Reading some of her late work, Hermetic Defintion, three series of poems ‘Red Rose and a Beggar’ ‘Grove of the Academe’ and ‘Star of Day’. Her own work and that of her Modernist friends looms large, while her use of myth, like the poems themselves (“news that stays news”?), strikes me superficial, which I’m sure is deliberate and due to her style (notwithstanding how little I know about it), while presumbaly having depth. That last claim is not necessarily too snobbish of me, as I was struck by how – despite being an appealing song – the speaker appears quite roughly in places, only to smoothed down by finishing the poem, or the poem’s form. Here’s the ending of the 5th poem from the 2nd series

in the dry sand drift,
I need not turn my head

to assure myself of the sea-ledge,
it is indented like a shell;
I know this, since I came here

before everything was over,
and befopre I realised an intimacy
near as the air.


I’m quite unsure how it achieves that wholism, but it could be, I suppose, a mastery of modernist technique and collage, one in which nothing much happens and everything appears to be on the surface. So I suppose what shatters is the poet – her self – herself.

I very much like how these poems sound, elegant, sculpted, though the collection has given me a bit of a headache, due to how the surface is where all the sensuous action lives/occurs (apparently her later works are linked to Plath, though you would never confuse – I’d guess – their poems, and HD comes off as so much more classical and less troubled).