Robert Beveridge's Reviews > Winter Has Lasted Too Long

Winter Has Lasted Too Long by James Kavanaugh
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's review
May 08, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: finished, owned-and-gave-away

James Kavanaugh, Winter Has Lasted Too Long (Dutton, 1977)

I can't remember where I picked up Winter Has Lasted Too Long, my first (and, if there is any justice in the world, my last) encounter with James Kavanaugh, but if I ever do remember I will be sure to avoid that place in the future. Most of this is poetry of that earnest-but-amateur formal verse that normally (and rightly) gets termed “doggerel”, but every once in a while Kavanaugh goes really off the rails and attempts free verse. While I've only read this one book, I'm pretty certain about it when I say that there's a parallel here: it's when he goes off into free verse that message rolls over medium with all the force of a bulldozer.

“There is an integrity deep within some few persons
That will seldom be noticed or clearly acknowledged,
An honesty more demanding than any ethic
Enacted by lawgivers or preached by prophets,
Touching the very reaches of one's own being
Without regard for education or station in life...”

A page plus of this, then he ends the poem with

“The search continues, for it has been decided
That only such can save the city.”
(--”To Save the City”)

What city? Where? We are told absolutely nothing about it. I've seen (and reviewed) many, many examples of message poetry, but I don't think I've ever seen one quite this incompetent. It's all kind of endearing, really, or it would be if there were any humor to be found in this book at all; instead, it's tiresome and plodding, one hundred plus pages of this sort of silliness, though most of it at least rhymes.

Absolutely horrendous. I can only suggest it as a cure for either insomnia or constipation, though you run the risk of having both cured at the same time, and that would be as much a disaster as this awful book. (zero)

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