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Review – Eugenio Montale, Xenia, transl. Mario Petrucci

Eugenio Montale, transl. Mario Petrucci, Xenia, Bilingual Italian / English, 84 pp, £9.99, Arc Publications

Twenty-eight poems, some only two or three lines long, addressed to his dead wife by a poet in his late sixties and early seventies; Montale’s Xenia makes an approachable and moving introduction to this great but difficult poet. The Italian originals are beautifully presented in this book from Arc, though notes would have been helpful.

My feelings about Petrucci’s versions are ambivalent.  He presents the first poem like this:

Dear little insect
they called – I don’t know why – fly,
this evening on the brink of dark
while … Continue Reading

Review – D. M. Black, The Arrow Maker

88pp, £9.99, Arc Publications, Nanholme Mill, Shaw Wood Road, Todmorden OL14 6DA

The idea of love is at the core of The Arrow Maker. Different poems present examples of it in very different senses – love of community or children, kindness to strangers, care for the environment, concern for the suffering. Diverse as these takes on love may seem, we’re encouraged to think about the relationship between them by others that express the idea in more general terms: “St Francis in Winter”, “The Buddha Amit?bha”, and three translations from Dante. Black’s tone is far from didactic, though. His whole approach is … Continue Reading