- The Flowers of Evil
- Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson
- Butterfly Valley
- Autobiography of Red
- Rilke's Book of Hours
- The Beatrice Letters
- Early Poems
Baudelaire's verses are captivating, with lines like, "Beauty, you walk on corpses, horror is charming as your other gems, and murder is a trinket dancing there lovingly on your naked belly skin. You are a candle where the mayfly dies in flames, blessing this fire is deadly bloom. The panting lover bending to his love looks like a dying man who strokes his tomb."
"Flowers of Evil" is an absolute must-read for those who appreciate the exquisite interplay of sensuality and death in literature. Highly recommended!
Dickinson's poems often explore similar themes to Edgar Allan Poe, delving into solitude, the inner workings of the mind, self-reflection, and fleeting moments of life. Her poetry touches on topics like death, eternity, and madness. I can't recommend her enough, especially given the brevity of her poems. If you find you don't resonate with her, it's not as if you've invested hours in reading lengthy works.
This book is an absolute gem that weaves intricate narratives around the memories and associations of butterflies, particularly their colors and the images they evoke.
"Butterfly Valley" explores the profound connections between different butterfly species and personal memories, childhood experiences, and emotions. The poet artfully characterizes butterflies as symbols of survival, much like humans who use deception to navigate the complexities of life. One of the most impactful lines comes from the poem "On Death," where the poet dreams of running with their dog into the kingdom of death.
This collection is a recent favorite of mine, and I highly recommend it for its unique and evocative exploration of memory and the human experience.
One of her works that stands out is "Autobiography of Red," which seamlessly combines a novel and a poem. It's a modern retelling of the Greek myth of Heracles and his battle with the red monster. Yet, it's also a wholly original coming-of-age story set in the present. What sets Carson apart is her ability to use language in such a unique way that it reshapes your understanding of the world. Her descriptions are fresh, imaginative, and incredibly thought-provoking.
Ann Carson's use of language allows you to view things from entirely different angles and enhances your ability to communicate, both externally and within yourself. She grapples with the limitations of language and often explores the art of translation, especially in her work with ancient Greek texts. For instance, her versions of works like "The Oresteia" and "Autobiography of Red" are truly exceptional.
"Book of Hours" is a work that I find myself recommending time and time again, and I believe it's due for another mention. It's a book I return to at least once a year, and each time, it offers me something new. This particular edition, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy, is a beautiful anniversary edition that adds to the charm.
While "Book of Hours" is sometimes subtitled "Love Poems to God," it's important to note that it's quite distinct from traditional Western religious texts and concepts. This book is divided into several parts, including the book of a monastic life, the book of pilgrimage, and the book of poverty and death. What's particularly intriguing about the third section, the book of poverty and death, is how it challenges modern society's negative perception of both poverty and death. Rilke views them as sources of value and revelation, rather than something to be avoided. In his eyes, death is the fruit of life, an intimate expression of our quest for meaning. Poverty, too, is examined with tender attention, emphasizing its value and unique qualities.
What sets "Memorial" apart is its profound exploration of death, grief, and war, all while celebrating the natural world and the environment in which these events transpired. Oswald's work is a testament to the power of remembrance, capturing the essence of each life lost and preserving their memory in a beautiful and commemorative way.
For those interested in reading "The Iliad" or exploring its themes, "Memorial" serves as an excellent companion piece, offering a fresh perspective on the epic and its characters. Alice Oswald's talent shines brightly in this work, making "Memorial" a highly recommended and thought-provoking read.
Lemony Snicket, known for his series "A Series of Unfortunate Events," dedicates each book in the series to a mysterious figure named Beatrice. These dedications, filled with melancholy and love, piqued my curiosity and led me to "The Beatrice Letters." In this book, Lemony Snicket pours his heart into letters addressed to Beatrice, whom he has loved since childhood. These letters are both quirky and profound, offering a unique blend of humor and deep emotion.
I appreciated how Millay's poems covered a wide range of topics, including elements of cottagecore charm, which I found utterly cute. Her work was not confined to a single theme, and this diversity in her collection appealed to me. Some of her poems had a light-hearted and whimsical quality, while others delved into more profound and finely crafted lyrics and sonnets.