Montale: Poems (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets Series)

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This reader had not been familiar with the poetry of Eugenio Montale, although apparently, he is quite famous and acclaimed. I am happy to get to know his poetry in this beautiful and collectible edition by Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets. The publisher presents poetry in beautifully bound and beribboned editions. Even the paper and typography make reading a sensual pleasure.

While the themes of Montale’s poetry eluded me much of the time, his images are striking and elegant. When I learned that Montale had been trained as a singer, the songbook nature of his poetry was explained. He writes in the Italian tradition of poets stretching from Dante, in much the same style. Like Dante’s Beatrice, Montale writes in honor of the perfect woman. In “In the Greenhouse” this woman calls to mind “the dark idea of God.” He goes on: “Rapt, weightless, I was drenched with you.” This poem exemplifies the poet’s mastery of images which form perfect stories. Although “Lunchtime Letter” is included in the appendix, I felt that this was one of the best of his poems. The hills were “dressed in scant lace,” and he writes of believing in a pact between himself and another. Clearly, the poetry of Montale as evidenced in this volume brings us closer to this wonderful mastery of poetry. The book also includes a chronology of Montale’s long life and an explication of the poems.

Reviewed By:

Author Eugenio Montale, edited by Jonathan Galassi
Star Count 4.5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 272 pages
Publisher Everyman's Library
Publish Date 2020-04-07
ISBN 9781101908228 Buy this Book
Issue June 2020
Category Poetry & Short Stories


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