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This review is taken from PN Review 17, Volume 7 Number 3, January - February 1981.

OLD WINE IN NEW BOTTLES A. D. Hope, The New Cratylus: Notes on the Craft of Poetry, (Oxford University Press) £12.75
The New Australian Poetry, edited with an introduction by John Tranter, (Makar Press) £6.50 (paperback)

A. D. Hope's was a name familiar only from reviews when, two years ago, I paid my first visit to Australia. I have since come to share the very high opinion in which his poetry is held, and regard the poetry of James McAuley and A. D. Hope as a phenomenon to which serious readers of poetry in the English language ought to pay attention. They represent at the least a significant variation on the pattern in which modern poetry has developed on both sides of the Atlantic since the Pound-Eliot coup. They rejected free verse and the fragmentation which accompanied it. It could be said that they wrote as if The Waste Land and the Cantos had never happened. Hope declares that at university he was 'never seduced, as so many of my poetic generation were, by the modish but essentially trivial fame of T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. They could not compete with the master harmonies of Alexander Pope and John Milton whom I was just beginning to explore'. The first sentence could have come from a variety of readily imaginable hicks or hacks. Its challenge, however, is as gleefully calculated as the company chosen in the second sentence. Let not the sophisticated reader suppose that he is encountering provincial crudity. There is clear evidence from a contribution to the magazine of Fort Street High School, Sydney, that James McAuley thoroughly understood T. S. Eliot in his middle teens.

McAuley was born in 1917 ...


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