If any volume of Selected Poems must be in part the autobiography of an imagination, it is subject to the vicissitudes and ironies which attend all autobiography. One gazes at it and finds familiar lineaments, but one also finds mobilities and stands made more evident than a more partial acquaintance can show. The very title is a warning that the whole story –whatever that might be – is not to be found here: a ‘Selected Poems’ is the outcome of recurrent options.
Often, in the face of this, reviewers lodge their complaint that something has, inappropriately as they take it, been left out, or something unhappily been left in. I shall not do that here. After all, if ever there is a place for the de gustibus dictum, this must be it. Rather, I should like to remind the potential reader what kind of thing he may expect to find in either R.A. Simpson’s or in Vincent Buckley’s Selected Poems.