then forgotten why he thought
or, intuitive, had acted without cause
and, looking again, wondered what it was he meant.


He's not alone in his wondering, and a lot of American verse now sounds frustratingly like this. The language appears reasonable but the experience is evasively difficult for the reader to grasp. What distinguishes Wyatt Prunty's work from that of many of his meandering contemporaries is the way he manages to convince us both of the importance of his subjects to himself, and that this obliquity of approach is in fact the best way of conveying the nagging, unresolved significance of these subjects. In 'Winter on Piedmont' he writes:


Outside, the wind is sawing through pines,
exhausting the single running mind
that ...


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