Selected Poems of John GouldnFletcher, Vol. InSelected and introduced by LucasnCarpenter and Leighton Randolphn340 pp., $24.95 (cloth), $14.95n(paper)nThe Autobiography of John GouldnFletcher, Vol. IInEdited by Lucas Carpenter,nIntroduction by Ben Kimpeln415 pp., $24.00nArkansas, Vol IIInby John Gould FletchernIntroduction by Harry S. Ashmore;n440 pp., $24.00nSelected Essays of John GouldnFletcher, Vol. IVnEdited and with an Introduction bynLucas Carpentern464 pp., $25.00nAll published at Fayetteville andnLondon: University of Arkansas PressnHere we have a series of books —ntwo more are planned — that restorento view the literary career of JohnnGould Fletcher (1886-1950), a writernwhose work has been heretofore morenoften cited than read. These handsomenbooks give a new and well-framed accessnto the lifework of a significantnmodern man of letters.nFletcher is today remembered best asna pioneering Imagist poet, one presentnJ.O. Tate is a professor of English atnDowling College on Long Island andna contributor to National Review andnThe Armchair Detective, amongnother publications.n32/CHRONICLESnA Local Globalistnby J.O. Taten”But they who shared with me my life’s adventure.nWho tossed their ducats like dandelions into the sunlight,nI know that somewhere they with songs are building,nGolden Towers more beautiful than my own.”n— “Golden Symphony”nat the creation, one to be mentionednwith T.E. Hulme, Ezra Pound, AmynLowell, and H.D., but also one whonwent his own way, being the disciple ofnnone. It’s rather quaint to read in AmynLowell’s Tendencies in Modern AmericannPoetry (1917) that “for the discerningneye, no living poet has morendistinction of vision or of style. In [JohnnGould Fletcher], indeed, we see thenbeginning of that new order of which Inhave so often spoken. To the poet, he isna real teacher, indicating new directions,nopening up untrodden ways ofnthought.” The new directions and untroddennways of the revolution of thenImage led toward modernist masterpiecesnlike Hugh Selwyn Mauberley,nThe Waste Land, The Bridge, Paterson,nA, and other such relics. But theynalso led toward “Amygism,” undergraduatencloning, the disease of “cre­nnnative writing,” the democratization ofnart, a collapse of standards, and thenruin of poetry.nThat’s not to say that John GouldnFletcher is to blame for any of thenworst of it, of course. He was verynmuch an individual, a man of integrity,nmore of an old-fashioned gentieman,nperhaps, than we’d expect a revolutionarynto be. Fletcher lived through thentransition from a fin-de-siecle aestheticismnto its Modernist extension, and henwas still writing after World War 11.nBut he was not a great poet, or even —nto my tastes — a poet of the first rank.nThe tenth poem from his Irradiations:nSand and Spray (1915) may be representative:nThe trees, like great jadenelephants,nChained, stamp and shaken’neath the gadflies of thenbreeze;nThe trees lunge and plunge,nunruly elephants:nThe clouds are their crimsonnhowdah-canopies,nThe sunlight glints like thengolden robe of a Shah.nWould 1 were tossed on thenwrinkled back of those trees.nIs that not a good poem? Yet it is also andecorative and shallow one; its exoticismnhas not worn well. Perhaps the bestnthing about it is its sound and vers litrenswagger.nLines from the fifth poem of thensame series are as well known as anynFletcher wrote:nWhiripools of purple and gold.nWinds from the mountains ofncinnabar.n