To the dark and lament.rnBut no, I was out for stars:rnI would not come in.rnI meant not even if asked,rnAnd I hadn’t been.rnSuch poems, Brodsky points out, are fullrnof set-ups, what Walcott calls “traps.” Inrn”Home Burial” the husband mounts thernstairs to answer for himself what he hasrnasked his wife: “She let him look, surernthat he wouldn’t see, / Blind creature;rnand awhile he didn’t see. / But at last hernmurmured, ‘Oh,’ and again, ‘Oh.'” Ofrncourse, as Brodsky points out, severalrnmore lines of this couple’s dialogue willrnpass before the reader discovers whatrnthere is to see out that window. The tension,rnthe low simmering suspense in therncharacters’ words and gestures, can bernfound in countless other Frost poems,rnnot just the dramatic monologues orrnnarratives. Brodsky may plead a bit toornmuch for this poem as a retelling of thernPygmalion-Galathea myth, but such arnreading has its compelling features andrnat any rate forces us to examine all thernmore closely the pair’s situation.rnFor Seamus Heaney, Frost’s poetry is arn”defense against emptiness.” Movingrnwell beyond his own paraphrase of Frost’srnfamous definition of poetry as a “momentaryrnstay against confusion,” Heaneyrnattends to matters of form in such poemsrnas “Desert Places” and “Birches.” Bothrnillustrate Heaney’s (and Frost’s) distinctionrnbetween craft and technique, betweenrnwhat can be picked up or learnedrnabout making verse and what is somehowrnintrinsically a function of one’s ownrnvoice, one’s stance or attitude towardrnlife. Heaney plainly admires Frost’s abilityrnto create the “slippage toward panic”rnin the opening cadences of “DesertrnPlaces” and the “airy vernal daring” ofrn”Birches.” At such moments, Heaney’srncommentary actually assists—as literaryrncriticism was surely meant to—the effectrnof the poem under discussion. The poem,rnHeaney says, is an “emotional occurrence,rnyet it is preeminendy a rhythmicrnone, an animation via the ear of thernwhole nervous apparatus.”rn”The Road Taken,” Derek Walcott’srncontribution to the volume, originallyrnappeared as a review of the 1995 Libraryrnof America edition of the Collected Poems,rnProse, & Plays. For this reason, thernessay ranges a bit wider than either Brodsky’srnor Heaney’s, while losing nothing ofrntheir directness and acuity. Walcott’s assessmentrncould well be subtitled “Frostrnthe Modernist,” placing the poet’s innovationsrnwith “sentence sounds” amongrnthe experiments of William CarlosrnWilliams and e.e. cummings. We are remindedrnthat Pound and Yeats approvedrnof the freshness and vigor of the early poems;rnbut Frost carried out the injunctionrnto “make it new” without, for example,rnendorsing the “variable foot” or resortingrnto verbal pyrotechnics.rnWe are amazed at the ordinariness,rneven the banality, of Frost’s rhymesrn(“bird”/”heard”), at the courage,rneven the gall, of the poet, rubbingrnsuch worn-out coins again butrnsomehow polishing them to a surprisingrnsheen. This directness hasrndanger in i t . . . . But Frost’s powerrnlies in the ease with which he slidesrnover his endings with the calm,rnnatural authority of a wave or arngust of wind, making his rhymes,rnwith apparent diffidence, a part ofrnLIBERAL ARTSrnDEPORTATION DUPLICITYrnThe Clinton administration, which likes to tout its new, stricter immigration policiesrnand its crackdown on illegal aliens, is actually releasing jailed alien felons. According tornan article cited in FAIR’s Immigration Report in March, the Justice Department admitsrnthat 90 percent of released criminal aliens—who include rapists and child molesters—rnnever show up for deportation. While Attorney General Janet Reno says there simplyrnis not enough jail space for all the convicted aliens, Neil Jacobs of the Dallas INS officernreports that there are at least 500 vacant holding spaces in his area and about 22,000rnnationwide.rnThe Clinton administration is also aiding efforts by the American ImmigrationrnLawyers Association to block deportations of illegal aliens. The administration and thernAILA have tried to persuade the Supreme Court that last year’s immigration law permitsrnjudges only to recommend, not to order, deportation.rnthe elements, of poetry and ofrnweather.rnFor this reason Frost’s achievement is oftenrnundervalued or even dismissed, especiallyrnby the trendier academic critics.rnThat three of our era’s most renownedrnpoets—Nobel Laureates all—should feelrnthey owe to Frost such professional gratitudernand appreciation should recall forrnus the sources of poetry’s power, itsrnmovement (as Frost put it) from delightrnto wisdom. It should not be lost on us,rneither, in this age of earnest multiculturalism,rnthat the poets gathered in Homagernto Robert Frost hail from Russia, Ireland,rnand the West Indies, respectively. AsrnWalcott writes here, a “great poem is arnstate of raceless, sexless, timeless grace.”rnThat we would not find such a sentimentrnexpressed by many of our currentrnliterary critics is reason enough to readrnthe poets instead.rnJames Scruton is Holmes Professor ofrnLiterature at Bethel College.rnPaint It Blackrnbyf.O. TaternSomewhere in the Night: Film Noirrnand the American Cityrnby Nicholas ChristopherrnNew York: Free Press;rn290 pp., $25.00rnIf you live long enough junk becomesrnantiques, and cast-offs are classics. It’srnpleasant to think that the popular culturernof only a few decades ago is nowrnrevered, but it’s also scary. A recent visitrnto a clothing store flashing lime-greenrnand neon-yellow polyester revivals of thern70’s was enough to remind me that notrneverything passe deserves recycling.rnBut some things do. Shakespearernhimself provoked that sense in a fastchangingrnEngland over 300 years ago.rnAnd there have been times in our violentrncentury when people knew they hadrnexperienced a creation that would outlivernits time. I experienced that phenomenonrnmyself 40-odd years ago.rnMore importantly, I learned about itrnfrom members of the previous generation.rnI was impressed when veterans ofrncombat took certain books and musicrn32/CHRONiaESrnrnrn