A Winter Tide

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By Robert NathanKNOPF
POETS in any age are of two kinds — those who speak with the speech of tradition, with a vocabulary hallowed by familiar usage and mellowed by remembrance, and those who speak the contemporary language, whose cadences challenge accepted codes and produce in their readers either a definite hostility or a sense of delighted discovery. Mr. Nathan belongs to the first kind. There are no surprises in these poems, in either subject or treatment. In quality they are a long way behind Mr. Nathan’s prose work. But his feeling is sincere and his irony unforced; his choice of words is precise and sensitive, and his melodies pleasing.