Poetry News

Incorrigibly Plural, a Collection of Essays on Louis MacNeice, Reviewed

By Harriet Staff

Head on over to Wall Street Journal for this review of a new collection of essays, Incorrigibly Plural: Louis MacNeice and His Legacy.

Here's a snippet from the review, which focuses on Eliot's importance to MacNeice:

As a few contributors note in "Incorrigibly Plural," a varied and insightful collection of essays about MacNeice and his poetry, Eliot was central to MacNeice's outlook and voice. For the poets of his generation, MacNeice once wrote, Eliot expressed "succinctly and vividly" what they were "up against"—a lush poetic sensibility that had for too long avoided the harsh realities of existence.

In an essay from the collection, Anne Margaret Daniel cites an early MacNeice poem and says that certain passages sound "like outtakes from 'The Wanderings of Oisin' and other Yeats works of the late 1880s." True enough, but the poem has distinct Eliot overtones too: "Death comes for the prominent businessman: / Come you away to the black peat bog, / The driving sleet and the drifting rain, / Where the wee folk weave from the path of the reed / And the world is rid of financial greed." The black peat fog and the wee folk are redolent of Yeats, but the businessman and the financial greed would not have found their way into such an English poem before Eliot.

Even more after the jump.

Originally Published: August 15th, 2012