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It seems he is talking about a third book and about the poem that he put in that,am I right?

INTERVIEWER

I was struck on reading Land of Unlikeness by the difference between the poems you rejected for Lord Weary’s Castle and the few poems and passages that you took over into the new book.

LOWELL

I think I took almost a third, but almost all of what I took was rewritten. But I wonder what struck you?

INTERVIEWER

One thing was that almost all the rejected poems seemed to me to be those that Tate, who in his introduction spoke about two kinds of poetry in the book, said were the more strictly religious and strictly symbolic poems, as against the poems he said were perhaps more powerful because more experienced or relying more on your sense of history. What you took seemed really superior to what you left behind.

LOWELL

Yes, I took out several that were paraphrases of early Christian poems, and I rejected one rather dry abstraction, then whatever seemed to me to have a messy violence. All the poems have religious imagery, I think, but the ones I took were more concrete. That’s what the book was moving toward: less symbolic imagery. And as I say, I tried to take some of the less fierce poems. There seemed to be too much twisting and disgust in the first book.

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Lowell's first collection was Land of Unlikeness, published in 1944. His second was Lord Weary's Castle, published in 1946.

The poems which "I took" are the five poems in Lord Weary's Castle which had previously appeared in Land of Unlikeness.

The poems which "I took out" are the rest of the poems in Land of Unlikeness, which were "rejected" for Lord Weary's Castle.

  • Could you explain it to me that what is he want to say by "almost a third"? – user48966 Mar 23 '17 at 10:27
  • He retained nearly one-third of the poems: five of sixteen. – StoneyB on hiatus Mar 23 '17 at 10:39

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