God nothing is impossible, activists regardrnhomosexuality as so fundamental arnpart of one’s identity that the possibilityrnof change seems to threaten the homosexualrnwith annihilation. I low numerousrnare repentant, changed, or recoveringrnhonrosexuals by comparison with thosernwho do not change? We really don’trnknow. It is a dogma of the homosexualrnmovement that true homosexuals cannotrnchange; but there is much anecdotalrnevidence to the contrary, none of it lessrnworthy of attention than the anecdotesrnthat fill much of Comstock’s text.rnThis book ends with a poem in memoryrnof Phyllis, a lesbian who wanted tornbecome a UMC clergy woman but whornwas rejected and consequently shot herself.rnThe implication is clearly that shernkilled herself because of the unloving rejectionrnby the UMC. However, onernmight plausibly ask whether Phyllis reallyrnhad the right to demand a teaching-ministeringrnstatus in a denomination thatrnconsiders her way of life—whether chosenrnor constitutional—unbiblical andrnsinful. Surely being a Methodist and desiringrnto be a Methodist minister is notrnso “constitutional” a state that Phyllisrnwas faced with an irreconcilable dilemma.rnWhat is evidently at stake is the factrnthat many if not all homosexuals, unlikernwinebibbers, consider their predilectionrn(i.e., their homosexuality) to be theirrnidentity, which they cannot in any sensernsuppress or deny. Inasmuch as there arernman’ fellowships—not so many nominallyrnChristian ones, but at least a few, asrnwell as some Jewish groups and numerousrnnontraditional religions—that acceptrnhomosexuality, why are individualsrnsuch as Phyllis insistent on being ordainedrnin a church that does not acceptrnit? Is it not possible that the despair thatrnled Phyllis to her sad act was motivatedrnby the fear that perhaps the UMC wasrnright, and that she and her way of lifernwere wrong? Comstock’s book is a protractedrnplea for all religions to accept homosexualityrnas an alternate expression ofrnlove, but to do so is not an option forrnthose who continue to uphold the authorityrnof the Bible, or even of Christianrntradition.rnHarold O./. Brown is the director of ThernRockford Institute’s Center on ReUgionrnand Society and teaches theology andrnethics at I’rinity Evangelical DivinityrnSchool. His latest book is The SensaternCulture (Word).rnA Meeting of Equalsrnby James SciutonrnHomage to Robert Frostrnby ]oseph Brodsky, Seamus Heaney, andrnDerek WalcottrnNew York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux:rn117 pp., $18.00rnApoet’s critical prose holds interestrnfor many people. Scholars examinernit for clarifications or contradictions ofrnthe poet’s verse, admiring readers forrnechoes of the language that captivatedrnthem in the poetry, to which studentsrnand new readers may want some kind ofrn”authorized introduction.” When writingrnabout the work of others poets revealrnas much, or more, about themselves andrntheir own work. These three essays byrnSeamus Heaney, Derek Walcott, and thernlate Joseph Brodsky, gathered in Homagernto Robert Frost, remind us why we shouldrntrust poets more than most critics whenrnit comes to discussing the art.rn”Among major poets of the Englishrnlanguage in this century,” Heaney observes,rn”Robert Frost is the one who takesrnthe most punishment.” Much of thisrnbrief volume’s appeal lies in its unabashedrnpraise for Frost’s achievement.rnIt continues the attempts of WilliamrnPritchard and a few others to rescue thernpoet from the grotesc|ueries of his biographer,rnLawrance Thompson, and thernkind of portentous generalizationsrnlaunched by Lionel Trilling upon the occasionrnof Frost’s 80th birthday, when hernpronounced Frost “the most terrifyingrnpoet of our time.”rnIt is not just that poets—these three inrnparticular—provide an inside view, arnpractitioner’s insight into Frost’s colloquialrntone or his handling of meter. Therninitial delight of these essays is, as Frostrnhimself might have said, in their ownrnsound, the aptness and pleasure of theirrnown phrase-making. What academicrncritic these days would credit Frost’s “jocularrnvehemence” as Brodsky does? Orrnobserve, as does Heaney, the “lovely pliantrngrace” of “Birches” or confess to arn”lifetime of pleasure in Frost’s poems asrnevents in language, flaunts and vauntsrnfull of projective force and deliquescentrnbackwash, the crestings of a tide that liftsrnall spirits.” Over and over, as when Walcottrndescribes the “melodious sarcasm”rnof Frost’s dramatic monologues, we arcrnreminded that, analytical as they are,rnthese essays are essentially appreciationsrnrather than arguments. Refreshingly,rnthe only axes to grind belong to Frost’srnlaconic New Fnglanders.rnAnother advantage of these essays isrnconcentration. Each takes up only twornor three poems, focusing on the metricalrntension of a certain line or the consonantalrnecho throughout a given stanza. Thisrndevotion to particulars pays greaterrnhomage to Frost than any of the formulasrnto which we are accustomed by now.rnMoreover, by attending to some of thernless-anthologized and less-remarked poems,rnHomage to Robert Frost renews ourrninterest and satisfaction in the poetry insteadrnof merely confirming its greatnessrn(or its darkness, or its “terror”).rnThe essay-discussions overiap slightly,rnmaking the overall effect almost that of arnpanel. What repetition there is comes asrnsomething of a glance down the row, as ifrnwith a familiar nod Walcott were referringrnto a comment made a while earlier.rnFor example, when early on in Heaney’srnessay he declares that Frost “neverrnshirked the bleakness of that last place inrnhimself,” he seems to echo a point madernjust a few pages earlier by Brodsky: “Ifrnthis poem [“Home Burial”] is dark, darkerrnstill is the mind of its maker. . . . Hernstands outside, denied re-entry, perhapsrnnot coveting it at all.”rnTaking the essays individually, we notrnonly find things in Frost we may havernmissed or forgotten; we also learn a greatrndeal about what animates three contemporaryrnpoets, the kinds of verbal texturesrnand angles of vision that excite each onernin turn. Each pays homage to that elementrnin Robert Frost which perhaps bestrnlimns his own work.rnThus Brodsky’s piece, “On Grief andrnReason,” dwells on the bleakness ofrnFrost’s sensibility—a focus we might expectrnfrom the late Russian poet whornonce defined the writing of poetry as “anrnexercise in dying.” With nicely tellingrnirony, Brodsky begins bv analyzingrnthe poem “Come In” and concludesrnwith “Home Burial.” The former becomesrnfor him a “humble footnote orrnpostscript” to Dante’s Commedia, arn”stylistic choice in ruling out a majorrnform,” as the poem’s speaker doubly refusesrnthe invitation:rnFar in the pillared darkrnThrush music went—rnAlmost like a call to come inrnAUGUST 1997/31rnrnrn