The book’s title, A Thickness of Particulars, comes from a moment in Hecht’s moving narrative poem “The Transparent Man.” In it a woman of thirty years, dying of leukemia, has pretty much ceased to read (her visitor, a book-lady, has come with a “book-trolley”) and spends much of her time looking out the nursing home’s window, not so much at individual trees but at the “dense, clustered woodland” behind them. She can’t unravel them, find the riddle “beyond the eye’s solution”; and she wonders if there’s an order to the woodland she can’t see and that “set me on to wondering how to deal / With such a thickness of particulars / Deal with it faithfully, you understand, / Without blurring the issue.” Post’s title is a good one for a book that is suffused with the sometimes bewildering particulars of a Hecht poem; it acknowledges the looker’s, or the critic’s, duty to deal with them faithfully, without blurring things.
Friday, December 16, 2016
… Anthony Hecht’s Nobility | The Hudson Review. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)