Robert Pack Jascha Kessler - Essay

Jascha Kessler

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Robert Pack's sixth volume of poems ["Nothing but Light"] continues in the line taken through the last decade: He is a householding poet, occupying the thoughtful middle way, domesticated, civil, intelligent and curious about the plain, diurnal world in which we live, and should live.

There are many who think otherwise, caught up in the fantastic realms our stony, or metallic, society creates: smoke whirling in the complex winds tearing over our cities. But Pack has settled down in the semirural where the seasons, their animals, their plants and human creatures have their times and proper modes of being.

He asks questions of life and death, and meditates not answers so much as possible responses of the grown man to the common matters of family, past and present, friends and lovers. His forms are longish, open and running sentences, variously musical in an agreeable way, and exact in diction and phrasing.

He has grown steadily over the years, and my use of the term householding is meant as praise for his sure and accomplished management of thought, feeling, language and closed and open formal structures. He can be read easily and with great pleasure.

Jascha Kessler, "Poetry of a Semirural Householder," in The Los Angeles Times (copyright, 1973, Los Angeles Times; reprinted by permission), January 21, 1973, p. 47.