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This review is taken from PN Review 31, Volume 9 Number 5, May - June 1983.

PACKS AND SECTS OF GREAT ONES The Faber Book of Modern Verse, ed. Michael Roberts, revised by Peter Porter (Faber) £6.95
The Rattle Bag, ed. Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes (Faber) £10.00 (£4.95 -pb)
The Faber Book of Ballads, ed. Matthew Hodgart, £3.50-pb

It is impossible, reading through Michael Roberts's book on T.E. Hulme (recently re-issued by Carcanet) not to be impressed by the intellect and passion Roberts brought to questions of the nature of poetry. His exposition of the pigheaded but invigorating partiality of Hulme's ideas is masterly-and it is as much in his disagreements with Hulme as in his acquiescence that we catch the quality of his care. Whatever else his Faber Book of Modern Verse was, it was not a casually thrown together hodge-podge of things that happened to catch his fancy. He had absorbed (and realised the limitations of) imagism, he had taken due note of Hulme's 'thought is the joining together of new analogies' (an extraordinary assertion if ever there was one) and to these he brought his own concern for a defining originality of vision; 'A good work of art thus reveals something that is in reality. A new metaphor, a new myth, a new type of character, all these reveal a feature of reality for which we previously had no name. . . . Good art is a vision of something that will come to be recognised as a constituent of reality. . . . It is a new perception and act of naming.' That future tense-'come to be recognised'-indicates what he was doing in his anthology, taking out, in Stendhal's words, a lottery ticket on the future, betting that his perspective on the verse of his time was the one that posterity would choose ...


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