Tag: Books: Poetry


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: ★★★★☆

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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: ★★★☆☆

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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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Review: Love & Misadventure

Posted 22 May, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Love & Misadventure
By: Lang Leav
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Beautifully illustrated and thoughtfully conceived, Love and Misadventure will take you on a rollercoaster ride through an ill-fated love affair—from the initial butterflies through the soaring heights to the devastating plunge. And, in the end, the message is one of hope.

The journey from love to heartbreak to finding love again is personal yet universal. Lang Leav’s evocative love poetry speaks to the soul of anyone who is on this journey. Leav has an unnerving ability to see inside the hearts and minds of her readers. Her talent for translating complex emotions with astonishing simplicity has won her a cult following of devoted modern poetry fans from all over the world. Forget the dainty, delicate love poems of yore; these little poems pack a mighty punch.

Okay, I finally caved in and picked up this book. I keep seeing this poet’s books everywhere whenever I’m perusing for new poetry to check out and after catching a snippet of one of her poems fromt his volume, I decided why not.

I suppose it seems fitting that my reaction to this collection is similar to that of her significant other’s works, Michael Faudet (see author tag). Some of the poems by her that I read were nice, hits close to home, or captures sentiments that I can relate to on some level. But after the first third of the book, the rest of the collection fell a bit flat for me, a little too simplistic for my tastes (and a bit incomplete at times? Which, stylistically I can get behind if it made sense (I think I mentioned before that I’m a fan of the minimalist style of poetry), but at times it really felt like a concluding line was missing), lost my ability to relate to some of the sentiments on some level. Definitely did not feel all of the statements that the above book blurb mentioned O_o At least least most of the poems collected here didn’t veer more towards the erotic side?

But I’m glad to finally have checked out her poetry and read what the buzz was about. Her illustrations, I should add were pretty 🙂

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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