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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Montale's Poems 1920 - 1954, 16 Mar 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Collected Poems, 1920-1954: Revised Bilingual Edition (Paperback)
First of all, this is a luxuriously produced book, with expensive paper, large type and with the poems given enough space on the page to enable them to breathe. The editorial material is as full as you'd want it: there's an essay, 'Reading Montale' by the translator; a chronology of Montale's life and works; and around 200 pages of notes.
The decision to dedicate the book to the translator's parents aside, all this material is where it should be: at the back of the book, allowing the reader coming to Montale to take as much or as little of it as s/he wants. The poems themselves are extremely scrupulous; often short, presenting intensely charged moments in a voice that at once seems to be poetic and speaking. The imagery is fractured and concrete, reminding me of Paul Celan.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like T.S.Eliot, 30 July 2009
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Alan Tucker (Stroud, Gloucestershire Great Britain) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Collected Poems, 1920-1954: Revised Bilingual Edition (Paperback)
First, this is by far the best edition of Montale available for English readers. It has the Italian texts with decent facing page translations. I agree with the earlier reviewer, the production is excellent.

Montale is the poet who Larkin said, ruefully, took the Nobel prize in the only year he, Larkin, might have been in contention. Fair enough, as Montale is the greater poet. No one else in English or American poetry achieved such a full adult masculine voice in the tradition of Eliot. British poets chose different paths, all valuable, but no one with quite that authority of voice of understanding and deep knowledge of European culture and the difficulties of living with it. Montale became persona non grata under the Mussolini regime. He was always a distinguished critic and serious journalist. Later in life he became a diplomat. His love poems, love his favourite subject, are adult, wry, passionate, superb. Many were written for his American distant-mistress, an authority on Dante. He is to be ranked with Yeats, Rilke and Valèry - and is certainly as immediately accessible and readable as any of them. Maybe you need to like the best Italian films to go for his tone of voice? I suspect the film makers learnt more from him than from any other contemporary writer. If in doubt sample the cheaper little book translated and introduced by Dana Gioia, published 1990 by Graywolf Press, USA. 'Mottetti: Poems of love, the Motets of Eugenio Montale'.ISBN 1.55597.123.7 Gioia's translations are a little bit too easy, but read well and form an excellent starter. Mottetti: Poems of Love - The Motets of Eugenio Montale
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Collected Poems, 1920-1954: Revised Bilingual Edition
Collected Poems, 1920-1954: Revised Bilingual Edition by Eugenio Montale (Paperback - Jun 2000)
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