OPINIONSrnThe Tiybe of Yvorrnby R.S. Gwynnrn”Poetry is the language of a state of crisis.rn- Stephane MallarmernThe Selected Poems of Yvor Wintersrnby Yvor WintersrnEdited by R.L. BarthrnAthens: Ohio University Press;rn129 pp., $14.95rnThe Poems of J.V. Cunninghamrnby J.V. CunninghamrnEdited by Timothy SteelernAthens: Ohio University Press;rn215pp.,$16.95rnCollected Poemsrnby Edgar BowersrnNew York: Alfred A. Knopf;rn168 pp., $15.00rnThe Destructive Element:rnNew and Selected Poemsrnby Turner CassityrnAthens: Ohio Universit}’ Press;rn246 pp., $15.95rnPoet Laureate Robert Pinsky’s remembrancernof his first day in classrnwitli a professor who — if his stubbornrnpresence in the work of several generationsrnof students and now even the studentsrnof those students is any measure—rnmust have been one of the great teachersrnof the past century, runs as follows:rnI will tell you something: 1 will tellrnyournWhat this course is about. Sometimernin the middlernOf the Eighteenth Century, alongrnwith the risernOf capitalism and sciendficrnR.S. Gwynn’s No Word of Farewell:rnPoems 1970-2000 will appear this yearrnfrom Story Line Press. He has recentlyrnedited New Expansive Poetry: Theory,rnCriticism, History.rnmethod, the logicalrnFoundations of Western thoughtrndecayed and fell apart.rnWlien tliev fell apart, poets werernleftrnWith emotions and experiences,rnand with no wayrnTo examine them. At this time,rnpoets and menrnOf genius began to go mad. Grayrnwent mad. CollinsrnWent mad. Kit Smart was mad.rnWilliam Blake surelvrnWas a madiuan. Coleridge was arndrug addict, with severernDepression. My friend Hart Cranerndied mad. My friendrnEzra Poimd is mad. But you willrnnot go luad; you will grow uprnTo become happy, sentimental oldrncollege professors,rnBecause they v’ere men of genius,rnand yournAre not; and the ideas which werernvitalrnto them are mere amusements tornyon. I will notrnGo mad, because 1 have understoodrnthose ideas.. .rnYvor (rhymes with “diver”) Wintersrn(1900-1968) taught at Stanford for 40rnyears, during a time well before thernteaching of poetry writing in universihesrnbecaiue such an industry that, if we canrnproject its exponential growth rate intornthe hiture, every man, woman, and childrnin America will possess a degree in cre-rnI ative writing by 2100. But for much ofrn^ Winters’ career, his Stanford poetry sem-rnI inar was not just the only game in townrn^ but the only class in the craft of poetry inrnthe western half of the country, with perhapsrnthe sole exception of Iowa City.rnBy the fruits we know the tree: Pinsky,rnRobert Hass (another laureate), PhiliprnLevine, Donald Hall, Thom Gunn,rnRobert Mezey, Donald Stanford, CharlesrnGullans, and three poets under discussionrnhere—J.V. Cunningham, TurnerrnCassity, and Edgar Bowers —representrnonlv a fraction of the host shaped b)’ Winters,rnmany of whom shil betray his influencern(and this is not to mention his estimablernwife Janet Lewis, who survivedrnhim by 30 years). And the memoirs of hisrnstudents’ experiences have been equallyrnrevealing: Gunn, just arrived from Englandrnand short on hinds, is immediatelyrnhoused in Winters’ backyard writingrnshack, a building that had 30 years earlierrnhoused a destitute J.V. Cunningham;rnHall, sensing that too much exposure tornProf Svengali might leave him foreverrnenthralled, decides to bail out after onern24/CHRONICLESrnrnrn