4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 4 December 2010
These poems reflect every aspect of being in love - the initial, unbearable tension (does s/he love me too? does s/he not?), the flowering happiness of those first weeks together, that madness maturing into a deeper love, and, of course, the misery of betrayal, of abandonment, of being the one who walks away too, and the guilt that tears one apart. Perhaps the most poignant poems are those that look back from a distance, with the benefit of emotional hindsight, better able to see the passage from apparent perfection to crushing loneliness. These are incredibly honest poems, but for all their personal inspiration, they have meaning for everyone in any stage of being in love, being out of love, being ecstatic or feeling quite broken. I recommend them very highly.
on 14 August 2012
Brian Patten's poetry resonates with a lyricism that pulls at the reader's heart with piercing illumination. His poems explore the great theme of love and all its various manifestations with a profundity that is accessible; enlightening our understanding as his grasp of the rhythmical pulse flows into our consciousness.
What makes Patten such a fine craftsman of his art is his ability to distil powerful and complex emotions in a language that sings, unencumbered like a stream, that is by turns uplifting (when celebrating the joy of love) and trenchant (when exploring the woe of love). Patten's popularity stems from the not insignificant fact that the language he deploys is approachable not abstruse; free-flowing not tangled; richly metaphorical without being overtly metaphysical. The pith of his poetry (and this is true for all great poetry) is in the language and reading this collection each reader will discover for him/herself a vocabulary that speaks about an aspect of love which will reverberate with their feelings.
Above all, this is a collection that praises love but doesn't shy away from interrogating how it can madden, frustrate, sadden, pain, maim, even strangle us at times. Love is the essence of living. Without it, to quote Lear, "Man's life's as cheap as beast's". We need it just as much as we need oxygen, shelter and water, "to love is the one common miracle." When we discover love, is there anything purer than can shield us from the vicissitudes of life? Anything more potent to withstand the chains of torment and arrows of doubt that can afflict the soul? Love is the great redeemer. As this peerless poet says in one of his many poems that merit re-reading And Doubt Shall Not Make An End Of You, "we have translated each other into love and into light go streaming."
Collected Love Poems is a treasure-trove for anyone who loves poetry and a cache of wisdom for anyone who has ever fallen in love, fallen out of love, been flamed by love, been flayed by love and/or is simply in love with the idea of love as a crystalline force that makes this life so crazily beautiful. The main delight is that this collection is permeated with a lyrical eloquence and phrasal pulchritude that fires the mind, stirs the heart and will make one become more aware of the multidimensional jewel that is love, afresh.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 April 2014
I suppose with any anthology of poetry there are those poems which go straight to the heart, to be enjoyed again and again, and others that pass straight over the head. I had hoped there would be more poems in this collection about the joy of love, rather than the sadness when things go wrong, but perhaps the latter emotion clamours to be turned into verse. Anyway, the poems that spoke to me are significant enough to make it worthwhile having bought the book.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2010
Admittedly I don't have this particular book yet but have 3 of his earlier works, including a book of his love poems. I absolutely love Brian Patten's work - his poetry is incredibly evocative and makes you feel as though you have been through what he is writing about, even if you haven't. His writing is lyrical, beautiful and so so worth reading!