Ronald G(ilmour) Everson Robert Gibbs - Essay

Robert Gibbs

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Going through [Everson's] four most recent collections I was aware of a true line of development. The poems of A Lattice for Momos (1958) are strong as individual things. They are occasional poems in the best sense. A bus ride, a lady stripper, a coffee with the poetry society, can start the Everson alchemy. Into the confined space of the occasion and the reduced physical form, he pours a disparate mix of associations, which in uneasy dancing suspension there (his kinetic jostling of word on word) fight it out. The encompassing spirit is still delight. (p. 118)

The view of things darkens and intensifies in Blind Man's Holiday (1963). The energy, now directed forward, is stronger and less overtly exultant. The poet still romps with the medium, showing a more than usual security in his craft. Occasions continue to give rise to poems, but the vision is more clearly a fusing one—the delight and fear or fearful delight of seeing all matters as inextricable…. The voice is pure Everson, though the wit and the close packing in of detail, often of a curiously unpoetic kind, is Marianne Mooreish.

Wrestle with an Angel (1965) doesn't wrestle as closely as Blind Man's Holiday. Something of the blessing won is here. The tone is more relaxed, the juxtaposing eye less astringent. The economy is still close, but there is a personal human voice and touch reaching through. (p. 119)


(The entire section is 554 words.)