Helen Vendler on "America: A Prophecy," ed. Rothenberg & Quasha, with Rothenberg's reply

New York Times Book Review Dec. 20, 1974 & Jan. 27, 1975

pdf of review and reply

Blake America

...On my American plains I feel the struggling afflictions
Endur'd by roots that writhe their arms into the nether deep:
I see a serpent in Canada, who courts me to his love;
In Mexico an Eagle, and a Lion in Peru;
I see a Whale in the South-sea, drinking my soul away.
O what limb rending pains I feel. thy fire & my frost
Mingle in howling pains, in furrows by thy lightnings rent;
This is eternal death; and this the torment long foretold.

[The stern Bard ceas'd, asham'd of his own song; enrag'd he swung]
[His harp aloft sounding, then dash'd its shining frame against]
[A ruin'd pillar in glittring fragments; silent he turn'd away,]
[And wander'd down the vales of Kent in sick & drear lamentings. ]