I received a collection of poems from Open Road Integrated Media which was put together especially for NetGalley users. I enjoyed the collection because it allowed me to sample so many works from different poets. My favorites from the collection are the poems written by Erica Jong and May Sarton.
Erica’s Jong’s poems are short, yet vivid reflections on love and loss of love. There are only three of her poems included in this collection but the sample is enough to understand that Jong adeptly employs the rhetorical question to make the reader think about his or her own experiences with lost love: “Who loved you so relentlessly?” Her use of the chiasmus (ABBA patterns) is equally thought-provoking: “I want to hate you and I cannot. But I cannot love you either.” One of my favorite poetic devices in Latin poetry, especially Catullus, is the polyptoton, the use of the same word in different forms. I found in Erica Jong’s poetry some of most intriguing uses of polyptoton I have encountered in English poetry: “Betrayal does that–betrays the betrayer” and “It is our old love I love, as one loves certain images from childhood-.” For more information on Erica Jong and her full collection of poems as well as her novels, visit Feed Your Need to Read.
I have acquired quite a few collections of poetry which I will be reviewing throughout the month of April. This is a little teaser of what is to come. One of the collections that I am most excited about is The Collected Poems of Proust, published as a dual language edition with the original French of each poem facing the English translation. These poems show us a very different side of the novelist and were written throughout his life, from the age of seventeen to his death at the age of fifty.
The next collection I will be reviewing are a series of poems written by Edith Wharton that are include in the Dover Reader. This collection of her writings includes her most famous novels, Ethan Frome and The Age of Innocence, but it also contains four of her poems which I am excited to read.
I also have also acquired a book called “Poems about Cats.” Now don’t laugh, but my love of our furry friends was not the only thing that drove me to request this tome from the publisher. This collection includes poems about felines from famous poets such as Shakespeare, Wadsworth, and Blake. Who knew that so many famous poets were also admirers of our feline friends! The book also includes whimsical drawings on each page by the famous illustrator Yasmine Surovec.
Finally, I will review the City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology: 60th Anniversary Edition. Poetry from some of the most famous American and international poets are gathered together in this one special volume; Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Julio Cortázar, and Frank O’Hara all have poems featured in the collection.
I will mention that I am also translating the poems of Catullus and selections from Vergil’s Aeneid this semester with my students. I would be remiss if I didn’t give a nod to my favorite Latin poets. I will, however, spare everyone from my reviews of these poets for fear that my commentary would be much too lengthy to keep anyone’s attention.
This is my poetry review list for April. I would love to hear what everyone else is reading for poetry month! Let me know in the comments.