Reviews of Contemporary Poetry by Geoffrey Faber, Eleanor Farjeon, E. F. A. Geach and D. E. A. Wallace, and Alec Waugh
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[ 733 Reviews of Contemporary Poetry In the Valley of Vision: Poems Written in Time of War, by Geoffrey Faber, Captain Oxford: B. H. Blackwell, 1918. Pp. viii + 65. Sonnets and Poems, by Eleanor Farjeon Oxford: B. H. Blackwell, 1918. Pp. 49. –Esques, by E. F. A. Geach and D. E. A. Wallace Oxford: B. H. Blackwell, 1918. Pp. 39. Resentment: Poems, by Alec Waugh London: Grant Richards, 1918. Pp. 62. The Egoist, 5 (Aug 1918) 99 Miss Farjeon writes sonnets with Rossettian echoes, but looser in form, more Mrs. Browning.1 She is most agreeable in the lighter Christina style: Dying leaf and dead leaf, Yellow leaf and red leaf And white-backed beam, Lay along the woodland road As quiet as a dream.2 The authors of —Esques trickle down a fine broad page in a pantoum, a roundel, a villanelle, occasionally pagan, mode of thirty years ago:3 Why then, O foolish Christ, Didst thou keep tryst With maudlin harlots wan With glad things gone?4 To which the obvious answer is, Why did you? Young poets ought to be made to be cheaply printed; such sumptuous pages deceive many innocent critics.5 1918: journalism 734 ] Captain Faber did not observe very much of importance In the Valley of Vision,6 buthehasafineheroicnote,andshouldapplytoMr.St.L.Strachey:7 Sublime! Oh, ’tis the very word of the age.8 Mr. Waugh is more modern, and would appear to have been influenced by some older person who admired Rupert Brooke.9 He is stark realism: Route march . . . field day . . . church parade . . . Wondering would it ever end, Wondering what the hell it meant. Picking girls up in the street Rather than face the empty tent.10 Mr. Waugh is said to be very young, and to have written a novel. That is a bad beginning, but something might be made of him.11 In retrospect, I believe Miss Farjeon is the least insupportable of this lot. [The above note on Mr. Waugh, written as one of this set of four, was printed by mistake in the June-July issue of The Egoist, with the result that the first and last sentences, taken out of their intended context, become nonsense.–Editor.] T. S. E. Notes 1. Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965), poet and author of children’s stories and plays, had previously published Pan-Worship and Other Poems (1908) and The Soul of Kol Nikon (1914). Her Sonnets and Poems and Geoffrey Faber’s In the Valley of Vision were the first two volumes in Blackwell’s “Initiates Series of Poetry by Proved Hands.” E. B. Browning, whose poetry included Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850), and Christina Rossetti (1830-94), known for Goblin Market (1862) and for religious poetry, were among Farjeon’s models. 2. From “Myfanwy among the Leaves” (30). 3. E. F. A. Geach (1896-1951) was the editor of Oxford Poetry (Oxford: Blackwell, 1918). D.  E. A. Wallace (1897-1989) was a member of the Somerville College (Oxford) group of women writers that included Dorothy L. Sayers and Vera Brittain. –esques: imitations of various styles. 4. From “Dionysia” (32). 5. The extravagant, large-paper volume in black wrappers with white title label was printed for Blackwell on Basingwerk parchment at a private press (Vincent Works, Oxford). 6. The poet Geoffrey Faber (1889-1961), then a captain in the London regiment (Post Office Rifles) serving in France and Belgium, had published a previous volume of verse during the war, Interflow (1915). After the war, he was elected to a fellowship at All Souls, Oxford. With his [ 735 Reviews of Contemporary Poetry colleague Maurice Gwyer, he founded in 1925 the publishing firm of Faber & Gwyer Ltd., which TSE joined later that year as a member of the board. 7. John St. Loe Strachey (1860-1927), assistant editor of the Spectator from 1886 and editor from 1898, was known for his literary appreciations and his Unionist politics. 8. This line opens section V of “In Memoriam. (M. E. L.),” one of several tributes to fallen comrades, the chief of whom was the poet’s brother and the book’s dedicatee, S. C. Faber, killed in action on 30 Mar 1917. 9. Alec Waugh (1898-1981), novelist and brother of Evelyn Waugh, was educated at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He was a prisoner of war near Mainz when this volume was published. After the war, he joined Chapman and Hall, the publishing firm of his father Arthur Waugh. 10. From “Autobiography” (61). 11. Waugh’s...