chapter  157
1 Pages

Review in Nation 1927

The thirteen poems which James Joyce has put together cover a period extending from 1904 to 1924. It was in 1907 that Chamber Music appeared and in the years that followed the poet was immersed in his various prose volumes. Poetry, then, was no more than a passing phase with him, a brief flowering of sensitive youth into what was, for him, a sturdier growth and a profounder metier. The few lyric snatches that evolved from his consciousness were (and are) unimportant except in so far as they predicate a disposition enamored of delicate sound and fragile rhythms, for the prime value of Joyce's poetry is implicit in a fastidious arrangement of vocables. Of the thirteen short pieces in Pomes Penyeach not more than three are dated to any one year. They are manifestly casual impulses, brief sublimations. Three of them, 'She Weeps Over Rahoon', 'On the Beach at Fontana', and 'Alone', appeared in Poetry: A Magazine of Verse for November, 1917. 'She Weeps Over Rahoon', with its softly falling pattern, is the best piece in the little book. It is to be suspected that this tiny booklet is a cleaning-up of unconsidered trifles, that it marks the end of Joyce's appearance as a poet, that his poetry hereafter will be found (as most of it has been found in the past) imbedded in his prose.