Winfield Townley Scott was more than a little appalled when he saw in the work of the young and suddenly popular Australian poet John Manifold an urge to "make frequent identifications for the individual with general society" and wondered if such poetry was going to make a resurgence among the young poets returning from the war. That this horrified Scott is the bitter subtext of what might easily have been read as a polite, even cautiously encouraging, review. At the very beginning of the cold war, in 1946, Scott read Manifold's Selected Poems, recognized Manifold's talent for making of poems "Guerilla words," "declamation[s] in the crowded square," and then mounted an extraordinarily disproportionate effort to characterize Manifold's work as outmoded, immature, and by not so subtle implication foreign to what American poets do. "In his Marxist politics he relates directly to the poetry of the 1930s," Scott wrote--and so is, at best, quaintly vivacious "in favor of the underdog." Moreover, Manifold's political ballads "have the virtue of being indigenously Australian" and, indeed, curious and primitive--apt for condescension: "There is always in the deliberate primitive an antipathetic sophistication, and such artless art commits suicide." Manifold's poems can be enjoyed because, with his "drive" and "gusto" to make clear his poetry ideal, he can be thought of as very unlike us. Clearly, the making of the fifties' thirties was getting underway as early as 1946, and Scott was hardly alone in rigidifying definitions of what was to be despised about the thirties. In the same year as Scott categorized Manifold as a primitivist antifascist poet born too late, William Meredith was describing Norman Rosten's political poetry as "poster-writing" that "evoked a primary response." Why the radicals' use of "blank and free verse [that] read like a shopping list" (by which Meredith meant something quite poetically deficient) "evoked a primary response" while what Meredith and his colleagues were now doing presumably evoked something more complex, more sophisticated--less animal and more human--is necessarily left unsaid. Then there was "the omission of articles and an excessive use of participles"--all quite unnatural--and, worst of all, "words and phrases connected by commas where conjunctions are wanted" and "clauses and sentences joined by conjunctions where periods and a breath of air are needed." Meredith made it very clear in criticizing Rosten's ambitious book about the building of the Alcan Highway, The Big Road (1946), that there was a specific connection between, on the one hand, radical poetry written before the war, "in which political ideas were presented in a simplified form" and "advanced causes important to poets and free men" and, on the other, these particular syntactical failures. There was no effort, here or elsewhere in anticommunist poetry criticism, to counter- theorize the politics of form. Simply an acceptance of the idea that omitted articles and conjunctions in lieu of full stops represented "shortcomings," "a real carelessness with regard to the sound of the verse." If postwar readers of Poetry were to agree that "Mr. Rosten's book would be more readable if it were better poetry," Meredith nonetheless leaves them to assume what that more "readable" poetry would be, except to say that it would have "the form, the precision and the scope of art." Here is an aesthetic for the postwar period coming into existence in reaction against something the hatred of which could now be culturally sanctioned and be left unmentioned as such. This was much more powerful than if Meredith had felt the oblibation to spell out the emerging counteraesthetic. He claimed that "[t]he issue here is not intelligibility vs. obscurity, or popular as against private poetry," but he was protesting too much. These were exactly the issues. The political poetry that had come before had deliberately engaged popular forms and low-cultural diction, and would now be made to pay for that descent below the proper station of poetry. That's why Meredith used the phrase "the scope of art"; he and others were engaged in the work of re-narrowing that scope that had been widened first by modernists in the teens and twenties and then by radicals in the thirties--both movements, though very differently, had urged that nothing be considered in itself not the material of poetry. But now Rosten's verse, and that of many others, would fall outside the proper scope, since, for one thing, "it has...[a] catchy design [and] the crude color of a poster," qualities that have all to do with the key questions of intellgibility and obscurity. Meredith's logic in 1946 was exactly that of much poetry criticism in the anticommunist period through 1960: claimed to dislike what the poster said and how it said it, but really the crudity lay in the very use of poetry as a poster. The most effective way of burying the prewar period was to attack the forms; then one couldn't be accused of mere disagreement with the content, but nonetheless the content would be contradicted once the forms had fallen.