Tag: Books: Poetry


Books: A Batch of Mini-Reviews

Posted 8 September, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Another day, another round of mini reviews! This is another poetry edition as I’ve read a bit of poetry in the last few months that I wanted to talk briefly about 🙂 Included in this batch are:


The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Italian Poetry: An Anthology
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

More than a century has now passed since F.T. Marinetti’s famous “Futurist Manifesto” slammed the door on the nineteenth century and trumpeted the arrival of modernity in Europe and beyond. Since then, against the backdrop of two world wars and several radical social upheavals whose effects continue to be felt, Italian poets have explored the possibilities of verse in a modern age, creating in the process one of the great bodies of twentieth-century poetry.

Even before Marinetti, poets such as Giovanni Pascoli had begun to clear the weedy rhetoric and withered diction from the once-glorious but by then decadent grounds of Italian poetry. And their winter labors led to an extraordinary spring: Giuseppe Ungaretti’s wartime distillations and Eugenio Montale’s “astringent music”; Umberto Saba’s song of himself and Salvatore Quasimodo’s hermetic involutions. After World War II, new generations—including such marvelously diverse poets as Sandro Penna, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Amelia Rosselli, Vittorio Sereni, and Raffaello Baldini—extended the enormous promise of the prewar era into our time.

A surprising and illuminating collection, The FSG Book of 20th-Century Italian Poetry invites the reader to examine the works of these and other poets—seventy-five in all—in context and conversation with one another. Edited by the poet and translator Geoffrey Brock, these poems have been beautifully rendered into English by some of our finest English-language poets, including Seamus Heaney, Robert Lowell, Ezra Pound, Paul Muldoon, and many exciting younger voices

I bought this monster of a tome on sale at Book City; I’m always up to reading more translated texts and more Italian literature so the intersect between Italian literature and poetry with this book was a win-win for me.

Like the title and blurb mentions, the book covers Italian poetry over the course of the twentieth century, convering everything from life in Italy at the turn of the century to the two world wars, to experimentation in the latter half of the the twentieth century in culture. It’s a bilingual text, which I always enjoy checking out, and whilst there were some I didn’t care for or felt moved by (the really weird experimentation from the mid-century just will never appeal to me) there were others that did intrigue me and whose works I will keep a lookout for as solo collections, such as Giovanni Pascoli and Giuseppe Ungaretti.

Overall, I’m glad to have checked out this collection 🙂

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Two Book Reviews

Posted 1 August, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Read and wrote two books some time ago that weren’t long enough to warrant their own posts but weren’t many enough to compile a mini reviews post so here we are 😛

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French Love Poems
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase

Filled with devotion and lust, sensuality and eroticism, fevers and overtures, these poems showcase some of the most passionate verses in the French language. From the classic sixteenth-century love sonnets of Louise Labé and Maurice Sceve to the piercing lyricism of the Romantics and the dreamlike compositions of the Surrealists, French Love Poems is the perfect, seductive gift for anyone who makes your heart flutter.

Sort of picked this book up on a whim back in Victoria Day because it was such a cute little volume. Plus, what the heck, I haven’t read much French poetry, really.

It’s a great collection of poetry, introducing me to a number of French poets I either heard of in passing or just never heard of period. Talk about the embedded eroticism and sensuality present in these poems, I guess I don’t read enough of those to warrant knowing what reading those poems are like, but the love poems as a whole do capture the intensity and the feeling of love and longing quite succinctly. This collection is also very cool because it does have the original French on one page and the translated English facing it. Definitely worth checking out!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Order this book from The Book Depository

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A Nervous Breakdown
By: Anton Chekhov
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase

“I did have hallucinations, but did they harm anyone? Who did they harm, that’s what I’d like to know!”

From the supreme artist of the short story, three disturbing tales of supernatural hallucinations, hysterical obsession and moral decay.

I’m always up for reading a bit of Anton Chekhov. This collection of three stories was interesting as it weaves in a variety of social issues ranging from helping your family and family status to prostitution and mental illness. The first two in particular tie in especially well with the subject of mental illness and how society and medical specialists treated the issue at the time, but also the personal ramnifications, how is it perceived by the self, is it a force of clarity. The third story, “Anna Around the Neck”, ties in less so on the subject but it’s nonetheless touches on a number of issues and was also sad in its own way. Of the three “The Black Monk” was the only story I read previously and I have to say, the title story was the one that stuck out in my memory afterwards moreso than the other two. Nonetheless it’s an interesting book to pick up, especially if you’ve never read anything by Anton Chekhov.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Learn more about the author on Wikipedia || Order this book from The Book Depository

So You Want to Read… (Federico Garcia Lorca)

Posted 14 July, 2017 by Lianne in Lists / 0 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂

So for this month’s edition of “So You Want to Read…”, I’ve decided to focus on Federico Garcia Lorca, another Spanish artist but from the early twentieth century. It’s been so long that I’ve forgotten now as to how I first stumbled across his works but I haven’t looked back since; I’ve read both his poetry and his plays and I consider him to be my absolute favourite poet. I love the feelings he evokes through his imagery, his use of words, that sense of duende. If you’ve never read any of his works, here’s the three I recommend starting with:

  • his early poetry (review) — He’s written a number of collections, but I love his early works the most, his ghazals. Honestly I could just say pick up his poetry, period, but I do find my least favourite are his poems from New York; they’re a little longer, he was trying a different form, and it just didn’t quite work for me compared to his other poems. But do check the review link I posted there and the one over here for a sampling of some of his poems.
  • Blood Wedding (review) — From the four plays I’ve read by him, this one stands out the most in my memory. The tragedy is on a number of different levels, that sense of inevitability in the decisions that these characters make, and the imagery evoked here is just fantastic. Re-reading the plays again two years ago this still stood out for me.
  • Yerma (review) — This play was depressing but it’s quite a study in a marriage lacking in communication, lacking in direction where both parties have different outlooks and goals in life, gender roles and personal fulfillment. My heart really went out for Yerma.



And that’s my list! I hope it helps if you’re interested in reading something by Federico Garcia Lorca! Have you read any of his works? If so, which one is your favourite? Which titles have you been meaning to get around to reading? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

Review: On the Point of Erupting

Posted 3 July, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

On the Point of Erupting
By: Einar MĂĄr GuĂ°mundsson
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Einar MĂĄr GuĂ°mundsson has achieved international renown as a novelist, with his books being translated into over 30 languages. But when he first burst onto the Icelandic scene in 1980, it was as a poet.

Guðmundsson’s poetry is bold and moving, sharp, sarcastic and funny. The 50 poems collected in this volume have been interpreted by some of Iceland’s best translators.

I picked this book up whilst I was in Iceland. I was looking for something written by an Icelandic author to pick up just because I was there (I try to do this whenever I’m in another country) and thankfully this was one poetry that was translated into English.

Einar MĂĄr GuĂ°mundsson’s poetry in a way reminded me of Leonard Cohen with some of the phrases, the infusion of the popular culture he was in, some of his approaches to the subjects he was writing about. What struck me especially was how that sort of punk 80s popular culture he was writing in is very much present in many of his poems. But the ones I like more were the poems about the countryside and about Iceland’s culture and atmosphere; through those poems I have a greater sense of how an Icelandic person views his or her country, and indeed just the country he lives in.

Overall I’m glad to have read On the Point of Erupting which I should mention is a collection of selected poetry from Einar MĂĄr GuĂ°mundsson over the course of his career. Indeed it can be witty and there’s a sense of irony in many of the poems he’s written, but I especially enjoyed the poems about the country he lives in, I just had a greater sense of the country through those poems. Definitely a collection to check out if you’re looking to check out something different.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Books: A Batch of Mini-Reviews

Posted 20 June, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Time for another round of mini book reviews (the first of two this week, actually). Included in this batch are:


Collected Poems
By: W.B. Yeats
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

W. B. Yeats was Romantic and Modernist, mystical dreamer and leader of the Irish Literary Revival, Nobel prizewinner, dramatist and, above all, poet. He began writing with the intention of putting his ‘very self’ into his poems. T. S. Eliot, one of many who proclaimed the Irishman’s greatness, described him as ‘one of those few whose history is the history of their own time, who are part of the consciousness of an age which cannot be understood without them’. For anyone interested in the literature of the late nineteenth century and the twentieth century, Yeats’s work is essential. This volume gathers the full range of his published poetry, from the hauntingly beautiful early lyrics (by which he is still fondly remembered) to the magnificent later poems which put beyond question his status as major poet of modern times. Paradoxical, proud and passionate, Yeats speaks today as eloquently as ever.

I’ve come across W.B. Yeats every now and then but never actually picked up a collection of his poetry to read. It was interesting to read this collection because you could trace out his progression as a poet over time, the different formats that he used. I have to say though I very much prefer his earlier works to his later works; I feel with the later works I need to be in a better mood to really sink into them.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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