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Posted June 21, 2006
With Hecht's death in 2004, we lost a major poetic voice of the second half of the twentieth century. Hecht was a formalist poet in a period in which formal poetry was on the decline (although it never disappeared altogether), and he kept alive the tradition grandly, using updated language where appropriate, but just as often using a diction which challenged the reader to dig deeply into his lines to divulge their meaning. Hecht did not have the gift for aphoristic language to the extent that Richard Wilbur has, but his powers of intellection were on the whole greater than Wilbur's (much as Matthew Arnold observed of the differences between Tennyson and Browning). Hecht had a pessimistic streak, but could also be witty and humorous (see 'The Ghost in the Martini' and his take on Arnold's 'Dover Beach'). The strongest selections are those from his Pulitzer-winning volume 'The Hard Hours,' including such poems as 'More Light, More Light,' 'Rites and Ceremonies,' 'Birdwatchers of America,' 'The Origin of Centaurs,' and 'It Out-Herods Herod.' Highly recommended.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 21, 2001
if i had to describe Anthony Hecht in one word, it would be regal. there is no poet who looks more dignified or acts with more dignity. and his poetry is full of grace, dignity, and a quiet power. it is no wonder that hecht is as respected as he is. the poems in this collection are ones to be read slowly, over time, in order to fully digest what makes hecht such a magnificant poet.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.