Babette Deutsch Marcia Nardi - Essay

Marcia Nardi

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Honey Out of the Rock is far too self-conscious in expression to contain much of the rich warm emotional essence its title would suggest. The predominating feature of the book is its coldness. And not in the sense that many people mis-apply the term to so-called intellectual verse. Of skilfully painted snow or steel, may be born a fiery aesthetic ardor.

Miss Deutsch's poetry, however, is neither difficult nor obscure, and her words are connotatively sensuous and emotional. But they are merely words….

The whole volume, in brief, contains in its pages little that seems uniquely and genuinely Miss Deutsch; and that little is represented by an occasional line here and there instead of by any two or three entire poems, so that what one gathers of her personality is like the fitful fragrance a chance wind brings, rather than that we breathe in from a flower we may actually clutch and pluck. One is forced, therefore, to stress the imitative quality of her work, to lament the stubborn tugging at one's memory always for certain lines by someone else….

Marcia Nardi, "Honey Out of the Rock," in The New Republic (reprinted by permission of The New Republic; © 1925 The New Republic, Inc.), Vol. 45, No. 578, December 30, 1925, p. 170.