Even now, over half a century after his death, Kipling’s poetry is undervalued. His fiction has done rather better, though critical attention and esteem has tended to fasten on the later, more complicated and difficult stories such as ‘Day-spring Mishandled’. I prefer the earlier, shorter ones myself, but they give critical attention much less to bite on, write on, lecture on. In this they resemble the verse, which is mostly quite clear, without any interesting ambiguities or obscurities. To deal with it satisfactorily, one must recognise that at least an attempt at a special approach is needed.
Peter Keating mostly fails to furnish anything of the sort. Perhaps I could let him down a bit more lightly by observing that his book claims to deal with Kipling the poet rather than Kipling’s poetry. Even so, it would have been closer to the mark to label the book