Newspeak and TV surveillance ofnhigh-crime areas. All this fuss overnOrwell, in a way, helps to shield usnfrom the reality of life in the late 20thncentury. Liberals can play their coynlittle game of claiming, “It’s all happeningnhere,” and conservatives canngo on pretending that the main dangernto our society lies in the missiles of thenSoviet Union and not our own failurenof nerve. Brooding on Orwell makes itneasier to ignore the social and moralnimplosion which continues, unaffectednby the oscillation of parties andnpolitical labels. Orwell was too muchnof a journalist to take the auguries.nHuxley was something of a crank; henplayed at being an aesthete and experimentednwith “mind-expanding” drugs,nbut his best novels can shll be readnwith pleasure and a good novelist maynbe the closest thing to a prophet thesentimes can produce.nPerhaps it is Huxley’s fate to gonunnohced. The news of his death wasnovershadowed by the assassination ofnJohn Kennedy, a master of sentimentalnplatitudes and disingenuous pieties.nAnd now as, one by one, his predictionsnare being fulfilled, we chatternaway about Big Brother and tranquilizenour paranoia with a dose of prescriptionnsoma. ccnTed Hughes is the new Poet Laureatenof England. The announcement camenas something of a disappointment, althoughnHughes was, in many respects,nan obvious choice: a poet whose dominantnideology is the safe doctrine ofnself-expression, a modernist whonwrites unpleasantly about such pleasantnthings as wild creatures and thenEnglish landscape. There was hope fornPhilip Larkin or even Kingsley Amis,nwho have followings beyond the narrowncircle of reviewers, professors, andnwriters who define serious literature innthis modern age. But Larkin has beennthreatening never to write another linenof verse. Besides, his taste in versificationnand penchant for good sensenmade him too close to the previousnlaureate. Sir John Betjeman, although,non the whole, there is littlenenough actual similarity.nAnd so the mantle of Alfred Austinnand C. Day Lewis passes on to a mannthat calls himself Ted, known chiefly tonAmericans as the husband of the latenSylvia Plath. Feminists still like tonblame him for Plath’s suicide. In England,nHughes began to be noticed innthe 50’s. His ambitious and passionatenlines rehearsing the old agonies of lovenand death set him apart from the quietnand ironic tones of so much of the bestnEnglish verse of his time. Unlike Rob­nert Conquest and Philip Larkin,nHughes did not shrink from grandngestures or emotional proclamations,neven on questions like the arms race:nAnd though bomb be matchednagainst bomb.nThough all mankind wince outnand nothing endure—nEarth gone in an instantnflare. . . .nThese verses on “A Woman Unconscious”nalso illustrate Hughes’s perspectivenon things. Confronting thenapparently imminent destruction ofnthe world, he concentrates on anwoman who “closed her eyes on thenworld’s evidence.” The personal quali­nties of Hughes’s verse put him inncompany with confessional poets likenRobert Lowell and Sylvia Plath, but asntime went on, other qualitiesn—already evident in his early versen—became more prominent. He becamena poet of rural life, an observer ofnbeasts in the field, like John Clare ornBasil Bunting. In his little book ofnessays for children, Hughes comparednthe writing of poetry to an earliernpassion of his, hunting animals, andnmuch of his strongest work has beenndevoted to a hunted otter, a deadnbadger in the road, or a highly metaphysicalncrow.nThe main trouble with Hughes isnthat he is a poet of verbal descriphon.nOf rhythm and form which set poetrynapart from the other arts of writing, henseems to care very little. He writes ofn”The Thought-Fox” that “If, at thentime of writing this poem, I had foundnlivelier words, words that could givenme much more vividly its movementsn… the fox would probably be evennmore real and alive to me now, than itnis as I read the poem.” While Yeatsncompared the completion of a poem tonshutting a lid on a box, for Hughesnthere is no completeness, only a strainingnafter vividness. It is probably notnunfair to say that many readers havenfelt the same way, that his poemsncould be worked over again, that theynIn the forthcoming issue of Chronicles of Culture:nThe Sword of the Staten'”Vhc real head of the U.S.S.R. delegation appeared to benthe military advisor who held the rank of colonel. Henalone lived in a Vienna apartment, whereas all othersnresided at the Park Hotel about 20 miles south of thencapital in Baden. If the West brought up anything importantnduring the informal sessions, the Soviet ambassadornwould make an impromptu statement and then look atnthe colonel for a nod of approval.”n—from “East-West Talks in Vienna”nby Richard F. StaarnOpinions & Views—Perspective—CommendablesnWaste of Money—In Focus—Revisions—Vital SignsnLiberal Arts—Typefaces—American ProsceniumnCultural Revolutions—A Prudent ProgressivennnAPRIL 1985/37n