Thank you for James Breslin's review of "The Music of What Happens" by Helen Vendler (Book Review, Feb. 21). This was refreshing reading at a time when critics are busy displaying clever criticism, using new and ingenious qualifiers, in frantic effort to signify and preserve the stance of Modern American Poetry. References to Barthes, Maritain, Heidegger, C. Levi Strauss are rare in today's poetic criticism, and the lack of a developed human/ethnic psyche is ignored, limiting the growth potential of the creative process among the modern American poets.
In contrast, Vendler cares about poetry, and true, she is a remnant of the Stone Age of criticism, aware of the significance of the "reflective lyric in poetry and the limits of humanism," discerning angry women poets, the experimental poets and compiling/commenting on intrinsic poetic qualities. Breslin, on the other hand, is sharp enough to catch her nuances with clarity. However, Vendler's "limits" elude Breslin. Could that possibility be because in poetry, all elements are subservient to The Poem? Vendler wisely leaves "limits" undefined, the act itself expressing the limits of humanism!
ARPINE KONYALIAN GRENIER