Letters Written and Not Sent

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The one and only volume of poetry produced by William Louis-Dreyfus, Letters Written and Not Sent, features poems composed over the writer’s lifetime. He was a highly educated businessman who spent his childhood between the US and France and lived a life devoted to his passions: business and art.

The poems included in Letters Written and Not Sent are studies in observation and contemplation, and many reveal the central questions pondered by the writer throughout his life. “Suppose” affirms that “It’s not being alone that makes you lonely / It’s having no one but imperfect strangers / to talk to about it.” These lines are the heart of the book in their clear and direct awareness of the world and the writer’s place in it. Were all the poems in the collection this dogmatic, the work would be a masterpiece. Unfortunately, Louis-Dreyfus’s love of wordplay and his affinity for allusion get in the way at times, leaving the collection a little bit off-center.

What is good in the book—and much of it is—is very, very good, but the unevenness of the poetry may take some readers out of the experience of being lost in a good volume of verse. However, if you are interested in seeing one man’s entire life rendered in poetry—this is Louis-Dreyfus’s only book and was completed on his deathbed—then Letters Written and Not Sent is a worthwhile read.

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Author William Louis-Dreyfus
Star Count 3/5
Format Trade
Page Count 200 pages
Publisher Red Hen Press
Publish Date 2019-07-02
ISBN 9781597098694
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue December 2019
Category Poetry & Short Stories


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