10 JULY 1941, Page 12

StR,—If we can decide whether a prose translation of g

poem is poetry or not it may help us in this controversy. Having been taught early (and I suspect erroneously) that prose-poetry is a horror, I have

always regarded such magnificent translations as the authorised ver- sion of the Psalms and the last chapters of Ecclesiastes and Butcher and Lang's Odyssey as prose, not poetry. The prose is permeated by the poetic spirit and informed by imagery such as poets use, but the rhythm, being free, cannot be anticipated by the ear as it can in poetry. Some form of scansion or foreseeable stresses seems an Inescapable constituent of poetry. No doubt painters who make "poems in colour" and architects who fashion "poems in stone" are loosely referred to as poets, and similarly some writers now producing poems in prose claim, or have claims made for them, to be poets. But this seems a new and secondary meaning.—Yours truly,