Visible Poets

Many readers will fondly recall the earlier incarnation of Their Ancient Glittering Eyes (the title is taken from Yeats's Lapis Lazuli), published in 1978 as Remembering Poets. That book contained Donald Hall's reports of his close encounters with four giants of modernism—Robert Frost, Dylan Thomas, T.S. Eliot, and Ezra Pound. When Hall began revising for a new edition he decided, happily for us, to add his reminiscences of three more poets—Marianne Moore, Archibald MacLeish, and Yvor Winters—plus two interviews with Moore. The result is doubly valuable in that it returns a splendid collection of short memoirs to print and adds Hall's recollections of three other key figures in the history of modern poetry.

Hall has been fortunate in his career in several ways. He decided on his vocation while still in high school, and after his Harvard years, during which he was editor of the Advocate, he went to Oxford, where he won the Newdigate Prize and made the contacts that would aid him in coediting the two editions of The New Poets of England and America, one of the most influential collections of its type ever published. Later he returned to Harvard for three years as a junior fellow, then spent a year studying at Stanford before settling in at the University of Michigan as poet-in-residence. Unlike most contemporary tenure-hugging poets. Hall left a successful academic...

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