This is a sure-footed and powerful collection which not only points a finger at governmental posturing, and the tragedies that humans create, but also provides a kind of solution and mythology to replace those that have failed us. It isn’t always easy to read, and best read slowly, so the impact of each poem can be allowed to unfold. This is poetry written at the limits of what our language can do; without sacrificing accessibility. It speaks to everyman; as conspirator; perpetrator; and fellow seeker.
While you might need a few more reference books on your journey from a person who dreams of being an author to someone who has a book of his or her own to sign and sell, this is nevertheless a useful starting point and a reference you’ll find yourself going back to along the way.
The language is hard and unyielding, characteristics (since Salamun participated with his translator on this poem) that the poet elects. The language here and elsewhere consists of short images delivered in the fewest possible words.
The penetrating quality of his work speaks for itself, but – in addition to its humor and honesty – there is all-pervading grace. This arrests the reader and creates for him or her a memorable experience. Simic is a true poet in the classical manner, one capable of making the new from things that always were.
For a lover of the kind of complex poetry that Eliades writes, there will never be a substitute for the slow, repeated reading of words on a page. But listening to this CD is indeed a completely different experience – one where you can chant along, or allow lines to permeate directly into you while driving. Listening to Basil Eliades deliver his exquisite lines with breathless excitement, sincerity and elan, is indeed, delicious.
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.
Dorothy Porter talks about her new novel El Dorado, on the “obscure and effete in poetry,” the reasons for and difficulties with writing novels in verse, her narrative technique, and much more.
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.