22 MARCH 1930, Page 37

Mr. Seamus O'Sullivan is one of the least prolific of

poets, but what he does write is not the less worth reading on that account. His latest book, The Lamplighter and Other Poems (The Orwell Press, Dublin) contains only nine pieces and is hardly more than a pamphlet ; yet into this small space a wealth of imaginative work is pressed. Eight of the poems are those of a writer who is of his time but nevertheless under- stands how to bend tradition to his needs. Of these we like best " The Lamplighter " itself, a clear bubble of poetic thought, perfect of its kind. But in his use of the now fashionable trick of breaking the backs of words—that is to My, dropping half a word on to the next line—we do not, frankly, believe that Mr. O'Sullivan is being quite true to himself. The back-breaking may be necessary to certain poems as conceived : in Mr. O'Sullivan's " Sunday Morning " it is unavoidable. But it is surely the artist's business to control his words and conceptions, not to allow them to control him. And Mr. O'Sullivan can do that astonishingly when he likes.

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