Sunday, 23 April 2000

From "The Poetry of Keston Sutherland"

By Simon Jarvis.

A line such as “Down to the last tilt of the wish split head” could quite easily take its place as a finely subtle variant in the metrical set of the English heroic line. Its internal chiasmus and assonance would be nothing without the way its delicately judged melody of emphasis accompanies a kind of compressed thinking. This happens quite often in Milne; the line I quoted need not bear any specially symbolic burden of the kind that Coleridge took to be an inevitable feature of metrical language. The line does not stand for some order of value merely by virtue of the way it recalls some metrical set, whereas if such a line were to have appeared in the middle of one of Pound’s cantos it would have concentrated all the pathos of lost value upon itself.

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