Tag: Books: Spanish Literature


Books: A Batch of Mini-Reviews

Posted 3 May, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Hallo everyone! This is my first review here on the blog in quite a while, and suffice to say I’m starting off small because I read a small bit in the last few weeks but unfortunately didn’t jot down enough notes to remember them all in-depth. So here we are instead 😛 Included in this batch are:


Drafts, Fragments, and Poems: The Complete Poetry
By: Joan Murray
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

The first appearance of this award-winning writer’s work since the 1940s, this collection, which includes an introduction by John Ashbery, restores Joan Murray’s striking poetry to its originally intended form.

Though John Ashbery hailed Joan Murray as a key influence on his work, Murray’s sole collection, Poems, published after her death at the early age of twenty-four and selected by W. H. Auden for inclusion in the Yale Series of Younger Poets, has been almost entirely unavailable for the better part of half a century. Poems was put together by Grant Code, a close friend of Murray’s mother, and when Murray’s papers, long thought to be lost, reappeared in 2013, it became clear that Code had exercised a heavy editorial hand. This new collection, edited by Farnoosh Fathi from Murray’s original manuscripts, restores Murray’s raw lyricism and visionary lines, while also including a good deal of previously unpublished work, as well as a selection of her exuberant letters.

Okay, I never heard of Joan Murray until I saw the Instagram account for NYRB post about this upcoming collection and posted a few snippets of her poetry. I was intrigued–read a lot of high praise about her work–so I decided to check her work out. Admittedly I read this book a few months ago and did not write any notes anywhere so my memory of my reaction to this book is a bit hazy but I remember enjoying it, the imagery choice she uses was quite intriguing. But the impression that was left in my mind first and foremost was that reminder that poetry can be whatever you make it to be, however you want to express yourself using the words at your disposal, arranged by way your mind, perspective, and creativity makes of it.

So yeah, if you’re looking for new poets from the early twentieth century to check out, definitely look in to this book! It’s great that NYRB is showcasing so many different poets from different periods, I’m finding out about lots of new poets this way 🙂

Rating: ★★★★☆

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So You Want to Read… (Poetry, Part IV)

Posted 27 April, 2018 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! 🙂

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts. Anyway, in celebration of National Poetry Month, I figured it’s a good time to bust out these feature again and talk about some of the poetry books and poets that I would whole-heartedly recommend on checking out, whether you’re already a big reader of poetry or if you’re checking them out for the first time.

  • Louise Labe — Ever been in love (reciprocated or unrequited)? Well, her poetry captures it all–the highs, the lows, the hopes, and the in-betweens. What’s also really cool if you’re a language buff or enthusiast is that the NYRB collection is bilingual so you can read the poem in its original French or Italian (review).
  • Miguel Hernandez — Easily hands down my second favourite Spanish poet after Federico Garcia Lorca. His use of imagery, the emotions that he captures in his words is just amazing and gripping…I don’t know what else to say about his poetry, it’s something to experience; I’m so glad NYPB published his works for an English-speaking audience (review).
  • Giuseppe Ungaretti — I likened his poetry to that of Federico Garcia Lorca’s; there’s something about his use of imagery, the sparse but perplexing and illuminating themes he tackles in his works. This collection of selected poetry (review) is the only one I could find that’s available in English but it’s worth checking out, especially as I hadn’t encountered much Italian poetry until last year.
  • Faraway — There’s a lot of micro-poets out there on Instagram that it can perhaps be a bit fatiguing. But I’ve been following Faraway on Instagram for more than a year and what I find that resonates with me with their work is how, despite its briefness and its micro nature, it doesn’t feel bogged down in stylistics compared to Leav Lang or Nayyirah Waheed; it’s accessible and they write about experiences and feelings we can relate to on a daily basis. Anyway I was delighted to see they collected their poetry into a book, Sad Birds Still Sing (review).
  • Anne Michaels — My brief review of her latest collection, All We Saw, won’t be published here on the blog until…next week, I believe, but nonetheless her sparse but introspective prose has definitely resonated with me. I can’t believe I didn’t read her stuff sooner…and she’s Canadian! Based here in Toronto! But yeah, her work first caught my attention when Penguin Random House, in promoting her latest book, posted one of her latest poems (not included in her latest collection by the way, which was a bit of a bummer), May Love Seize You.



And that’s my list! Do you read poetry? Curious on checking these out? If you want to check out more poetry, there’s of course my poetry books to check out 😉 Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

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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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! 🙂

So You Want to Read… (Arturo Perez-Reverte)

Posted 15 June, 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! 🙂

For this month’s “So You Want to Read…” I’m going to be featuring books by Arturo Perez-Reverte . Now granted I haven’t read his Adventures of Captain Alatriste series, but I think I’ve read enough from his standalone that have been translated to English to put together a list like this. Plus, I’ve enjoyed his novels to date; he brings different periods of Spanish history to life through his novels, which are also chock-full of intrigue, suspense, and mystery.

So without further ado, here’s some books by him to check out from him if you’re interested in reading his books for the first time:

  • The Flanders Panel (review) — Hands down my favourite novel by this author and one I recommend the most from the titles I’ve read thus far. It was such a riveting read; if you’re a fan of really thoughtful suspenseful mysteries, this book is definitely worth checking out. The mystery, the piecing together and guessing who the culprit is, the fascinating cast of characters…Yeah, I don’t know what else to say about this novel except to check it out!
  • The Club Dumas (review) — This is probably Arturo Perez-Reverte’s most popular title, and with good reason. Mystery, suspense, secret societies and good ol’ literature–I definitely understand why they recommend this book if you’ve enjoyed Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind (review) (I myself picked up this novel because of it). I need to re-read it myself as the book refers a lot of Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers (review) and I only got around to that title a few years afterwards but it’s a thrilling and fascinating read even if you haven’t read the classic. It’s also a lot darker in tone, as I recall, but definitely worth checking out.
  • The Fencing Master (review) — Perhaps a bit of an odd choice as I even admitted in my review that it took me a second reading to really appreciate what this novel was about and what it was trying to get at. If you’re not familiar with 19th century Spanish history, this book is certainly an eye opener because Spain was a bit…stuck, for lack of a better word, torn between values and practices that considered arcane at this point and the tumultuous ideas and developments of present-day Europe and beyond. There’s a lot of ideas floating around in this book but also plenty of mystery and intrigue.



I hope this list helps if you’re interested in reading something by Arturo Perez-Reverte for the first time! If you’ve read his books, which one is your favourite? Which would you recommend for first-time readers? Or which books have you been meaning to get around to reading? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂