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.