on January 19, 2001
Eugenio Montale is my favourite poet, and before I was able to read him in the original Italian I read the extant English translations by Jonathan Galassi and William Arrowsmith. Looking back, I would wholeheartedly recommend Arrowsmith's translations about Galassi's.
Galassi's translations are accurate as far as the meaning goes, but do not sufficiently mirror the sound of Montale's brilliant Italian, and in several poems they do not translate the mood, the essence of Montale's poetic vision. Arrowsmith's translations have always seemed wonderful to me because they capture Montale's emotion (especially the sly irony of SATURA) and remain faithful to the sound of the Italian. If one wishes to read Montale's poems in English, I would highly suggest you purchase William Arrowsmith's translations. Arrowsmith translated not only Montale's first three books as Galassi only did, but also his retrospective SATURA, some of his best poetry.
This edition by Galassi does warrant recognition, however, for one thing. His attached essay, "Reading Montale," does a great deal for the unfamiliar reader to explain the nature of Montale's "Clizia" mythos, and his analysis of the cicada symbol teaches the reader to appreciate Montale's complex symbolism.
on August 7, 2000
Ably translated and annotated by Jonathan Galassi, this revised bilingual edition of Eugenio Montale's Collected Poems 1920-1954 brings the lyrical Italian poet's work to a new generation of readers. Montale is a gifted poet who work is deeply beautiful as it confronts the dilemmas of modern history, philosophy, and faith. Day And Night: A floating feather, too, can sketch your image/or the sunbeam playing hied-and-seek/in the furniture, rebounding off/a baby's mirror or the roofs. Above the walls/wisps of steam draw out the poplars' spires/and the knifegrinder's parrot down below/fans his feathers on his perch. And then the hazy night/in the little square, and footsteps, and always/this painful effort to sink under/to re-emerge the same for centuries, or seconds,/by ghosts who can't win back the light of your eyes/inside the incandescent cave -- and still/the same shouts and long wailing on the veranda/if suddenly the shot rings out/that reddens your throat and shears/your wings. O perilous harbinger of dawn,/and the cloisters and the hospitals awake/to a resounding chorus of horns...
on June 17, 2004
picked up this book out of nowhere and I read through a couple of poems, I enjoyed it so much that I purchased it then and there even though that my parents are gone for the next 3 days and I have $6.75 left to spend on food, along w/ this I purchased a Nancy Sinatra record and now I am screwed because I do NOT have enough money for food but that is ok I guess, I can leech off a couple of people Henry Miller style.