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This first gathering of literary criticism by poet Warren (Departure) shines, much like her verse, because of her ability to make the past and present connect. Warren writes skillfully about English poetry (in a fine piece on negation in Thomas Hardy) and modern France (with superb introductions to the poets Max Jacob and Guillaume Apollinaire, though there are few surprises when she examines Rimbaud). She also advances fine arguments about how English-language poets use the classical past: Swinburne's adaptations of Sappho, for example, and Auden's Alcaic elegy. Warren's father was the poet and novelist Robert Penn Warren (All the King's Men), and some readers may focus on the few essays that include autobiography (more about Warren's own artistic development than about her family life). Other readers, no doubt, will find these essays too highbrow-and they do sound "academic" at times. On the whole, though, the book deserves great praise: Warren is a matchless guide to her favorite major poets. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.