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REVIEWS 211 PRATT'S COLLECTED WORKl E. K. BROWN In the career of a poet the first collected or selected edition appears late. The Poems of Duncan Campbell Scott came out in 1926 when he was sixty-four;' the Collected Poems of E. J. Pratt, the next of the masters, belong to his sixty-second year. Neither of the books is complete; wisely the poets sifted their earlier collections and kept only what reconsideration showed to be excellent. Mr. Pratt has'left out most of his first collection, A Book of Newfoundland Vn"se (1923), several of the shorter pieces in the volume of 1937, The Fable of the Goats, and eVel! the least effective poem in so recent a book as Stil! Life, the volume of 1943. His discriminations among his own poems are wise; the only exclusions I should question are those of "The Mirage" and "The Text of the Oath/' the former a perfect evocation in a sonnet of a moment of intense surprise, the latter one of those ironic comments on war which were characteristic of a sensitive intelligence ' in the nineteen-thirties. A few short pieces, especially in the section called "A Miscellany," might have been omitted without loss. What is specially I satisfying in the choice for the collected edition is Mr. Pratt's resolve to reprint all his longer poems ' (except, of ~ourse, the early and privately printed Rachel); for it is by these poems, narrative or quasi-narrative, that he will chiefly have his enduring fame; arid to his interpreters it is encouraging to find the poet giving them a measure of support in their insistence that this is so. Less satisfying than the canon is the arrangement: there are four sections, the first uncaptioned, the second "Newfoundland Reminiscences," the third, much the shortest, "A Miscellany'" and the fourth "Extravag ~nzas." Several objections occur. It is not 'at all clear why some of the shorter pieces were relegated to {(A Miscellany," while others were retained 1n the first section; the best explanation I can suggest is that in the first section Mr. Pratt has placed most of his recent work (except. for "extravaganzas "), -and in the third those pieces which are relatively early, unrelated to Newfoundland or less wholly satisfying to him. If he had been asked to abridge the- collection I believe that several of the pieces in the 'third section would have been his first sacrifices. Naturally the line between "Newfoundland Reminiscences" a'nd "Extravaganzas" is not an easy one to draw; in an "extravaganza" there might easily be a reminiscence of the old colony., It is a disappointment that the two great poems which made up Titans, the volume of 1926, have been separated, "The Cachalot" " standing among the "Reminiscences" and "The Gr~at Feud" among the

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 211-213
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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