A Divided Voice: Poems

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Francis Sparshott is a professor of ethics and the author of a remarkable book on aesthetics. His first collection of verse, which will fulfil the expectations of all who have been attracted to his poetry in the literary quartiles, is given distinction and a unique flavour by combining a philosopher's perceptiveness and detachment with the gusto and romanticism of a man who is devoted to the ordinary, homely experiences of life. The whole collection is pervaded by his wit, which is distilled in some excellent light verse and becomes truly comic in 'Lines for a Future Astronaut' and 'Song of Rolland', and by poetic ingenuity and arresting images. His command of formal thinking is reflected in his elegance of poetic form and in the profound ideas contained in some metaphysical poems, of which the long, important concluding poem is one.