Monday, July 7, 2014

Selected Poems

Cover image for Selected poems / Paul Verlaine ; translated by C.F. MacIntyre.
Selected Poems by Paul Verlaine, translated by CF MacIntyre, 100 pages
Verlaine was a French poet in the latter half of the nineteenth century.  His poems are often short and atmospheric, hinting more than stating:
     Never the Color, always the Shade,
     always the nuance is supreme!
He makes extensive use of hallucinatory imagery, seeking to craft poems: 
     like dreams when one wakes up to see
     what's doing, then falls asleep, dreaming once more
     of the same old enchantment, the same old decor...
This collection left me cold, probably more due to my own shortcomings than any of the author or translator.  I appreciated his later poems more than the earlier ones - indeed, the last poem, "Droll Advice", is my favorite in the collection.  The book includes the original French text on the facing pages, which helps even those of us who know no French get some idea of how the original sounds.

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