Windrose (Magill's Literary Annual 1981)
This extremely handsome book, produced with the taste and care which have come to characterize the publications of the University of Utah Press, brings together most of the work in Brewster Ghiselin’s four earlier collections, and adds to them twenty-four new poems. Specifically, it contains most of the poems, now carefully rearranged, from Against the Circle (1946) and The Nets (1955); all but a few poems (in Italian) from Country of the Minotaur (1970), and all of the poems printed in a handsome limited edition, Light (1978). The new poems, arranged in two groups, “Waters” and “Shapes, Vanishings,” reveal a finely honed sensibility not yet content with the dazzling successes of earlier work.
Over the past fifty years, American poetry seems to have become increasingly preoccupied with the personal, manifested as confession or subjective vision. What this means, or whether it is good or bad, is not pertinent here; it is noted because in such a context, Ghiselin’s poems are rather startling for the vastness of their scope, and for the reticence of those few poems which seem to arise from the poet’s close involvements with other people. Ghiselin’s subject is most often the place of man in nature—nature in the broadest sense, as when a particle physicist says, “In theory, quarks exist in nature.” Such an utterance takes readers some way from the Nature of British verse or landscape painting; and...
(The entire section is 2307 words.)
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