James Merrill’s Sacred Books

are no easy affirmations says the smug introducer, and so we clap. And, and so, as gay as a fish and as serious: James Merrill. In pink pants and gray hair James Merrill rhymes, funny and light, if not happy. And as for us we laugh to the wit, the ironic lilt of well-suggested reason the lowered voice, the effective drawl of New Myths; the simplicities of the old—but parodied. Self-reflexive in several voices “dictations” of “lessons” in “sessions” by Angels in Renaissance rational precedence, rhetorical and versed, an Allegory, or as my friend says a Masque.

28 December 1980