Charles Simic is a snug fit for the poet who uses the obvious to explore the mysterious and like any competent practitioner of the poet’s craft, he selects words exactly. To read these sixty poems, almost all of them short and ranging in date from 1986 to 2005, is to respond to the insights that govern a strange world disclosed by the familiar.
To read Paradiso by itself is a novel experience and well worth the special attention that it requires. This translation is exceptional and among so many stands out as particularly splendid and true.
It’s as if the characters function as a kind of strophe and antistrophe — the male voices pressing on with the war and the females analysing, wondering, and in their own way, pulling back even as they participate. The tension between these dispersed voices drives the narrative forward and helps give the story a drama which goes beyond the action on the battlefield.
Once again, Porter succeeds in that impossible juggling act of narrative and poetry. Even for the most casual of reader, El Dorado reads easily as a fast paced, intense and psychologically satisfying thriller. For those who want more than simply a quick escape, El Dorado explores complex topics of childhood innocence and guilt; love and hatred; desire and psychosis with the kind of taut intensity that only poetry can provide.
This is an extremely well-written and worthwhile work that will appeal especially to those readers who have found tragedy and beauty in Sebastian Faulks’Birdsong or Pat Barker’s Regeneration Trilogy. Like these other novels, Beating for Light makes us realise that war – with all its waste, horror and futility – has, too, a human face.
Is this a neglected book? If so, it deserves your attention. It will require perhaps two hours of your time, but it will be time spent acquiring a lasting experience and a durable memory of great value.
I am not a Latinist but I have over the years immersed myself in Latin texts and have a little knowledge of the problems that Fagles faced. Virgil began The Aeneid in the most striking way he could manage and a line or two from near the opening becomes eminently suitable for comparison of the original with Fagles’s translation.
There are seventeen poems in this chapbook so that in this brief book the poems are all fairly long. Most of them explore situations or play with narrative possibilities. The ingenuity is significant and the care in the selection of…
micromacro is an easy to read collection which presents a light, gently spaced series of poems that appear simple as they cover the Australian terrain and glide over current affairs. Look closely however and the poetry is sharper, more intense and…
This is a well-proportioned book with illustrations to accompany every excerpt of poetry. The illustrations come from a different time (seventeenth to nineteenth century) than the poems, some of which date from as early as the fifth century of our…