Read names "the poets who were my immediate mentors," and the list includes T. E. Hulme, F. S. Flint, Ezra Pound, H. D., T. S. Eliot, Marianne Moore, and William Carlos Williams. Although I see little direct influence of Miss Moore on this verse, the others are much in evidence throughout the volume. What these poets share in common, perhaps again with the exception of Marianne Moore, is a strong element of Imagism, at least in part of their work. Despite its superficiality and general invitation to mediocrity, Imagism has been a surprising source of strength in the best of twentieth-century poetry…. Read's first volume of verse was predominantly Imagist in inspiration, and it was doubtless the spare economy of Imagism's visual evocations that led into the considerable achievement of his early war poems; and it continues to be an operative influence in his work.
[In ] Read's clear, economical style is more akin to that of Hemingway's sportsman's sketches than to any other twentieth-century writing. There is a striking resemblance between the description of Olivero's walk along the bank of the stream and Hemingway's wonderful evocation of a North American river in . The resemblance is not distinctly to be found in the texture of the writing for Read constructs a longer sentence and eschews Hemingway's excessive use of conjunctions, but both writers are distinguished by the cool, sharp, homesick eye and the gift of progression, and both can claim stylistic descent from Defoe. But whereas Hemingway has a forth-rightness and an inherently objective vision which makes him almost 'the modern Defoe' Read's relationship to Defoe is not so simply a matter of affinity; his is not by any means a return to Defoe's documentary style, but is rather an aftermath of that style's complex and passionate flowering in , the heat gone and its traces calcined.
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