James Merrill Poetry: American Poets Analysis - Essay

James Merrill Poetry: American Poets Analysis

(Poets and Poetry in America)

James Merrill’s poetry is lyrical, and most of it was written in traditional forms. He was, indeed, a master of the lyric; his ingenious rhymes and subtle utilization of the envelope quatrain (one of his favorite forms), the sonnet, and other forms are almost overwhelming. Helen Vendler, one of the country’s best-known critics, called his lyrical gift “ravishing.” The poems in his first six books were mostly short ones, but with the publication of Divine Comedies, he began writing a series of long narrative poems that he brought together in The Changing Light at Sandover. Since then a considerable amount of critical attention has been given to this novel in verse. Merrill’s concerns include the family,...

(The entire section is 4684 words.)