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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 26, No. 9. 1963.

Style Individual And Readable

Style Individual And Readable

Distances: A collection of verse by Charles Doyle. (Published by Paul's Book Arcade. 46 pages, 8/6.)

Just to hand is Charles Doyle's latest collection of verse entitled "Distances." Mr. Doyle, an Irishman resident in New Zealand, is an impressive poet and one of acute sensibility. "I am a non-regional poet," Mr. Doyle informs us, "both by circumstance and by choice. In my work I consciously run counter to Eliot's dictum that the poet and his personality should be separate.

Certainly Doyle is a non-regional poet; and therein lies the strength of his particular craft. He dwells, almost exclusively, upon themes of a universal significance; his language is simple, his diction precise.

A Perusal of the 27 poems contained in this volume shows that Doyle does, indeed, run counter to T. S. Eliot's dictum that, "Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality." One finds in Doyle's work an unmistakable sympathy with the work of W. B. Yeats at least and, possibly, Mathew Arnold. In this connection the poem, "My Love Lies Down Tonight." is remarkably like Arnold's "Dover Beach."

In a world of "Hydrogen Bomb Tests" and "Week-End Amusements," as Doyle entitles two of his more bitter poems (poems which, incidentally, never reek of that banality these themes often evoke), only the Cross and the love of He for She can atone for: "Children screaming at emptiness. Blind man's curse.

Crippled lamentations

Of tattered bodies thrown

Into a pit of flesh

As putrid as their own."

For, as the poet further elaborates in "After A Retreat At St. Gerard's":

"in a green country
where the cricket sings
there is such heartache
at the heart of things."

Yet the work of Doyle Is in no way a pastiche of poets who have gone before him; his felicity for language and developing feeling for lyricism ensure an individuality of approach which makes this volume very readable.

The present collection seems to be yet a further stage of development of one who could go a long way.—G.L.E.