PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Monthly Carcanet Books
Gratis Ad 1
Next Issue Helene Cixous We Defy Augury Carola Luther From ‘Letter to Rasool’ Sarah Rothenberg Ashberyana Jena Schmidt The Many-Faced Lola Ridge Helen Tookey Almost Drowning

This review is taken from PN Review 20, Volume 7 Number 6, July - August 1981.

A SEARCHING DISCIPLINE Anthony Hecht: The Venetian Vespers (OUP 1979) £3.95 pb.

The new volume of poems by Anthony Hecht is recognizably from the same stable as that which has given us A Summoning of Stones (1955), The Hard Hours (1967), and Millions of Strange Shadows (1977). Only the fact that we have not had to wait at least a decade is likely to occasion some surprise, for it had not seemed probable that the publishing habits of almost sixty years - Hecht's first book appeared when he was thirty - would alter greatly as he grew older. It is now presumably too late for there to be, in this country, a reaction towards Hecht that would ensure him the attention he deserves, so that to register a slight disappointment with the new volume, specifically by setting it against the successes in those that precede it, had better, I suppose, be construed as part of a more general disappointment that he has not found more apologists here.

The distinguishing feature of A Summoning of Stones was the way in which Hecht, to quote from his 'Double sonnet', 'made numbers human' without abandoning 'a grace won by the way from all/ Striving in what is difficult'. Hecht's commitment to what another poem of this collection ('As Plato said') calls 'nature's daily masterpiece' was throughout informed by a bleak awareness that, although he was in perpetual quest for an Eden, and distressed at how far mankind had fallen,


The place is neither Paradise nor Hell
But ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image