Their Ancient Glittering Eyes: Remembering Poets and More Poets : Robert Frost, Dylan Thomas, T.S. Eliot, Archibald MacLeish, Yvor Winters, Marianne Moore, Ezra Pound

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Ticknor & Fields, 1992 - Poetics - 348 pages
3 Reviews
"Great poetry", wrote Donald Davie in the New York Times, reviewing an earlier version of this wonderful portrait gallery, "is a record of sanity maintained and achieved . . . I suspect that Donald Hall has written a modern classic". Young Donald Hall was fortunate to know and study with some of the great poets of the century, and to conduct interviews with others. This book, enlarged, enriched, and rewritten, lights up the elder poets it describes with freshness of approach and clarity of vision. Robert Frost, behind his performing mask, was not only kinder than his biographers admitted, but more egotistical than legend allowed. Hall catches him in both attitudes. To cope with Dylan Thomas on one of his sprees was as harrowing for young Donald Hall - and as productive of hangovers - as for anyone else. Hall got to know T. S. Eliot first through an act of inadvertent copyright violation, but relations soon and profoundly improved. Archibald MacLeish, at ease in the White House and the Library of Congress, was somewhat awkward among his students, while Yvor Winters, terror of the critical quarterlies, evinced depths of unexpected tenderness. Marianne Moore, unpredictable and zany, proved to be a source of wonder and delight amid the knickknacks in her Brooklyn apartment. Ezra Pound, interviewed with great pains in his old age in Italy, could barely bring himself to speak of his past acts and opinions. Hall's portraits of these giants of twentieth-century American poetry not only depict them as they were in their lives, but illuminate their work and their attitudes to it, born of diverse sources of talent, sympathy, and understanding. Other books on the great poets of our century havebeen either scholarly or strictly biographical. This book speaks of poets as poets, evoking W. B. Yeats's great poem "Lapis Lazuli": . On all the tragic scene they stare./ One asks for mournful melodies; / Accomplished fingers begin to play./ Their eyes mid many wrinkles, their eyes, / Their ancient, glittering eyes, are gay. No wonder that Hilton Kramer has written of this book, in the New York Times Book Review, "I am certain it will be read and savored for a long time to come".

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Review: Their Ancient Glittering Eyes

User Review  - Joel - Goodreads

In Their Ancient Glittering Eyes former US poet laureate Donald Hall recollects his meetings and interviews with some of the giants of modernist poetry, including TS Eliot, Robert Frost, Marianne ... Read full review

Review: Their Ancient Glittering Eyes

User Review  - Renée - Goodreads

*Their Ancient Glittering Eyes* derives its title from a Yeats poem, which seems apt, as the chapters of this book are the journey of one poet through the interactions he had with other poets. Hall's ... Read full review

Contents

Old Poets
1
Vanity Fame Love and Robert Frost
13
Dylan Thomas and Public Suicide
45
Copyright

7 other sections not shown

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About the author (1992)

Donald Hall ranks among our foremost writers. He is the author of numerous books of verse & prose, including "Without," "The Museum of Clear Ideas," & "The Old Life.

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