In the boldly eclectic title poem of his collection, John Updike employs the meters of Dante, Spenser, Pope, Whitman, and Pound, as well as the pictographic tactics of concrete poetry, to take an inventory of his life at the end of his thirty-fifth year—at midpoint. These cantos form both a joke on the antique genre of the long poem and an attempt to write one: an earnest meditation on the mysteries of the ego, lost time, and the mundane.
The remainder of the volume is a six years’ harvest of light verse and incidental lyrics—poems dealing with love and death, animals and angels, places and persons, dream artifacts and the naked ape. As a writer of humorous verse Mr. Updike is alone in his generation; to serious poetry he brings the vision and warmth characteristic of his prose.
About the Author
John Updike was born in 1932 in Shillington, Pennsylvania; he attended Harvard College and the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Arts in Oxford, England. From 1955 to 1957 he was a staff member of The New Yorker, to which he has contributed stories, essays, and poems. He is the author of five novels and lives with his wife and four children in Ipswich, Massachusetts.