Tag: Books: Poetry


Review: Selected Poems

Posted 12 February, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Selected Poems
By: Giuseppe Ungaretti
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Giuseppe Ungaretti (1888-1970) was a pioneer of the Modernist movement in Italian poetry and is widely regarded as one of the leading Italian poets of the twentieth century. His verse is renowned and loved for its powerful insight and emotion, and its exquisite music. Yet, unlike many of his peers, Ungaretti has never been adequately presented to English readers. This large bilingual selection, translated with great sensitivity and fidelity by Andrew Frisardi, captures Ungaretti in all of his phases: from his early poems, written in the trenches of northern Italy during World War I, to the finely crafted erotic and religious poetry of his second period, to the visceral, elegiac poetry of the years following the death of his son and the occupation of Rome during World War II, to the love poems of the poet’s old age.

Frisardi’s in-depth introduction details the world in which Ungaretti’s work took shape and exerted its influence. In addition to the poet’s own annotations, an autobiographical afterword, “Ungaretti on Ungaretti,” further illuminates the poet’s life and art. Here is a compelling, rewarding, and comprehensive version of the work of one of the greatest modern European poets.

I honestly don’t remember now how I first came across Giuseppe Ungretti’s poetry. What I do remember was that the moment I did come across his poems, I knew I had to check out more. Not a lot of his poetry is available in English but I was fortunate enough to pick up a copy of this collection featuring some of his selected works.

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Books: A Batch of Mini-Reviews

Posted 9 February, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

First batch of mini book reviews for the new year! The following are books that I read recently or from last year that I never got around to writing full book reviews for. Included in this batch are:


Luminae
By: Allison Marie Conway
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

A seductive mix of poetry and prose, Luminae is about soul-searching, longing, finding your truth, and feeling comfortable with an inner being who is both tender and strong.

Luminae will resonate with intuitive souls, those who yearn to explore the wild depths of their true nature, and who believe they must hold sacred both the darkness and the light, without turning their backs on love. It speaks to those who embrace the totality of the human experience—even the difficult, ugly, and messy parts.

Our chaotic world is starved for wholehearted, compassionate words like these. Now, more than ever, is the time to quiet the outside noise and come home to the splendor, power, and magic of yourself.

Now is the time to experience Luminae.

I actually read this collection late last year after having followed her poetry IG for some time. The book blurb is pretty apt in that her works are a bit about soul searching, of what is and what can be. On a personal note, and I don’t think I mentioned it previously, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I prefer just straight up short–not necessarily micro–format poetry over poetic prose (I don’t know the actual term for them but they’re like mini essays). Nonetheless I like her poetry, some of them resonated with me and I enjoyed reading her collection.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Review: Atlantis

Posted 26 January, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Atlantis
By: Lauren Eden
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Atlantis is a three-part poetic tale of a young woman’s quest to build paradise out of her flat-packed suburban life. Heartbreaking and humorous, Atlantis is a journey about picking up the pieces from the ruins of a life they said would be good for you.

Fun fact: I more or less started 2017 reading her first poetry collection, Of Yesteryear (review) and read this latest collection of hers at the end of 2017. I like symmetry like that.

Anyway, whilst I didn’t love this collection as much as the first one (as I found the first one to be much more relatable), I thought this collection was a far more personal outing of the poet’s. Her poetry continues to touch on romantic love but her poems also reflect on her life, on expectations, on her own personal relationships with her mother (actually I first found out about that on Instagram and having read the rest of the book since I can see much of that theme running throughout the book). Some of her poems are zingers (like the one I posted below) and others I can see after having read Of Yesteryear that her style has evolved a bit. Which makes sense, we grow and continue to develop our skills.

Overall I enjoyed reading Atlantis and am delighted to have read another collection by this poet. Definitely one of my favourites that I’ve discovered last year.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Follow the author on Instagram || Order this book from The Book Depository

Review: A Little Larger Than the Entire Universe

Posted 22 January, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

A Little Larger Than the Entire Universe: Selected Poems
By: Fernando Pessoa
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

This is the largest and richest volume of poetry by Pessoa available in English. It includes generous selections from the three poetic alter egos that the Portuguese writer dubbed “heteronyms” – Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis and Alvaro de Campos – and from the vast and varied work he wrote under his own name.

This book has been following me around the internet–on Goodreads, on the Book Depository whenever I’m on there–so at long last I caved and picked up the book when I bought a whole bunch of poetry books earlier in the autumn season. I figured why not, could read some more books and works written by Portuguese authors, ad I was curious that this was considered the largest collection available from this poet in English. So my curiosity was piqued enough.

Unfortunately his poetry isn’t quite my type. I can see why he intrigued many readers over the years, his poems are quite autobiographical in that he puts to words the thoughts that come to his mind. And the themes and structures that authors and poets in his time were playing around with can definitely be found in these pages, both the ideas and the way he conveys them. There’s some mirroring in some of his poems, repetition…Some of his poems are told like a story, a conversational narrative. There were a few poems that stood out for me, but for the most part I just could not connect with his poems. They reminded me of stream of consciousness or post-modern works that I never could quite enjoy.

So in the end, whilst I appreciated that I finally got around to reading his works, I didn’t enjoy it or connected with it as much as I thought I would. Maybe something was lost in translation, I’m not sure.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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

Review: The Flowers of Evil

Posted 28 December, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Flowers of Evil
By: Charles Baudelaire
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

The Flowers of Evil, which T.S. Eliot called the greatest example of modern poetry in any language, shocked the literary world of nineteenth century France with its outspoken portrayal of lesbian love, its linking of sexuality and death, its unremitting irony, and its unflinching celebration of the seamy side of urban life. Including the French texts and comprehensive explanatory notes to the poems, this extraordinary body of love poems restores the six poems originally banned in 1857, revealing the richness and variety of the collection.

Firstly, if you look him up on le Google, he’s got the creepiest photo O_o Anyway, I was first introduced to Charles Baudelaire’s poetry when I read the small collection French Love Poetry (review) earlier this year. I had not read much French poetry to date so I decided to check out this book.

While I was reading this book I was pondering how this book was considered to be modern poetry and why it was considered as revolutionary as it was. Subject-wise his poems about urban life, the prostitutes that fill the French streets, the physicality of his poetry. It’s hard to describe as it’s something to read for yourself and discover but it does feel different compared to other 19th century poetry that I’ve read (granted, they were English poets too, but that’s neither here nor there). His poems about love and about death were especially interesting, but his poems about the Poet and their role was also poems that caught my attention.

This is a pretty tiny review but it bears getting its own post as this is a fairly famous French poet by my understanding. This edition that I read was pretty cool too because the original French was on one side and the English translation on the other, if you’re like me and like to read what it’s like in its original language (or a completionist like me). I can’t say a particular poem stood out for me but I did post a line that I really enjoyed on Litsy. Definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for new poetry to read.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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