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    $10.20 $5.97 list($15.00)
    1. The Prophet
    $360.00 $359.99 list($600.00)
    2. The Complete Arkangel Shakespeare:
    $18.15 list($27.50)
    3. Slouching Toward Nirvana : New
    $9.42 $8.95 list($14.95)
    4. The Odyssey
    $10.37 $9.90 list($15.95)
    5. The Iliad (Penguin Classics)
    $8.95 $6.27 list($9.95)
    6. Letters to a Young Poet
    $22.05 list($35.00)
    7. Complete Poems and Plays,: 1909-1950
    $13.57 $11.99 list($19.95)
    8. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
    $8.00 $4.99 list($10.00)
    9. Odyssey (Penguin Classics)
    $13.57 $13.52 list($19.95)
    10. The Family of Man
    $17.46 $16.22 list($24.95)
    11. The Complete Collected Poems of
    12. The Norton Anthology of Poetry,
    $10.46 $7.77 list($13.95)
    13. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation
    $5.36 $2.65 list($5.95)
    14. The Inferno
    $8.00 $6.35 list($10.00)
    15. Paradise Lost (Penguin Classics)
    $11.53 $11.18 list($16.95)
    16. The Divine Comedy: The Inferno/the
    $23.62 $18.50 list($37.50)
    17. The Poetry of Robert Frost : The
    $9.00 list($28.00)
    18. The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection
    $15.40 $14.45 list($22.00)
    19. Why I Wake Early
    $95.00 $69.99
    20. The Complete Works of W.H. Auden

    1. The Prophet
    list price: $15.00
    our price: $10.20
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0394404289
    Catlog: Book (1923-09-12)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 1169
    Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
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    In a distant, timeless place, a mysterious prophet walks the sands. At the moment of his departure, he wishes to offer the people gifts but possesses nothing. The people gather round, each asks a question of the heart, and the man's wisdom is his gift. It is Gibran's gift to us, as well, for Gibran's prophet is rivaled in his wisdom only by the founders of the world's great religions. On the most basic topics--marriage, children, friendship, work, pleasure--his words have a power and lucidity that in another era would surely have provoked the description "divinely inspired." Free of dogma, free of power structures and metaphysics, consider these poetic, moving aphorisms a 20th-century supplement to all sacred traditions--as millions of other readers already have.--Brian Bruya ... Read more

    Reviews (168)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Worth your time
    Most stories have some sort of existential or spiritual point to make. Gibran's story has many. But unlike most books this one sacrifices length and plot, employing a simple and poetic (in prose) directness in order to tell us not so much the meaning of life as how to live. The prophet in Gibran's story is asked by his people to talk about everything from the law to pain and death. And his sermons are both instructive and profound without being over righteous or narcissistic. In fact, so carefully woven and universal is Gibran's prose that one could conceivably adopt The Prophet as some sort of new age holy book. This would, of course, not only be potentially unwise but also unnecessary since its foundations are clearly derived from Judeo-Christian spiritual values. It certainly does not square with many eastern religions in its almost excessive romanticization of notions such as good, evil and God. And even for western readers, it is probably most valuable when considered as an eloquent reminder of our own spiritual heritage. I will keep this book and undoubtedly reread it many times over for its depth and wisdom. It isn't easy to write a modern set of spiritual aphorisms without sounding awkward, cliched, or downright wrong. But Gibran manages it with a natural attractiveness and spiritual sincerity that has assured its status as a modernized tome of timeless spiritual values.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Spiritual masterpiece
    Khalil Gibran's The Prophet is a truly awe inspiring work of prosaic poetry. Despite being a native-born Arabic speaker, Gibran wrote The Prophet in English, ensuring that his powerful words lost nothing in translation.

    The work's 28 short chapters recount the words of a prophet as he leaves his home to depart on a new journey. The words that flow from the prophet's mouth and onto the pages are philosophical and spiritual treatises on all aspects of life. Chapters discuss the range of human experiences and include discussions such as "On Friendship", "On Pain" and "On Death." What unites the 28 chapters is Gibran's thought provoking and probing literary style as Gibran's prophet invokes his listeners to live life to the fullest. The book is not overtly religious but every word and sentence is filled with a spiritual clarity.

    The book is eminently quotable with every chapter providing a nugget of truth worthy of repeating. Amazingly, Gibran packs his masterpiece into less than 100 pages, making it a very quick and easy read. Readers will find themselves returning to The Prophet again and again to recapture the beauty of Gibran's words.

    The Prophet, which Gibran himself recognized as his greatest masterpiece, is a timeless literary classic. Its truth has touched generations of readers and will undoubtedly continue to do so.

    5-0 out of 5 stars MidWest Book Review
    If I have ever read a book that is timeless, other than the Word of God, it would have to be this one. Although I may not have agreed with every word written, so many of the words of wisdom within these pages brought peace and comfort to me.
    I read this book many, many years ago. I quoted from it at times and thought of it often. The words seemed to wrap themselves around your heart and spring out in times of need. There are not many books that can stake that claim, and I have read many.

    A classic in my opinion and a book that will never be outdated.


    5-0 out of 5 stars the beauty of spirituality
    I was given this book by a writer friend who called it "the most beautiful book I've ever read." So, since she and I have similar literary tastes, I was inclined to read it. This little book, written in a rich, colorful, deep, and wise poetic style, is full of some of the most moving and impressive spiritual phrases and messages I've ever read. It was written in 1923 but its poetry and wisdom are timeless.

    David Rehak
    author of "Poems From My Bleeding Heart"

    5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Wonderful!!
    This is a book you can read and re-read many many times.
    Great and timeless thoughts about relationships, love and
    friendship. I will share this with my family. :)

    Jeffrey C. McAndrew
    author of "Our Brown Eyed Boy" ... Read more

    2. The Complete Arkangel Shakespeare: 38 Fully-Dramatized Plays
    by William Shakespeare, Eileen Atkins, Joseph Fiennes, John Gielgud, Imogen Stubbs, Claran Hinds, Simon Russell Beale
    list price: $600.00
    our price: $360.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1932219005
    Catlog: Book (2003-03)
    Publisher: Audio Partners
    Sales Rank: 49628
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    For the first time in audio publishing history, all of Shakespeare's plays are available in one extraordinary, definitive collection. Based on The Complete Pelican Shakespeare, here are all of the master's 38 plays, complete and unabridged, fully dramatized on CDs with an original score and sound design for each play. A monumental project that spanned five years and cost $3 million, The Complete Arkangel Shakespeare represents the collective vision of four people: Shakespeare scholar Tom Treadwell, film producer Bill Shepherd, BBC director Clive Brill, and composer Dominique Le Gendre. Together they have assembled the 400 great actors of the British theater and produced a landmark digital recording with a sophisticated layering of sound that immerses the listener in Shakespeare's world. ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A monumental project with flaws but immense overall value
    To Buy or Not to Buy!

    Educators, lovers of theatre and great literature--take note! Late in the 1990s, Harper Row began to release on cassettes the Arkangel Complete Shakespeare, all of which I reviewed in one paper or another. Using some of the best of the young theatrical talent in Great Britain and some of the older established stars of stage and screen, the producers gave us readings of every single word of every single play by Shakespeare, including the seldom-performed "Two Noble Kinsmen" which is partially by Shakespeare.

    Well, hold on! Audio Partners has been contracted to release the entire set on CDs. The trick is that you cannot purchase the individual sets but are required to purchase the entire package of 38 plays for $600. That is 98 CDs in all with a playing time of just over 101 hours! Libraries and school departments take note.

    Hearing them as they were released on tape in batches of four or five, I was impressed mostly with the enormity of the project but found some things to quibble about. Casting Oberon and Titania with a pair whose voices were South African or Jamaican (no Henry Higgins, I) made some sense in that it emphasized their other-worldly-ness. So did assigning Malvolio in "Twelfth Night" to an actor with a distinct Scottish accent, but giving Mercutio in "Romeo and Juliet" to the same actor was absurd. Then too there is that sudden sound effect of a train pulling out of a station in the middle of "All's Well That Ends Well"! Granted there was a production current then that did place the play in more modern times, but when one is hearing a recording with no clue as to setting, the result was jarring and should have been omitted.

    In the grander roles such as Hamlet, Othello and the like, the younger actors give modern readings which might strike some as slighting demands of the high poetry. And those who long for the grander readings can turn to the re-releases of the old Shakespeare Recording Society sets.

    One great disadvantage to the cassettes is that you could locate a specific scene only with much fast forwarding. With CDs, of course, you can jump to any scene by pressing the Skip button on your player. When a scene continues onto another disc, the tracking list tells you at which line the scene picks up.

    The price might be prohibitive to all but an institution--but I feel that every library should find its way to purchasing the complete set in much the same way that many purchased the complete set of BBC Shakespeare videos.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Get it. Period.
    If you have to empty your penny jar, if you have to cash in your IRA, do so. Get this. These are absolutely superb recordings of some of the best English ever written and some of the most memorable characters ever created. So you don't recognize every word. Doesn't matter. The excellent actors carry you along and draw you intimately into the drama.

    You can follow the play in text if you choose to -- they follow the readily available Complete Pelikan Shakespeare. But you don't need to -- if you aren't familiar with a play the brief four or five line summaries of each scene in the small fold-out accompanying each play are quite sufficient to know which characters are involved. It's possible to listen to these while driving, but you can't concentrate fully unless you're totally stuck in traffic. My number one recommendation is to take a Walkman and a pair of headphones to a hammock under a tree and indulge yourself. Second best is a comfy easy chair.

    However you listen to these, do get them and listen to them. Or persuade your local library to get the set.

    The price -- ...-- seems high until you figure that this is 38 complete plays -- less than the cost of the same play in paperback -- and there are a total of 83 disks, so you're paying just $5 per disk. Cheap! And these aren't some pop music you'll listen to once; these are a lifetime investment for yourself and your family.

    Get it. Period.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Thrilling Drama
    These performances will keep you spellbound. There is something profound and amazing about listening to this Shakespeare, probably owing to the combination of perfect sound; nuanced, captivating, stellar acting; and fully comprehending the magic of The Bard's words. The quality of the recording is impeccable - there are no glitches, and the volume-level is consistent. Listening on my CD player at home, and following along with the text (not included with the CDs), I feel like I'm "getting" Shakespeare, and being moved by his words, like never before. I even find this listening more satisfying than seeing a Shakespeare play because I can better grasp and appreciate every line. The acting is first-rate (most actors are well-recognized RSC alumns, many of whom have become respected British film stars - ahem - Joseph Fiennes, Ciaran Hinds, Simon Russell Beale, Amanda Root, to name a few), and the clarity of the production picks up the most delicate subtleties of each performance. The background music complements and enhances each play, but isn't obtrusive. I wholeheartedly recommend this set - it will take you to a new level with Shakespeare. ... Read more

    3. Slouching Toward Nirvana : New Poems
    by Charles Bukowski
    list price: $27.50
    our price: $18.15
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060577037
    Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
    Publisher: Ecco
    Sales Rank: 55657
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    Book Description

    Charles Bukowski is one of America's best-known contemporary writers of poetry and prose, and, many would claim, its most influential and imitated poet. He was born in Andernach, Germany, to an American soldier father and a German mother in 1920, and brought to the United States at the age of three. He was raised in Los Angeles and lived there for fifty years. He published his first story in 1944 when he was twenty-four and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. He died in San Pedro, California, on March 9, 1994, at the age of seventy-three, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp (1994).

    During his lifetime Bukowski published more than forty-five books of poetry and prose, including the novels Post Office (1971), Factotum (1975), Women (1978), Ham on Rye (1982), and Hollywood (1989). Among his most recent books are the posthumous editions of What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through the Fire: New Poems (1999), Open All Night: New Poems (2000), The Night Torn Mad with Footsteps: New Poems (2001), Sifting through the madness for the Word, the line, the way: New Poems (2003), and The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain: New Poems (2004).

    All of his books have now been published in translation in more than a dozen languages, and his worldwide popularity remains undiminished. In the years to come Ecco will publish additional volumes of previously uncollected poetry and prose.

    ... Read more

    4. The Odyssey
    by Robert Fagles, Homer, Bernard Knox
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $9.42
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0140268863
    Catlog: Book (1999-11-29)
    Publisher: Penguin USA (Paper)
    Sales Rank: 4968
    Average Customer Review: 4.13 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    If The Iliad is the world's greatest war epic, then The Odyssey is literature's grandest evocation of everyman's journey though life. Odysseus's reliance on his wit and wiliness for survival in his encounters with divine and natural forces during his ten-year voyage home to Ithaca after the Trojan War is at once a timeless human story and an individual test of moral endurance.

    Translated by Robert Fagles
    Introduction and Notes by Bernard Knox
    ... Read more

    Reviews (109)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Beggar-King of Ithaca
    O sing in me, muse...

    If only Athena would whisper in my ear the review she would write! That said, I feel it would take an Olympian god to adequately convey the richness and scope of Homer's epic poem.

    The story in "The Odyssey" is elegant and simple. A man trapped on an island far from country and kin finally gains a reprieve from the gods and is allowed to make for home (after an absence of almost twenty years). Odysseus bids farewell to his erstwhile captor, Calypso, and sets out on his homeward journey. Meanwhile, his coming-of-age son, Telemachus, begins his own Athena-led quest to find news of his dad. The home-fires back on Odysseus' native Ithaca are all but extinguished. His faithful wife Penelope continues to wage her battle against an insolent mob of greedy suitors. Not to worry, revenge is a key element in this story!

    Between Odysseus' struggle to return to sea-girt Ithaca and Telemachus' wanderings to find his dad, a fair amount of Greek mythology and history spills out onto the pages; this amidst athletic competitions, banquets and endless cups of well-mixed wine. At the same time the reader is getting an education in Greek hospitality and sport, a lexicon of gods and monsters is unfolded before us.

    No one really knows if Homer existed, or even if there was a Troy. None of this matters. "The Odyssey" is about heroes and scoundrels, courage and fear, life and death. It is about dedication and strength, respect and pride. "The Odyssey," one might also add, is about cunning and craftiness; he's not called "wily Odysseus" for naught.

    So read "The Odyssey." Discover for yourself why this story has been around for well over 2500 years, and why it is at the inertial point of Western civilization.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Romantic Adventure Story from Ancient Greece
    The Odyssey is a famous epic poem centering around the adventures of Odysseus, hero of the Trojan War. As the story begins there is a crisis in the royal palace at Ithaca. With Odysseus having been gone for nearly twenty years, his wife, Penelope, is besieged with suitors. They've moved into the palace and for three years have consumed much of the resources of the young prince, Telemachus. Unknown to all is that Odysseus is alive but being held prisoner by Calypso on the island of Ogygia.

    We do not hear what happened to Odysseus until Book 5 when he's released from Ogygia with the help of Athena, only to lose his craft from Poseidon's storm. Barely surviving the storm, he washed up on the island of Phaeacia. There we learn of his incredible adventure since leaving Troy.

    Battling monsters, giants, and angry gods and goddesses, Odysseus used courage, cunning, and guile to get out of one jam after another, but he was unable to save his crew. When he finally made it to Ithaca he would be faced with the biggest challenge of all-saving his kingdom.

    Such was Homer's tale which must have both thrilled and terrorized the young Greeks when they first heard it some 2500 years ago. While today's youth may be a bit desensitized to Odysseus' terrors we can be moved by his courage and devotion to his family. Penelope is also a heroine in this story. Her devotion to her lost husband and awareness that her son's inheritance must be protected tore her apart; and Telemachus, only a baby when his father left, had to grow up on his own and be prepared to give his life for the kingdom. I think you'll enjoy the story.

    5-0 out of 5 stars No omnipotent Gods
    Many students look back in disgust on the compulsory literature they had to swallow in school, mostly (partly) in the original language.
    For Homer's Odyssey (and the Iliad) this is an error.
    The epic contains everything a book needs to make it an everlasting bestseller: sex sorceresses, lascivous temptresses, one-eyed ogres, innocent young maidens, flattering suitors and a model wife.
    The story evolves with such eternal characters as the virtuous Penelope, the ingenious Odysseus, the innocent Nausikaa, Calypso's sex-appeaL, the man-eating Cyclops, Circe's sexual spells or the brash temptations of Scylla and Charybdis.
    As in the Iliad, the only 'ancient' ingredient is the presence of the Gods, who intervene every time a disaster is going to happen.
    But there is a big difference between the Iliad and the Odyssey. While in the Iliad the Gods are omnipotent, in the Odyssey 'they cannot prevent that those who are mortal die' and 'human catastrophies are man-made, not the faults of the Gods'.
    Compared with the Iliad, the Odyssey is more a story-telling than a poetic epic with few Homeric comparisons or lenghty enumerations. It is also a more optimistic human tale.
    A must read.

    2-0 out of 5 stars HOPE
    That you never give up and he fight with people to be with his girlfriend........

    4-0 out of 5 stars I dont remember nothing
    I liked this book because I think that this book has a lot of action and is contains some adventure too. And I recommend this because it make you think a lot about how wonderful life is. ... Read more

    5. The Iliad (Penguin Classics)
    by Homer, Robert Fagles, Bernard MacGregor Walker Knox
    list price: $15.95
    our price: $10.37
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0140275363
    Catlog: Book (1998-10-01)
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    Sales Rank: 3511
    Average Customer Review: 4.52 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    This timeless poem-more than 2,700 year old-still vividly conveys the horror and heroism of men and gods wrestling with towering emotions and battling amid devastation and destruction as it moves inexorably to its wrenching, tragic conclusion. Readers of this epic poem will be gripped by the finely tuned translation and enlightening introduction.

    Translated by Robert Fagles
    Introduction and Notes by Bernard
    ... Read more

    Reviews (86)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fagles Does It Again
    I have read several versions of the Iliad (both poetic and prose) and this version translated by Robert Fagles is the best I've read. Fagles has such an ability to translate the classics (as he has done with the Odyssey and the Theban Plays of Sophocles) so that they are readable to the modern English reader while still maintaining the lyricism of poetry. I'm also a sucker for introductions, glossaries, and translation notes and this edition has excellent versions of all three. While I would have liked even more notes to explain some of the myth references within the Iliad, the ones that are there are very explanatory. Bernard Knox (who also wrote the Notes) delivers a very erudite introduction that puts the "rage of Achilles" into context and gives an enlightening view of the humanity of the Gods who appear within. Highly recommended to those who want to get in touch with their Ancient Greek side.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A readable Iliad in modern idiom
    Robert Fagles's translation of Homer's Iliad is spiritually if not literally true to the original. Both versions repeat set speeches and descriptions in precisely the same words, and the translation exhibits a fairly regular rhythmic beat. But Homer's Greek was chanted, and the set passages were like refrains in which listeners could, if they chose, join in as a chorus. In English, the repetitions sometimes become tedious, especially when the same speech is given three times in two pages, as in the relay of Zeus's orders in Book II. Especially noteworthy is Bernard Knox's long and fascinating Introduction, a masterpiece of literary criticism and scholarship which conveys Homer's grim attitude toward war, the interplay of divine and human will, and the ancient concepts of honor, courage, and virility in the face of the stark finality of death. Knox also includes a succinct explanation of the quantitative, rather than accentual, basis of Greek (and Latin) verse. For easy readability, Fagles's translation is without rival. For elegance and poetry, however, I recommend Richmond Lattimore's older but still gripping and fluent translation.

    1-0 out of 5 stars worthless
    this book leads to two things:

    a waste of time

    a waste of money

    3-0 out of 5 stars Something in excess.....
    Admittedly, the Fagles translation of The Iliad is not the version I am reviewing. Mine was a prose translation, by Samuel Butler, of 'The Way of All Flesh' fame.....and the words inscribed in the Temple of Apollo, 'Nothing in Excess' came to mind as I read, as there is something in excess, and not a good something...

    Having read the Odyssey in prose form, translated by E.V. Rieu, I had high hopes for what is described as the 'greatest war story ever told'....

    With a more than impressive cast of characters to work with; Achilles, Paris, Hector, Helen of Troy, etc, etc, etc,....this story (and perhaps it is the translation) is really lacking when compared to The Odyssey in story content. Much of the book is used to name soldier after soldier who dies, along with his patronimic lineage...and how he was killed; be it sword, spear, rock, etc.

    The story that inspires this book, the love of Paris and his affair with Helen, the 'face that launched a thousand ships' is a story ripe with potential...for both a good war story, a good love story, and a fascinating look at Ancient Greek war strategy, and the taking and sacking of a powerful city like Troy. In this incarnation, it doesn't live up to that potential, which was greatly disappointing.

    The story read, to me, as a Classical equivalent to the United States' Vietnam War Memorial, listing name after name of slain soldiers and M.I.A.' much so that the 'main characters' of the story are grievously overlooked, and it is near impossible to keep track of which side is winning, with name after name hurled at you.

    The saving grace, for me, of this book is really the last several chapters...where the grief of Achilles for his slain lover, Patroclus, is chronicled. While never blatant in its descriptiveness, the love, admiration, and longing that Achilles held for Patroclus is MORE than evident here, even if Brad Pitt couldn't muster the bravery to play it on screen in his ho-hum turn as Achilles. Also entertaining is the impish interference of the Gods from time to time to favor one side or another...which was also 'scrubbed' from the film version, as it, according to Pitt, would not 'play well' with an audience.

    I guess after reading the Odyssey, I anticipated a superior story here, and was disappointed with what I found. Though the subject matter is fascinating...and the recent Hollywood bastardization is appallingly NON-authentic, having read the story, I walked away from this book feeling let down.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Iliad of Homer in it's best Incarnation
    Have you ever wanted to go back in time, to an era where powerful gods mingled with humans and great wars were fought, to an era of mythology? Well, welcome to The Iliad, the classic tale of the Trojan War. This ancient story tells us of forty-one of the most brutal days of the great Trojan War, the great war fought to retrieve Helen, the former wife of the Spartan king. It tells us of the rage of Achilles, the champion fighter of the Greeks, when the all-powerful Agamemnon does him a wrong.

    All throughout this epic poem, the flowing verse creates a wonderful, musical experience that's a joy to read. There is wonderful depth of character and use of emotions everywhere in this exquisite book, allowing you to know the magnificent, rich characters inside and out. Descriptions are captivating and concise, resulting in extraordinarily clear mental images of what's happening. The story itself is so well crafted that it is almost believable.
    I would highly recommend this absolutely fantastic book to anyone and everyone. The reading is very easy, and very rhythmic, so nearly anyone will be able to read it. The Iliad is definitely one the best books I have ever read and it deserves to be so for you.

    Karl Griggs ... Read more

    6. Letters to a Young Poet
    by Rainer Maria Rilke
    list price: $9.95
    our price: $8.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0393310396
    Catlog: Book (2004-08)
    Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
    Sales Rank: 6628
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    It would take a deeply cynical heart not to fall in love withRainer Maria Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet. At the end of this millennium,his slender book holds everything a student of the century could want: the unedited thoughts of (arguably) the most important European poet of the modern age. Rilke wrote these 10 sweepingly emotional letters in 1903, addressing a former student of one of his own teachers. The recipientwas wise enough to omit his own inquiries from the finished product, which means that we get a marvelously undiluted dose of Rilkean aestheticsand exhortation.

    The poet prefaced each letter with an evocative notation of the city in which he wrote, including Paris, Rome, and the outskirts of Pisa. Yethe spends most of the time encouraging the student in his own work,delivering a sublime, one-on-one equivalent of the modern writing workshop:

    Go into yourself and test the deeps in which your life takes rise; atits source you will find the answer to the question whether you must create. Accept it, just as it sounds, without inquiring into it.Perhaps it will turn out that you are called to be an artist. Then take thatdestiny upon yourself and bear it, its burden and its greatness, without ever asking what recompense might come from outside.
    Every page is stamped with Rilke's characteristic grace, and the bookis free of the breathless effect that occasionally mars his poetry. Hisideas on gender and the role of the artist are also surprisingly prescient.And even his retrograde comment on the "beauty of the virgin" (which thepoet derives from the fact that she "has not yet achieved anything") is counterbalanced by his perception that "the sexes are more related thanwe think." Those looking for an alluring image of the solitary artist--andfor an astonishing quotient of wisdom--will find both in Letters to aYoung Poet.--Jennifer Buckendorff ... Read more

    Reviews (42)

    5-0 out of 5 stars eternal wisdom should be shared with everyone
    A very good friend gave this book to me as I was struggling to find myself during my early college years. I was instantly amazed at how a book written over ninety years ago could be so precisely helpful to the many questions I was suffering with at the time. Rilke introduced me to the concept of solitude as a blessing. This idea has truly changed my life for the better as I have taken the time to step away from life and look inside for the answers I seek. If I had one gift to give someone I truly cared about, it would be this masterpiece. Although the contents of this book can not be appreciated by everyone, I challenge all to read it and see if it sparks the fire in them that it has brought to me.

    5-0 out of 5 stars full of wisdom and insight
    I had already read this book a couple of months ago and was moved by Rilke's incredible wisdom. And just a few days ago, while I was preparing for a philosophy exam, I chanced upon this book once more and, seeing certain parallels between Rilke's words and other philosophers', truly understood and admired Rilke and his perspective on life. Rilke speaks of dragons in our lives... who could be princesses in disguise "...waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love..." This is one book that should be constantly reread and pondered on by anyone who wishes to move towards the true meaning of what it is to be human...

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the most important books I've ever read
    I have read, re-read and generally mutilated my copy of Rainier Maria Rilke's "Letters To A Young Poet". Rarely does a day go by without me thinking of Rilke's Nietzschean, no-holds-barred philosophy of the real poet. For him, a poet is no simply one who writes verses or rhymes words: it is a different kind of human being who embraces not only beauty and happinesss but suffering and misfortune. His thoughts on solitude are absolutely indispensable. Any artist or aspiring artist who has ever been in a fruitless relationship ("loss of the self" is a theme he explores almost obsessively) will realize that Rilke is writing through experience on the necessity of a good amount of solitude, both spiritual and physical, to create art. He is achingly honest to the poet with whom he is conversing, and passionately sincere. He knows that not every poet is a poet, and that some will find the Promethean task far too exhausting to actually go through with it: the real artist is the one who has no choice in the matter. His inner demons or angels will not ALLOW him to stop writing. Bukowski's thoughts on the matter are similar, as are most major writers and artist. This is a demanding, unforgiving collection of letters. Rilke has no patience for weakness or dilly dallying. But it is more inspiring than any self-help book on the shelf. This should be nationally distributed, not only for artists but for human beings as a whole.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "When a prince is going to speak silence must be made"
    "Letters to a Young Poet" is a very small book that allows us to enjoy the correspondence between a famous writer and an aspiring poet. This exchange of letters began in 1903 thanks to a missive that Franz Xaver Kappus sent to R. M. Rilke, and continued for many years, until 1908.

    Why is this little book important?. Because it allows us to read what Rilke thought about many subjects, for example life, poetry, and art. And because, as F. X. Kappus said, "when a prince is going to speak, silence must be made".

    Kappus wanted to share the insights that Rilke gave him, and thus compiled his missives in "Letters to a young poet". The letters are few, and not overly long, but in this case the knowledge offered is certainly greater than the number of pages.

    I especially appreciated the fact that Rilke tried to share his experiences with the striving writer, without pretending to impose his opinions on him. The result of this open-minded attitude is that he doesn't seem a distant teacher, but rather a friend that merely happens to know more than him. That can be easily seen, for example, when he advices Franz to: "Go into yourself and test the deeps in which your life takes rise; at its source you will find the answer to the question whether you must create. Accept it, just as it sounds, without inquiring into it. Perhaps it will turn out that you are called to be an artist".

    On the whole, I highly recommend this book to everybody. It will probably be more useful to aspiring writers, but people who simply enjoy literature will delight in it too :)

    Belen Alcat

    1-0 out of 5 stars Poor translation of an even poorer book
    I've never understood the fascination with the "wisdom" of the 28 year old Rilke. To me, this is quite possibly the most condescending work in German literature. ... Read more

    7. Complete Poems and Plays,: 1909-1950
    by T. S. Eliot
    list price: $35.00
    our price: $22.05
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 015121185X
    Catlog: Book (1952-11-20)
    Publisher: Harcourt
    Sales Rank: 22365
    Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
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    Eliot's poetry ranges from the massively magisterial( The Waste Land), to the playfully pleasant (Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats). This volume of Eliot's poetry and plays offers the complete text of these and most all of Eliot's poetry,including the full text of Four Quartets. Winner of theNobel Prize in Literature, Eliot exerted a profound influence on his contemporaries in the arts generally and this collection makes his genius clear. ... Read more

    Reviews (10)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Eliot at his best
    A wonderful collection of most of T.S. Eliot's poetry, including The Wasteland, The Hollow Men and Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. Has extensive notes by the author. A must for all Eliot fans.

    4-0 out of 5 stars 3-star collection of a 10-star poet's work
    T. S. Eliot was arguably the greatest poet of the 20th century, but this collection is far from ideal. Alert readers will have already noticed the ominous qualifier "1909-1950" in the title; this book does *not* include the last two plays ("The Confidential Clerk" and "The Elder Statesman"), the last Ariel poem ("The Cultivation of Christmas Trees"), or the handful of Occasional Verses included in "Collected Poems 1909-1962." In addition, the typography in this volume is claustrophobic in the early poems. TSE's style is concentrated and intense, and virtually every collection of his work has the sense to begin each poem on a new page. This book, unfortunately, is the exception: it crams the poems together like classified ads.

    The One True Eliot Collection was never published in the United States: "The Complete Poems and Plays of T. S. Eliot" (Faber and Faber, 1969 and later reprintings). It's worth looking on for a used copy since this book contains virtually all the published poems, all five plays, and even "Poems Published in Early Youth." In the meantime, U.S. readers are better off skipping the 1909-1950 volume. Get "Collected Poems 1909-1962" and buy the plays separately -- along with Old Possum's Book of You-Know-Whats, if you insist.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I have heard the mermaids singing...
    An excellent collection of the vast majority of his published works.

    While Eliot lived into the sixties, there is an inevitable temptation to concentrate on his earlier classic works such as The Love Song Of J Alfred Prufrock, which yielded the above line, The Waste Land and The Hollow Men above all.

    A lot of Eliot's perspectives involve psychological impotence, and a majestic failure to act, and be a part of events, of the World, the Life, if you like; such as in the lines "I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing for me."

    Here, he writes about isolation and alienation, with accompanying non-participation. The impotent voyeur, as in Joyce's Ulysses, based on the classical myth. Joyce's Sirens are Lydia and Mina, the 'sexy barmaids' at the Ormond Hotel. Bloom can hear their siren song from the next bar, as they lure the male clientele to part with their cash, but he is separate from events; reflecting cyborg-like on their music which he terms 'musemathematics'.

    While The Waste Land and The Hollow Men in particular were clearly written during a time of deep spiritual crisis, Eliot did transcend this period and they are not really representative of his later life philosophy.

    One stanza from T S Eliot's The Hollow Men, became the source of Nevil Shute's book title On The Beach - this being his 1957 post-apocalyptic novel which later appeared as the 1963 Gregory Peck movie of the same name, about the last doomed survivors of a nuclear holocaust.

    In this last of meeting places
    We grope together
    And avoid speech
    Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

    The J G Ballardesque inner landscape that Eliot creates, of decaying cities and civilizations and the encroaching spiritual desert, 'sunlight on a broken column', the final phase of extreme Entropy, the suppression of the Eternal Feminine, is just all part of the ultimate fear of nothingness or perhaps meaninglessness that has gnawed away at the human psyche for eons.

    Just as Ballard's ancient nuclear test site in The Terminal Beach, replete with its decrepit bunkers and blockhouses, is 'a fossil of Time Future', so too is Eliot's Waste Land a metaphor for the human inability to perceive Time and to merge with the flow of the Universe.

    A genius? Absolutely no question about it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars the 3 modern greats: Dante, Shakespeare, Eliot
    This authoritative volume of his poetry & plays is essential to every poetry collection. The first poem in his first published book, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, was astonishing to its first audiences & is now known as one of the greatest 20th century poems ever. Read any book of essays that includes 20th century poetry; that poem is talked about in it. But I don't mean to be reviewing as though T. S. Eliot was a man of one poem; he was a writer of such severe genius throughout his career that poetry since him has all been in his shadow. Within 10 years of his career, he had had a profounder influence on poetry as we know it than anybody else. Writer of incredibly dense poems, one might argue that with his wild & totally new ideas about he was the godfather of language poetry, but he was also had a fierce love for tradition, in his self-exile from the U.S. to England.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Prometheus of modern poetry
    I became familiar with Eliot's work chronologically, learning something new at each step. "Prufrock" introduced me to modern poetical structure, "The Waste Land" showed me how literary allusion can enrich verse, "Ash-Wednesday" refreshed the world of religious poetry, and the supernal "Four Quartets" was for me a metaphysical insight of the greatest beauty.

    Eliot is without a doubt the finest poet of the 20th century, perhaps the finest poet ever. His contributions to the poets who came after him, and to literature in general, are persistently evident. Eliot doesn't always succeed, and many of his poems seem trite and pretentious, but when he succeeds he hits dead on with poetry perfect in form, balance, and sound. There is the man here, the poet as reflected in his own work, but there is also common human experience through looking at history ("The Waste Land") and meditating on Man's relationship with the Divine and the eternal (Ariel Poems, and most of his output after 1928).

    HOWEVER, this edition of his "collected works," COMPLETE POEMS AND PLAYS: 1909-1950 lacks several last poems which can be found in COLLECTED POEMS 1909-1962. I recommend that edition, as tt is worth missing out on Eliot's plays in order to have a truly complete collection of his sublime verse. ... Read more

    8. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
    by Emily Dickinson
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $13.57
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0316184136
    Catlog: Book (1976-01-30)
    Publisher: Back Bay Books
    Sales Rank: 4425
    Average Customer Review: 4.59 out of 5 stars
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    Emily Dickinson proved that brevity can be beautiful. Only now is her complete oeuvre--all 1,775 poems--available in its original form, uncorrupted by editorial revision, in one volume. Thomas H. Johnson, a longtime Dickinson scholar, arranged the poems in chronological order as far as could be ascertained (the dates for more than 100 are unknown). This organization allows a wide-angle view of Dickinson's poetic development, from the sometimes-clunky rhyme schemes of her juvenilia, including valentines she wrote in the early 1850s, to the gloomy, hell-obsessed writings from her last years. Quite a difference from requisite Dickinson entries in literary anthologies: "There's a certain Slant of light," "Wild Nights--Wild Nights!" and "I taste a liquor never brewed."

    The book was compiled from Thomas H. Johnson's hard-to-find variorum from 1955. While some explanatory notes would have been helpful, it's a prodigious collection, showcasing Dickinson's intractable obsession with nature, including death. Poem 1732, which alludes to the deaths of her father and a onetime suitor, illustrates her talent:

    My life closed twice before its close;
    It yet remains to see
    If Immortality unveil
    A third event to me,

    So huge, so hopeless to conceive
    As these that twice befell.
    Parting is all we know of heaven,
    And all we need of hell.

    The musicality of her punctuation and the outright elegance of her style--akin to Christina Rossetti's hymns, although not nearly so religious--rescue the poems from their occasional abstruseness. The Complete Poems is especially refreshing because Dickinson didn't write for publication; only 11 of her verses appeared in magazines during her lifetime, and she had long-resigned herself to anonymity, or a "Barefoot-Rank," as she phrased it. This is the perfect volume for readers wishing to explore the works of one of America's first poets. ... Read more

    Reviews (37)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Blasphemous! Erotic! Brilliant!
    I can't think of "The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson" as simply a volume of poetry. Rather, it seems to me to be the uninhibited testament of a latter-day prophetess; it reads like the visions of a rare mind who pierced through the prisons of convention, and who dared to record what she perceived.

    Forget any preconceptions you may have had about Dickinson, and start reading the book. As a whole, this collection is a stunning exploration of many themes and images: the world of nature, metaphysics, human emotion, and more. And throughout, these short verses radiate with psychological insight.

    And if you read with the attentiveness that these poems deserve, you will discover many treasures. I have been a particular fan of Dickinson's "blasphemous" verses, in which she deconstructs the conventions of mainstream religiosity, and of her erotic poems, which celebrate the sensuous delights of the human and nonhuman worlds. Check out such gems as #324 ("Some keep the Sabbath going to Church-- / I keep it, staying at Home") or #339 ("My Cactus--splits her Beard / To show her throat"). Dickinson is full of surprises, all written in a style that is stunning and subtly seductive.

    Dickinson writes, "Exhilaration--is within-- / There can no Outer Wine / So royally intoxicate / As that diviner Brand" (#383). But if you must rely on an "Outer Wine," dip into the "Complete Poems" and get high on Emily. It's an addiction that's good for you.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the few poets who ever perfected a method.
    I have 1000 words to tell what Dickinson means to me, an impossible task I gladly take up. I'd like to respond to others on this page. I once called Dickinson the "patron saint of lonely people everywhere," so I can identify with what one person said about teenage shut-ins. And I don't blame the person who snubbed her for not leaving a name--I'd be embarrassed to as well. Emily egotistical? The poet who wrote, "I'm nobody"? Wow. I love Dickinson's work so much because her vision of life is so fully her own, so at odds with the views of those around her. Can you imagine knowing you are the most brilliant lyric poet of your time (Whitman was more an epic or narrative poet), and knowing no one understood you? It's like trying to communicate in a foreign language that only you know. In fact, that is exactly what she did--she explodes the syntax, vocabulary, and syllabication of English and transforms it into her own private means of communication. She demands that we meet her on her ground. True, reading her work is not "fun"--there's too much pain and burning beauty in it to be an easy ride. She is not for everyone--only for those who see that life's disappointments both destroy and liberate us at the same time: comparing human hurts to trees destroyed by nature's forces, she says (in poem 314), "We--who have the Souls-- / Die oftener--Not so vitally--." Those may be the finest lines any poet ever wrote in English.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Don't Waste Your Money...
    On any other collection of Emily Dickinson's verse, because this is the one you're going to end up with, trust me. Beginners to Ms. Dickinson's poetry might be a little intimadated by this thick, thick book of untitled, sequentially numbered poems. But the thing about Dickinson's poems is that, while a lot aren't readily accessible, the ones that are (most of which invariably find their way into the smaller collections of her work) are so riveting that her readers inevitably end up wanting her complete collection on hand. Which is why they should just suck it up and buy this book in the first place.

    If you've never read Emily Dickinson, read some of her more famous work online or in the library first to see if you're interested. If so, buy this book immediately. If you already have another collection of her work and consider yourself a fan, sell whatever other collection you have and buy this one.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Emily Dickinson: A True Original
    Emily Dickinson, who lived from 1830 to 1886, is to me the symbol of a poet with a unique and distinctive voice, a voice that seemed strange to her contemporaries but that gradually came to be recognized and cherished by lovers of poetry everywhere.

    She led a life withdrawn from the world and, in some ways, reality as most of us know it, for she lived mainly in her imagination. She found no recognition in her day and only six of her poems were published, all modified and conventional-ized by the editors to suit their readers, who liked old-fashioned verse and were not appreciative of new styles and innovative forms. But that didn't seem to bother Dickinson too much. In fact, she didn't even seem to take too much pride in her talent, even if she knew the full extent of it. For one thing, she kept it very private, except with a few correspondents. In fact, her poetry wasn't even discovered until after her death. Her sister went through her belongings in her room and found the many, many loose scraps of paper covered with poems that had been written down through the decades by Dickinson. So, although she was never to attain fame and success in her lifetime ("fame is a bee. / It has a song-- / It has a sting-- / Ah, too, it has a wing"), she eventually had to settle for "fame of the mind"--recognition of her talent in her own mind. It was for posterity to discover her. That didn't take long. Her first collection was put out only a short 4 years after her death.

    The specific reason why so little of her poetry found its way in print while she was still alive was, largely, because her use of metre, punctuation, and rhyme was so irregular and unusual. Editors mistook her offbeat application of these elements as flaws of "technical imperfections". They did not understand that these "imperfections" were not mistakes at all on her part, but rather, poetic experimentations. But their error can be well understood, of course, when one realizes that what Emily Dickinson was doing was something they just had not seen attempted, by anyone. Even Walt Whitman, another highly experimental American poet of the time, was doing something completely different from her poetry. But like his poetry, hers too was considered uncontrolled and eccentric. It seemed to follow no set of rules for verse in a time when poetry had very clearly defined rules of composition.

    Times have completely changed and poets today enjoy the fredom of unlimited expression. No longer are there any set rules for this or that, and all styles, forms and uses of punctuation (or lack of) are acceptable. In fact, newness and innovation are now considered a plus, all thanks to true and pioneering originals like Emily Dickinson.

    David Rehak
    author of "Poems From My Bleeding Heart"

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great poems!
    What can I say? This book is great! ... Read more

    9. Odyssey (Penguin Classics)
    by Homer, E. V. Rieu, D. C. H. Rieu
    list price: $10.00
    our price: $8.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0140449116
    Catlog: Book (2003-04-01)
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    Sales Rank: 61822
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    10. The Family of Man
    by Edward Steichen, Carl Sandburg
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $13.57
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0870703412
    Catlog: Book (2002-07-15)
    Publisher: Museum of Modern Art, New York
    Sales Rank: 37109
    Average Customer Review: 4.88 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (17)

    5-0 out of 5 stars This book is a classic - timeless and striking.
    The Family of Man - first published in 1955 - is the pictorial record of one of the most riveting exhibitions of photography of all time. The book, which contains some text, is a poignant treasure of the human condition - from birth to death. It shows man's relation and connection to life, regardless of country or language and all that we share through love, pain, rituals and simply coping. The phrase " a picture is worth a thousand words" comes alive in The Family of Man.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A brilliant presentation of the human spirit on film
    This book details the Family of Man photography exhibit composed of photos that Edward Steichen collected from photographers throughout the world. From the intro by Carl Sandburg (his brother in law), to the photographs of birth, life, death and the emotions and events in between, the book shows true humanity through the eyes of the camera. Featuring works by many famous, but yet unknown photographers, this book is a true treasure. When you glance at its pages you will discover new perspectives, or maybe something inside yourself. This is not a picture book, but a photo biography of the human race. If you are tired of coffee table books that sit unopened, pick up this book a few times and share it with your friends. You will read it again and again, discovering new secrets with every turn of a page.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Most wonderful wonderful and yet again wonderful
    First time I saw the pictures collected by Edward Steichen was in the permanent museum of the exhibition, Clervaux in Luxembourg.

    I was keeped almost in silence from entering to exiting and the message of the pictures was striking to me then - and 15 years later it still is.

    This is a collection of pictures from all the world, picked between Thousands to be the best pictures to describe the family of man as we ALL are. No matter of colour, religion, origin or political believe we are all sons, fathers, lovers, hungry, thirsty, at times fearful and at times playful - WE ARE ALL ALIKE!

    This message is as important now as it was in the 50` and looking at extreemist and the war of terror, you can only wonder how come we have learned nothing in 50 years.

    The book brings me back to Clervaux and the thoughts about life, and each time I stop at a different picture or text, that captures the essence of where I am at that time of life. The book is universal not only to man but also to moods.

    However happy I am to own the book it is nothing compared with the exhibition in Luxembourg. I can only say that I returned and will return again, and for the full experience of these pictures I will recommend it to all.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Note that all (but one) customer reviews are 5 stars!!!
    This is simply the best collections of photographs that I have ever seen. The book dates from the 50's, but the subject matter... humans... are the same today. Buy this for yourself, of as a special gift for a special person, and you'll not regret it. (I only wish it were still published in hard cover)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Thoughtful
    I have given this book as a gift many times over the years, and can't recommend it enough. The photographs are beautiful, giving the viewer a sense of what is common in the overall human experience. Simple, straight-forward in content, and very moving. An essential volume of photographs. ... Read more

    11. The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $17.46
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 067942895X
    Catlog: Book (1994-09-13)
    Publisher: Random House
    Sales Rank: 2806
    Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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    Brought together for the first time here are all of Maya Angelou's published poems -- including "On the Pulse of Morning," her inaugural poem -- in a handsome hardcover edition. ... Read more

    Reviews (26)

    5-0 out of 5 stars What were you reading?
    I looked back at some of the customer reviews of Maya's collected verse volume, and was astonished to find a one star rating by someone who simply doesn't understand the complexity within the simplicity. I would imagine this person to be well educated, intellectual, and with much of their ego invested in their intelligence. They missed the mark-- make that the whole target with that misguided review. The words Miss Angelou chooses are for the versions of her truth, and she comes from the simplest place of all-- the heart. In order to express the complexities of the heart, one must return to the simplicity of the child, and the utmost economy of words. The poems of Maya Angelou are brilliant and that customer can go take a long walk on a short pier.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Artists Signature Piece
    This was a wonderful book, in which all the poems seem to tell a story, that nearly everyone has been through at one time in their life. Maya Angelou has written exactly what is on her mind, clearly, and simply creating a portrait of her past. Though many of the poems have to do with the experience of being black, I would recommend this book to anyone.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Well...
    I breezed through this one, and I have to say her autobiographies are far superior to her poems. I didn't even have the heart to understand most of them. The style is not exactly what I can call "delicious". I'm just not a fan of Maya when it comes to poetry. BUT I have to say I enjoyed the poems in "I Shall not be Moved". They just contained a different flavor in them. One can easily tell that she had grown when she wrote these ones. (I'm assuming it's her latest of all the other poetry books). Or maybe she just put more effort into it, or perhaps just decided to use a different style. I liked "On the Pulse of Morning" as well.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, simply beautiful
    Maya Angelou's words absolutely captivate me throughout the series. Each poem opens a new door but reliterate the themes of oppression, struggle, freedom, and so much more. Two particular favorite short poems are The Lesson and Contemporary Announcement.
    Maya Angelou's continuous effort to live life through music, through dance, through writing reflects in The Lesson. Even though the poem seems rather morbid through the description of "rotting flesh and worms" "old tombs", "veins collapse", in the end it emphasizes the importance of living life and enjoying life until the last breath. So the lesson to be learned from "The Lesson" is to love life and live life.
    Maya Angelou's past reflects in most of her poems. In "Contemporary Announcement", she portrayed the harshness of living from day to day in the ghettos. The protagonist lives from day to day, from paycheck to paycheck, in its sadness and happiness. When the character has money, the family join together in happiness with "cook the cow" and "ring the big bells". And when there is no money, the family must live in darkness and in fear, that they must "hold your breath" and "take my heart in your hand." Overall, the poem portrays the harshness of the working class which experienced by 80% of Americans.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Most Over-Rated American Poet
    Maya Angelou is a media creation. Her fame is fed by her image rather than her writing. If you'd like to read a GOOD African American female poet check out Rita Dove or Lucile Clifton or Gwendolyn Brooks. ... Read more

    12. The Norton Anthology of Poetry, Shorter Fifth Edition
    by Margaret Ferguson, Jon Stallworthy, Mary Jo Salter
    list price: $56.80
    our price: $56.80
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0393979210
    Catlog: Book (2004-12-30)
    Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
    Sales Rank: 1899391
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    Book Description

    Long the classic anthology of poetry in English, The Norton Anthology of Poetry, Fifth Edition, adds to its wealth of known and loved poems a rich gathering of new poetry. Beginning with Beowulf, newly represented by selections from Seamus Heaney's dazzling translation, and continuing to the present day, The Norton Anthology of Poetry includes 1,100 poems by 250 poets in the Shorter Edition. Many major figures—from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Ashbery and Walcott—have expanded sections, and a range of outstanding younger voices have been newly added. Concise annotations, biographical sketches, an Essay on Versification by Jon Stallworthy, and, new to this edition, an Essay on Poetic Syntax by Margaret Ferguson help readers understand and enjoy the poems. ... Read more

    13. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation
    by Seamus Heaney
    list price: $13.95
    our price: $10.46
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0393320979
    Catlog: Book (2001-02)
    Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
    Sales Rank: 4085
    Average Customer Review: 4.37 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (177)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Seamus Heaney does justice
    I am no scholar of Beowulf, but Seamus Heaney's version is the fourth or fifth version I've read, and in comparison to those it is by far the most superior. Any prose translations should be discredited by that account alone, but Seamus Heaney doesn't just make it poetic, as it should be, he uses his personal experiences, as indicated in the Introduction, when choosing the best word for the meter. When he uses these Irish local coloquialisms, it's not out of sheer desperation but of sheer love for the music of poetry, and when no other words sounds right, he chooses these words to emphasize the poetry and the plot.

    I have read other reviewers at this site discrediting Seamus Heaney due to this very reason, but in my view if a translator doesn't add passion to his translation then it is a waste of time to translate at all. It may not be exactly true to the text, but true enough. One thing I love most about his translation is the fact that he stays true to the meter. With four alliterations per line, he provides the feel of the original text upon the reading.

    Another thing I loved about this translation is the very first line. He makes (a true) comment that while previous versions begin the entire text with a "Lo!" or a "Hark!" or a "Behold!", Seamus Heaney starts off with the simple yet modern "So." -- with a period -- not even an overused and ecstatic exclamation mark.

    Finally, for those who don't dabble in the egoism of stuffy "scholarly" expectations will also enjoy glancing at the original text that displays directly next to the translation. Here you get the feel of Seamus Heaney's decision to translate the way he did. You won't understand the original text, yet with the translation sitting next to it, you will.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Undeniable Masterpiece, Still Rings True..
    Many a public school students have had this epic tale shoved down their throat; thus turning them off from any further exploration of it. I, however, was never victim of such forced reading of this text, and as a result, grasped it on my own free will. This is one of the newest translations of Beowulf, and possibly the best one out there.
    Undoubtedly, Heaney's translation is fairly easy to read. The pages are in old English and then Heaney's translation, facing one another. While this makes for an entertaining reading experience, I don't know how to read Old English and therefore this was lost to me.
    In this book, Seamus Heaney manages to translate Beowulf accurately and carefully; the awkward language of many translations is not present here. Additionally, while not simplistic, Heaney's writing style is easily understandable. This book was truly a joy to read.
    Also, what renders this book so interesting in my own mind is not only its age, but its continued appeal. Beowulf was penned anonymously some 1 000 years ago - give or take a few centuries. As a result, it was written in old English, the ancient great-great-great grandparent of our own jargon today. Nevertheless, the archtypical ideals remain the same: Beowful is fierce, and he battles a monster.
    The heroics of the story, and the basic plot, remain unadultured even in our culture today. We still find ourselves drawn to heroics and the battle of good versus evil, this arguably the root of most stories. Beowulf just goes to show that a millenia later, we still are able to connect with the literary and sociological aspirations of our forefathers.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Astonishing lyrical translation
    Seamus Heaney's Beowulf is the best translation of a classic work into a modern language that I have seen in years, it may yet be my personal favorite translation of all time (best to let the thrill of the reading wear off before that judgement is made, however). I have done a bit of translation work from modern languages other than English, and am fully aware of how difficult it is to translate a line of prose from one living language to another, while acomplishing the two tasks that are the goal of every translator; 1- convey the meaning of the words, 2-convey the aesthetic "feel" of the words. These two goals are very often in serious conflict with one another- and when one adds in the element of the subject being poetry it makes it even harder, because you have to mediate the first two goals, and then add another; fit it all into a lyrical framework.

    Much of the time, translators simply drop the poetry, and represent the story as prose (the Rieus version of the Iliad does this)and this is a choice I usually respect. Trying to force a story into an alien rhyme scheme makes them, very often, unbearably cheesy (viz. most versions of the Aeneid); whereas the Rieus' Iliad is a rollicking good time.

    Nevertheless, the loss of lyricism is indeed a loss; especially when the sounds of the words when spoken are particularly beautiful, or the lyrical framework particularly appropriate for conveying the mood of a story. Ironically, the better the poet is in the original language the more difficult it becomes for her voice to survive the translator's work.

    And this is why (back to the orginal topic) Heaney's work is so jaw-dropping. The story works as faithful translation, beautiful writing, and poetry as well. It is entirely comprehensible, faithful to the original text, and yet has the distinct ring of an authentic saxon "voice." I would give my right arm to have half the ability with translating modern languages that Heaney has brought to bear on this translation of the classic saxon epic.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A masterwork indeed!
    Unfortunately many people read ethnic junk instead of reading the true classics in literature,i.e., Sidney, Chaucer and this work in particular. Beowulf is the most important work of early literature in English language and should be required reading and one should skip the savage writers of lesser cultures.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Middle-England or Middle-Earth?
    I read the text of Beowulf in this edition before reading the introduction. I had never read Beowulf before and I wanted to come to it fresh. Taken on its own, as a novice, it is a rollicking good read. First off, it is very short - you could get through it in about one sitting. It gets right into the heart of the matter; the monster Grendel (a cursed descendent of Cain) is about the countryside killing people. The hero Beowulf comes from Sweden to Denmark to fight him.

    Of course, this is an Old English fantasy poem so there are times when you have to meet it on its own terms. For instance, either drowning did not exist back then or Beowulf could hold his breath indefinitely because the underwater fight between him and Grendel's mother lasts for nine hours. This is one macho man!

    The translation by Seamus Heaney moves along at a brisk pace. The Anglo-Saxon text is on one side of the page and the English is on the other. He provides little chapter headings at the side of the page. There are no annoying footnotes. He provides a long introduction acquainting us with the text and why it is so important and why it should be considered a work of art in itself and not merely interesting for historical reasons. He credits J.R.R. Tolkien's essay as helping people appreciate it in a purely literary way. Indeed, this is one of the prime influences upon Lord of the Rings; the plot is different but the monsters, names, and manner of speaking will ring a bell.

    What I enjoy most about Beowulf is the sense of being transported back in time to Anglo-Saxon England. This book is a living piece of history and Heaney's translation makes it remarkably fresh. ... Read more

    14. The Inferno
    by Dante Alighieri, John Ciardi, Dante Alighieri
    list price: $5.95
    our price: $5.36
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0451527984
    Catlog: Book (2001-06-01)
    Publisher: Signet Book
    Sales Rank: 44633
    Average Customer Review: 4.61 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Considered to be one of the greatest literary works of all time- equal only to those of Shakespeare-Dante's immortal drama of a journey through Hell is the first volume of his Divine Comedy. The remaining canticles, The Purgatorio and The Paradiso, will be published this summer in quick succession. ... Read more

    Reviews (82)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Mandelbaum's translation of this poetic masterpiece soars
    Dante Alighieri's three part epic The Divine Comedy ranks highly among the literature of the world. Written in early Italian and rhymed in terza rima, it's 100 cantos display impressive allegory and use of scholastic philosophy. In INFERNO, the first volume, the narrator finds himself "half of our life's way" (around 35 years old) and lost in a forest at night. When day breaks, three savage animals bar his escape. The Roman poet Virgil (best known for his AENEID) appears and tells him that Heaven has sent him to lead Dante through Hell, Purgatory, and finally Heaven to bring him out of his spiritual malaise.

    Dante's Hell differs from the traditional view of everyone together amongst flames. Here the dead receive different punishments based on their sins. Thus, the lustful are caught up eternally in a whirlwind, and astrologers and magicians have their heads reversed (so those who tried to fortell the future can only see their past). Nowhere, however, does anything seem wrong. The dead are placed into Hell not by an unjust God, but by their own decisions and actions. INFERNO is a slow beginning, most of the grace and beauty of the Comedy lies in the subsequent volumes, PURGATORIO and PARADISO. However, this first volume has a solid role in the allegorical significance of the Comedy. Dante wrote not just a simple story of quasi-science fiction, but a moving allegory of the soul moving from perdition to salvation, the act which the poet T.S. Eliot called "Mounting the saint's stair". While INFERNO may occasionally lack excitement on the first reading, the next two volumes thrill and upon reading them one can enjoy INFERNO to the fullest.

    I believe that the best translation of INFERNO to get is that of Allen Mandelbaum, which is published by Bantam (ISBN: 0553213393). Mandelbaum's verse translation melds a faithful rendering of the Italian with excellent poetry, and has been praised by numerous scholars of Dante, including Irma Brandeis. Here's an example from Canto XIII, where the poet and Virgil enter a forest where the trees are the souls of suicides:

    "No green leaves in that forest, only black;
    no branches straight and smooth, but knotted, gnarled;
    no fruits were there, but briars bearing poison"

    Mandelbaum's translation also contains an interesting introduction by Mandelbaum, extensive notes (which are based on the California Lectura Dantis), and two afterwords. The first of these, "Dante in His Age" is an enlightening biography of Dante and how he came to write the Comedy while in exile. The second "Dante as Ancient and Modern" examines Dante both as a wielder of classical knowledge and as a poet working in a new and distinctly late-Medieval style (the "dolce stil nuovo") which broke poetry out of the grip of Latin and made it something for people of every class.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Unforgettable Journey Through the Torment of Hell

    The "Inferno" is the first of three volumes of poet Dante Alighieri's (1265-1321) "Divine Comedy" (the other two volumes are Purgatory and Paradise). This volume (composed of thirty-four episodes) describes Hell and the suffering of the damned.

    There is a historical introduction by Archibald MacAllister of Princeton. It's imperative to have a good understanding of Dante in order to understand his poetic masterpiece and MacAllister does a good job of detailing Dante and his times.

    The late John Ciardi, former poet and professor at Harvard and Rutgers, translated (or more precisely transposed) this poem from its original 1300's Italian into English. He retains Dante's three line stanzas and there is still much rhyming. He not only relied on his own knowledge but leaned heavily on the knowledge of other scholars for his translation.

    Dante's "Inferno" is a journey through the nooks and crannies of hell. Dante takes this incredible journey with his master and guide, Virgil. Along the way, Dante, Virgil, and the reader encounter such things as mythical creatures and people, legends, people of Dante's time, biblical figures, and human victims.

    It is a narrative poem whose greatest strength lies in the fact that it does not so much narrate as dramatize its episodes. It is a visual work that sparks your imagination. This poem combines the five senses with fear, pity, horror, and other emotions to involve the reader. The result: the reader actually experiences Dante's situation and just does not read about them.

    Ciardi's introductions in italics before each episode gives a brief summary of what to expect. His notes at the end of each episode highlight our understanding of key passages within each. For me, Ciardi's introductions and notes that accompany each episode are the cornerstone to understanding what Dante was attempting to convey.

    Finally, there are illustrations in this book. These illustrations as a whole detail the nine circles (of ledges) of Hell. They further increased my understanding, and, as well, added another visual dimension to this poem.

    In conclusion, if you want to experience Hell as seen through the eyes of a gifted poet, then read this book. Further, by reading this book, you will discover why this poem has endured popularity for seven centuries.


    5-0 out of 5 stars Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here...
    "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here" reads an inscription above Hell's Gate. May be true for xians, but horror-loving Satanists will find this literature most stimulating, with the graphic descriptions of mutilated souls, perverse debaucheries, morbid environments, & imaginative demonic monsters. Many great great suggestions for the torture chambre as well!

    Throughout the Gothic & Renaissance perionds, daemons of the Imagination creeped forth from the shadows of The Darkside of the mind like never before, thus producing some of the most compelling & attractive monsterpieces the world had ever had the misfortune or fortune to see, hear, & read.

    It was this written work that really ingrained the standards for the popular depictions of Hades, as well as paintings by artists like Jon Von Eyck, Heironymous Bosch, Peter Breughel, & Albrecht Durer. In the musickal genre, Bach, Wagner, Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, & Chopin, to name but a few, were realeasing tempestuous, monolithic, & eerie symphonies into the ether, which are now universally employed to set an eerie embiance.

    In THE INFERNO, Dante Alighieri, an Italian poet, meets with a mysterious & etheric host named Virgil, who takes him down to witness the terrors of The Great Abyss, so it may be recorded, & that mankind may wish not to go there. Heavy-duty guilt-trip. Throughout the sick, gnarled, blood-soaked, & freezing crevasses of Dante's brain, there are brief, but memorable encounters with the damned souls.

    There are seven {sic} circles in the first section of Hell, each populated by a different class of "sinners". On the way, we take a ride upon the back of a winged beast named Geryon, around a waterfall {nice to know there's water in Hell!}. The Ninth {of course} Circle is where Satan Himself is entrenched in the frozen lake Cocytus. The only escape from this abode of lost souls is by climbing down the devil's leg hairs {that's got to hurt}, which then leads to Purgatory. Obviously, this work was written at the height of the catholic church's oppression.

    There have been rumours, that Dante was secretly commissioned by church papacy to write the book, to better gain control of the peasants, who were taken to revolting quite often. Dante, being a starving poet at the time, could not refuse the offer. Cleverly, Dante was at first reviled by the church, & threatened with ex-communication, but was vindicated when he demonstrated his loyalty to the church by writing 'El Paradiso', which deals with Dante's journeys in the wonderful mystical world of Heavenland. This clever technique has been used over & over again to enslave minds, turning the unwary catholic & xian zombies, who blindly give their rations away to church & state {which at the time, were one in the same}. By first guilt manipulating someone into fear, you render them vulnerable, & they seek salvation wherever they can get it. Conveniently, 'El Purgatorio' & 'El Paradiso' were published not too far apart from The Inferno, attaining an essential balance, that their distribution may keep the populace in line. Needless to say, these three opuses caused the simpletons to flock back to church in record numbers. The pope became very fat, very fast.

    What I found most interesting about this abysmal field-trip, is that Dante's Hell is icey cold, instead of the typical scorching. That in itself makes it all less threatening.

    Dante's Inferno is one of the most colorful books I have ever read. It is filled with such wonderfully elaborate words that manifest magnificently morbid spectacles of diabolic delight. Use your own filtration wisdom as far as any foolosophy is concerned.

    5-0 out of 5 stars great translation, great notes
    The Durling-Martinez edition is the one used in my college Dante class. Together with their translation of Purgatorio (their edition of Paradiso apparently still in progress), the two works have great endnotes for every canto of the poem, good appendices and Purgatorio has a series of 'intercantica' notes which refer the reader to all the parallels between the two works, so you don't have to remember that the Gates of Hell and the Gates of Purgatory are found in Canto 9 of their respective works.

    I wrote this review because the top reviews for this edition were all in fact for other editions, and this one definately deserves its due. It may be more expensive than Mandelbaum's paperback, but its worth it. The print is larger, the language clearer, the notes more useful. Try it out.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Two thumbs up
    "The Inferno" as translated by John Ciardi was wonderful for a first time reader of the work. The introduction did a good job of setting up the background information of Dante's life, which played a big role in his writing of "The Inferno." The summaries before each canto also did an excellent job of preparing the reader for what each canto was about. What I especially liked were the notes at the end of each canto which were very helpful in clarifying some confusing terms or other historical references Dante made. "The Inferno" is already so well written, the notes by Ciardi just allow the reader to have a more informed reading of the book, which leads to a much fuller experience overall. ... Read more

    15. Paradise Lost (Penguin Classics)
    by John Milton, John Leonard
    list price: $10.00
    our price: $8.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0140424393
    Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    Sales Rank: 9433
    Average Customer Review: 3.33 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Edited with an introduction and notes by John Leonard. ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Sing Goddess
    of how the malodorous oaf Milton did share in bold flatulence his heretical views and cause much stink in the bedroom of Tucker who did paw through that man of bad wind's pages, sometimes well-drawn. Sing to me, Muse, of the rage of Tucker, like that of Peleus's son Achilles, of spirited Turnus, or of earth-shaking Neptune, who, upon reading the gaseous opinions of the Arian heretic proto-Mormon poet who does reject the triune God, embrace notions strange of divine progression, draw corporeal spirits bizarre, misunderstand reason's nature and her relation to Faith, hold to a doctrine of imputed righteousness and forensic justification unregenerate, understand perversely law and authority, proudly dismiss hierarchy natural, deny creation ex nihilo, and rebel against the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, did fervently hope for an exhumation of his remains heretical followed by an auto-da-fe.

    But if you must read it, tackle Books I and II, then jump to the end of Book IV where Satan is captured in paradise, then jump to the middle of Book V where Raphael begins to relate the war in Heaven which continues through Book VII, then maybe read about the Fall in Book IX. This is where all the good stuff is; although mixed with much bad, so be wary lest you be overcome by Milton's bad air and worse theology. Odors to which only the damned should be subject.

    On the other hand, any guy who posits a Ptolemaic universe (at least in his prelapsarian astronomy) can't be all bad. And his drawing of the monomaniacal Satan is interesting. Read Lewis' A Preface to Paradise Lost for a more favorable opinion.

    4-0 out of 5 stars More verse and rhyme than you can shake a stick at
    Even if you can't appreciate Classical epics and copious amounts of poetic language, this book is still written good enough for one to appreciate. Milton not only instills new life into this ancient story, but makes it just as compelling and intriguing as any modern story. The epic scope the story encompasses, including both the domains of Heaven and Hell, is enough to humble any reader. Also the unique look at the Powers' characters, especially the in depth look at the character of Satan himself, impresses the reader with a sense of something great. All in all, an excellent read if you have the patience to get through a few of the slower parts.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed it
    In response to 'A Magnificent Failure': Yes, Milton was arrogant, and his language certainly does get high-flown...but it is often very beautiful, to my taste anyway. I especially loved the descriptions of Milton's world--Hell, Eden, and Heaven--in the first few books. After that the poetry isn't quite so sublimely beautiful, but it remains quite pleasurable, and Milton's play with ideas kept me interested anyway. It is true that Eve isn't a well-drawn woman (nor is Adam really a well-drawn man in terms of psychological realism) and the male fantasy-fulfilment that contributed to her character is distracting. Nevertheless, by the end of the book I wasn't as disturbed by the character of Eve as I thought I might be. By my own 21st century standard Milton's views on women are deplorable, but his attitude seems to me more ambivalent than uniformly misogynist. You can't expect Milton to be completely independent of his culture, and 17th century England was itself ambivalent about women. Eve is one of the three dominant personalities in the book (well, four if you include Milton's!)and as a woman her role in Milton's universe is quite important, if limiting to her by modern western standards.
    Overall, as long as the reader keeps in mind that he or she need not agree with Milton's ideas, reading Paradise Lost can be a pleasurable and thought-provoking experience.

    2-0 out of 5 stars A magnificent failure.
    "Paradise Lost is a book that, once put down, is very hard to pick up again," Samuel Johnson wrote of Milton's massive work, and added that no one ever wished it to be any longer than it is. I for one wish it were so much shorter that it hadn't been written at all.

    Milton was a man of extreme arrogance. He thought one way was right, and that was his way, in religion, in politics, and in poetry. Disregarding that English is not an inflected language, that its sounds are more various and therefore less melodious than those of Latin, Greek or even Italian, he blasted rhymed poetry with his blunderbuss of a pen and launched forth in an endless barrage of blank verse.

    And with which subject did he choose to invade our ears and sense? Only the one which (according to believers of the Biblical tradition) was handed down to Moses from God himself. I'll just say: the original story in Genesis is *much* better. Milton puts words in God's mouth. He creates a cartoonish scene of Satan's fall from heaven. And Adam is a philosopher with long and flowing locks (very pretty, like those which Milton himself proudly wore). Eve is not a well-drawn woman but the narrow fantasy of his cramped mind.

    A good plot with sympathetic characters in a vivid setting is not the point of Milton's attack. This is Milton creating a universe-- a God, an earth, a human race-- with which he can be comfortable. Any lack of freshness in the story is obscured in the clanging bells of his language, in his love of exotic proper nouns: "Sinai," "Sion," "Siloa" he rattles off in the opening lines. "Horrible dungeon" is too commonplace, but invert it and "Dungeon horrible" is downright impressive.

    Even Reverend Lovejoy of Springfield couldn't keep up with Milton's fire and brimstone: "fiery Deluge" and "ever-burning Sulphur" are part of the place "Eternal Justice" has prepared for the "rebellious." Is it now? Well, who rebelled against the King of England, but Milton with his friend Cromwell? Oh, but that's different, because it was the *right* way, Milton's way, such as his own form of the English language, one in which word order and syntax matter no more.

    No-- there is not a compelling moral to be gained from this grave work. It is Milton's tribute to his own ego, his vast learning in Vergil and Homer, in Hebrew, and his dogmatic views in politics and religion.

    The title is the best part. For centuries women and men who have never read the work have used the words "paradise lost" in conversation. But dive into the pages and prepare to be disappointed by a string of place-names-- "Rabba" and "Argob" and "Basan" and "Arnon"-- and a cherub telling Adam everything that will happen on earth (for two whole books!), a necessary device because after all, the story in Genesis is so very brief!

    Other than the title, _Paradise Lost_ is a failure, but because it is on such a grand scale, because it is so ambitious, it is a magnificent one at that. Milton's learning was very deep, and his mind clever, so I'll grant him two stars for those qualities. Otherwise, avoid this like Eve should have avoided that nasty piece of fruit.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Bad Book
    Man, I had to read this book. It was so boring and hard to read. Skip it or read the cliff notes if at all possible. ... Read more

    16. The Divine Comedy: The Inferno/the Purgatorio/the Paradiso
    by Dante Alighieri, John Ciardi, Dante Alighieri
    list price: $16.95
    our price: $11.53
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0451208633
    Catlog: Book (2003-06-01)
    Publisher: New American Library
    Sales Rank: 1930
    Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Dante Alighieri's poetic masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, is a moving human drama, an unforgettable visionary journey through the infinite torment of Hell, up the arduous slopes of Purgatory, and on to the glorious realm of Paradise-the sphere of universal harmony and eternal salvation. ... Read more

    Reviews (7)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful but slightly dated classic
    This is an undisputed classic, which I'm sure is even more poetic and lovely in the original Middle Italian, but it's not as accessible to the modern reader or as well-aged as other Medieval classics like the Decameron or El Cid. The average modern reader isn't going to know who all of these people being referred to are; some of them were people that were very well-known to a person of Dante's time, but unless you're a scholar of Medieval history, chances are you're not going to be too familiar with most of them. And most people also no longer study the ancient Greeks and Romans as thoroughly as students did in Dante's day; the average person won't know who all of these figures are, from either mythology or actual history, since most schools no longer have an emphasis on Greek, Latin, and the ancient world. If you constantly look down at the footnotes, the flow of the story is interrupted, but if you don't, you won't have much idea about what's going on.

    This book isn't just about presenting a work of beautiful poetry, which was inspired by Dante's great unrequited love Beatrice, in an attempt to immortalise this woman, this great love, for all time. It's also a not-so-subtle way of getting back at his enemies, by putting them in Hell or Purgatory, or having people "prophesise" what will happen to those enemies in the future. His supporters and the people whom he loves and admires are mostly in Purgatory and Paradise. It also really tows the Church line, with all of these different circles and rings of Hell for specific crimes (some of which, like suicide, homosexuality, and fortune-telling, are no longer considered sins or worthy of Hell today), and makes apologies for these horrible punishments. However, at least Dante is evolved enough to actually question the reason for why so and so is in Hell, or some point about Christian doctrine he doesn't understand, and he only comes to believe it is true and valid after he's had it explained to him (albeit by someone who has an agenda to get that pov across). At least he's questioning this stuff instead of accepting it blindly.

    Another dated thing about this book is that, what with the constant barrage of carnage on the news today, and whole generations who are familiar with images from concentration camps, war zones, suicide bombings, genocides, and school shootings, the average modern reader probably won't be too fazed by descriptions of people frozen in ice, people turning into monsters and then back into people, or Satan himself. But above all, despite the Church propaganda, plethora of references which mean nothing to the average modern reader, and Dante's way of getting revenge on his enemies by putting them in Hell, the overall themes are timeless. This is a story about rising from hopelessness and despair, to a place where people are miserable but have hope of getting better, and finally to more and more enlightened and beautiful places of joy, love, and peace. Dante's story begins when he wakes up in the Wood of Error, not sure how he got there or how he lost the true way, and the remedy for getting his life back on the right track is this both physical and symbolic journey from despair to hope.

    5-0 out of 5 stars 10 stars would not be enough!!
    The Divine Comedy" was written in Toscan by the Florentinian Dante Aligheri 700 years ago and is one of the most important texts ever written. Dante Aligheri is, along with Miguel de Cervantes, Willian Shakespeare and the Portuguese Luis de Camões, one of the most important writers of History, but we have to remember that Dante Alligheri was born some 250 years before each one of the latter.

    "The Divine Comedy" was first published in the beginning of the 14th century and narrates a vision Dante Alligheri had of his visit to Hell (Dante's Inferno), the Purgatory and to the Heavens (Paradiso), where he is guided by the Latin poet Virgil and later on by his muse, Beatrice, deceased some years before. His narrative is full of devout catholic sentiments and he spares no expenses in narrating the torments perpetrated in Hell, described in details, where each ring or level is reserved for each different earthly infraction that the penitent has commited when alive. The company of Virgil, a permanent resident of the first hell ring, the Limbo, is a magistral coup by Dante Aligheri and adds lustre to the text.

    Virgil leads Dante too through the Purgatory, where, contrary with what happens in the Inferno where there is no salvation, the souls are suffering with a view to a future life in Heaven. Dante is the first and only human being that put his feet into this after life regions, and things get increasingly intense and sometimes dangerous to him. Also to be noted is the disposition of Dante to here and there sting his earthly political opponents, which were not few, banning them to hellish confines.

    The final visit to the supreme heavenly region, where he meets Beatrice, is suffused with catholic symbology, fully explained by Dante, who embroiders the descriptions with all the richness of his language. You end the book asking for more, and sensing intensively the powerful richness of Dante's vocabulary. I hope you enjoy the Divine COmedy as much as I did. Good reading.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A bit overrated
    It may well be that I would rate this work higher if I could read it in the original. There's a great deal of energy behind it. But to me, something about it feels forced. When I read, e.g. Tolkien or Marion Zimmer Bradley, I don't have the sense that the author is answerable to any authority or has any agenda other than to write out from him- or herself -- other than to tell a good story which needs to be told. But it feels to me as if Dante made up his mind to write a great epic, and although the work clearly expresses his personal feeling as well -- his love for Beatrice and Virgil, for example --it was cleanly supportive of the Roman church. He was -- it seems to me -- in some measure being a good boy and in some measure venting for past wrongs, particularly in the Inferno. My favorite book is the Paradiso. There seems to me more there for the mytholgical mind to hold onto. But when I read Shakespeare or Goethe, something in me is deeply satisfied in a way it is not satisfied by Dante.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best There Ever Was
    This is, simply, the best translation of the greatest piece of literature ever written. Not even the works of Shakespeare can surpass Dante's towering epic and its multi-layered, symphonic grandeur. Ciardi's translation, as one other reviewer here has already stated, almost sounds Italian. It is fluid, accessible, and beautiful and doesn't attempt to painstakingly preserve Dante's terza rima, a rhyme scheme that is beyond the scope of the English language (in Italian, everything seems to rhyme with everything else). This work moved me unlike any other--Dante's journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven is told with shocking genius and flawless detail. Every word is golden, every line contains a whole universe beneath its simple facade. The love, the effort, the genius, and the authenticity that went into this gloriously panoramic poem are without rival--nothing can compete with The Divine Comedy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars It's not a Real Story But I Think There's Somethin' We Might
    ...found important. Dante describes three places in this book. In hell are awful things: fire, ice, awful smell, pain. In purgatory there's less awful things. The paradise is described a place where is happy people. Well, some are very happy, some one are not so but aren't that sad either. The upper you are, the happier you are. The hell is desribed also like this. The lower you are the more pain you feel. There's different kinds of crimes that these people have done.

    This is a great book! I love it! It's quite long but you don't have to read it word by word. The pictures are also quite good! ... Read more

    17. The Poetry of Robert Frost : The Collected Poems, Complete and Unabridged
    by Robert Frost
    list price: $37.50
    our price: $23.62
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0805005021
    Catlog: Book (1969-11-15)
    Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
    Sales Rank: 8547
    Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    This is the only comprehensive volume of Robert Frost's published verse; in it are the contents of all eleven of his individual books of poetry-from A Boy's Will (1913) to In the Clearing (1962). The editor, Edward Connery Lathem, has scrupulously annotated the more than 350 poems in this book.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (9)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Poetry for the common man
    What can I say? Robert Frost is the quintessential American poet. Quite frankly, I never have really been drawn to poetry, either it is overly sentimental, too dramatic, or tries to hard to make a statement. Frost avoids all of these pitfalls, he writes poetry for the common man.

    I have to admit, I prefer the earlier works. Beautiful word pictures of an abandoned wood pile in the woods, a dirty patch of snow (or is it a piece of newspaper), and of course, a horse stopping by the woods on a snowy evening. His latter poems lack the beautiful simplicity of his earlier works, but nevertheless, they are still works of the master.

    Over the years, this book has been a constant companion. Sitting in my wingback chair, I have enjoyed reading these poems again and again. As I prepared for this review I was struck how many of these poems dealt with death: The Death of the Hired Man, After Apple Picking, Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening, A Late Walk among them. Others are fanciful such as The Kitchen Chimney.

    If you are considering taking a dive into poetry, start here. There is no better American poet than Robert Frost.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
    Such great poems from a great person. One of my favorites.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Amateurish audio production
    This tape is poorly done. The tape quality is bad, and the production is cluttered with music and other background noise. Some of the readings are too fast, and some of the voices aren't very pleasant to listen to. No index is provided, so you have to listen to the tape if you want to know what's on it, and you have no way of knowing who's reading what. This is annoying if you want to read along with the audio.

    If you buy this, buy the audio download instead of the tape. cleaned it up considerably. One nice feature is that if you burn this onto a CD, each poem is on a separate track, as is done with songs on a music CD, except for a few longer pieces that run over to a second track.

    For the record, there are 50 poems in this production. All but 2 of them, "Asking For Roses" and "Spoils Of the Dead," are in the print book by the same title.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Still wonderful after all these years
    I first owned this volume of poetry in 1978. That book simply fell apart after more than 20 years of reading and handling (sometimes roughly by my children). I replace this book with a new one just last year.
    The old favorites are all here; Fireflies in the Garden, The Road Not Taken, Fire and Ice, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, and a hundred more. In my opinion this is the definitive volume on Frost.
    I have always been awed by the number of poems Frost wrote about the stars. A Star on a Stoneboat, The Star Spitter, Stars, Canis Major and many others. Truly Robert Frost is the astronomers poet.
    Also in this volume is perhaps my favorite Frost poem, Brown's Descent.
    If you love reading Frost on a crispy fall evening, then you'll love reading him when the crickets chirp. You'll need to own this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Poetry-Lover's Definitive Frost
    Robert Frost was and is America's greatest poet. Excepting, perhaps, W. B. Yeats, he may be the greatest poet to write English in the twentieth century. (To me, it's a toss-up.) To read this volume systematically or desultorily is to become convinced of that. But Frost is, above all, accessible, so the casual reader may not appreciate the difficulty of what he does. Like much of the greatest art his looks easy, even inevitable.

    All of Frost's poems are here, plus his two dramatic Masques. When this book first appeared (in 1969) it caused a furor: the editor, it was angrily asserted, presumed too much. He dared to clarify - inserting a hyphen here, excising a comma there. That furor has since died down, as people realize that he did not do away with the sacred texts (any emendation was noted), but simply performed his job as editor. He regularized spelling and the use of single and double quotes (though not Capitalization, which can legitimately be thought of as integral to the poet's expression (think of e.e. cummings!)), and corrected other obvious errors. The notes give the published variants for each poem, so if you wish you may make your own call on some of these finicky issues.

    I cannot emphasize enough: BUY THE HARDCOVER! After all, you will be reading this book for the rest of your life. It is a beautifully-built volume, of an easy size and heft for use, with understated appealing typefaces and an exemplary design. Put out by Frost's long-time publisher, this is one of the few essential books of American literature. ... Read more

    18. The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems
    by Coleman Barks, John Moyne, Reynold A. Nicholson, Maulana Jalal al-Din Rumi
    list price: $28.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060604530
    Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
    Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco
    Sales Rank: 350665
    Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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    When Rumi was born in Afghanistan in 1207, it was a time of tremendouspolitical turmoil in the Near East. Paradoxically, it was also a time of"brilliant mystical awareness," writes translator Coleman Barks in The Soulof Rumi. This brilliance shines through in every passage, as Barkscelebrates the ecstatic nature of Rumi's poetry. Barks (The Essential Rumi) has beengiven much credit for leading modern Westerners to this astounding poet. Hissensitivity to the reader is evidenced in how he organizes the poetry accordingto themes. Since Rumi is often quoted at public gatherings, such as weddings andmemorial services, this makes referencing especially easy. In the sectionentitled "When Friend Meets Friend," readers find the poem "The Soul's Friend":

    The most living moment comes when those who love each other meeteach other's eyes and in what flows between them then. To see your face in a crowd of others, or alone on afrightening street, I weep for that….
    Barks offers a gracefully rendered introduction to each section, providingpersonal and historical background of the poetry. Elegantly designed and printedon cream-colored, heavy-stock paper, this is a delight for Rumi fans. --GailHudson ... Read more

    Reviews (13)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best introduction to Rumi available
    If there is only one book of Rumi you purchase, this should be it. But warning, the purchase may send you into a frenzy to learn and read more.

    Barks' works as a translator here make poetry come alive, leap off the page and fly circles around your mind. A single poem can bring a person to great thoughts.

    The book begins with a great introduction to Rumi's life, work, culture, spirituality, but Barks also includes some history of Sufi poetry. Then Barks divides the poetry into logical sections. Some involve community, others involve love, some love of God, peace between religions, inner life, work, home, playing... The range of catagories Barks creates represent human life in a wholeistic manner. They make Rumi's poetry easier to grasp, much more enjoyable, and center on the needs of all human beings. Barks also introduces each section (usually no more than a page). Barks' intros are concise, clear, and point toward key ideas in the most notable poems of each section.

    This large collection of poetry is worth reading for a lifetime. Not to mention as Robert Bly asked of Barks years ago, Barks follows through in "releasing these translations from their cages."

    5-0 out of 5 stars The alchemy of RumiÕs vision brought to life
    Jelaluddin Rumi has become familiar to Western readers who seek out ecstatic poetry, as more and more translations and commentaries are offered on perhaps this greatest of mystical writers. But as they say, it takes one to know one, and Coleman BarksÕ masterpiece is the obvious product of an attuned heart and poetic soul.

    This volume is one of the clearest and most vibrant illustrations of the Ôwild heartÕ Rumi was and is. It is difficult to find superlatives which do justice to the beauty and towering vision this work contains. Every verse, every line seems to open, in some disarmingly simple way, vast new vistas of possibilities for the human spirit.

    How good is this book? The highest accolade that can be given Barks is that his brief section introductions, frequently fodder in other volumes exploring Rumi, here are powerful and transformative in their own right. Each one sets up the following verses in a natural and seamless flow. BarksÕ light shines brightly, even in the rarefied company he keeps.

    Get this volume and devour it. Then get another copy and give it to someone who is ready for the infinite freedom it open-handedly offers...

    5-0 out of 5 stars Nice...
    When I first began to read this book, I didn't like it nearly as much as the essential rumi, some of the poems just didn't speak to me in quite the same way. But this last winter break, I read through the whole masnavi at the end of the book, and it gave me a very different feeling from anything I've ever read before. It was like there was a deeper message, or an understanding which is difficult to say other then just a deeper understanding of everything.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Love's Embodiment
    Although I own and have read most of Coleman Bark's Rumi books, never until today did I suspect that he so profoundly misunderstood the relationship of Shams and Rumi. He writes, "Their meeting in the heart is beyond form and touch and time." (p.188) Of course their relationship was spiritual even mystical, but where does the spiritual start but in "form and touch and time"? Barks seems to be denying that Rumi's poems describe an embodied connection with Shams. This is gnostic, erotophobia and perhaps homophobia.

    Barks arrogantly writes: "The question is often asked if Rumi and Shams were lovers in the sexual sense. No." (p.188) How can Barks write that sentence with such dogmatic certainty, especially after reading hundreds of Rumi's love poems to Shams? How does he know that this love is merely spiritual ("beyond touch")? I am glad that Barks has finally shown us his ideological position. I worry how this "spiritual disembodied viewpoint:" has shaped his translations of Rumi.

    I think it is impossible to know the exact details of the physical relationship of Rumi and Shams but the love poems express an incredibly embodied physicality. So I personally imagine that they did have one of the great sexual relationships of all time. But my evidence is in the poetry. The poetry describes a profoundly embodied relationship between two mystical men.

    In the future, I will seek other translators of Rumi so as not to be influenced by this disembodiment?

    Rumi and Shams were two physical men who met in a physical place in November of 1244. This meeting was within 'form', with 'touch' and within 'time.' Coleman Barks is wrong.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Embodied Love?
    Although I own and have read most of Coleman Bark's Rumi books, never until today did I suspect that he so profoundly misunderstood the relationship of Shams and Rumi.

    He writes, "Their meeting in the heart is beyond form and touch and time." (p.188) Of course their relationship was spiritual even mystical, but where does the spiritual start but in "form and touch and time"? Barks seems to be denying that Rumi's poems describe an embodied connection with Shams. This is gnostic, erotophobic and perhaps homophobic.

    Barks arrogantly writes: "The question is often asked if Rumi and Shams were lovers in the sexual sense. No." (p.188) How can Barks write that sentence with such dogmatic certainty, especially after reading hundreds of Rumi's love poems to Shams? How does he know that this love is merely spiritual ("beyond touch")? I am glad that Barks has finally shown us his ideological position. I worry how this "spiritual disembodied viewpoint:" has shaped his translations of Rumi.

    I think it is impossible to know the exact details of the physical relationship of Rumi and Shams but the love poems express an incredibly embodied physicality. So I personally imagine that they did have one of the great sexual relationships of all time. But my evidence is in the poetry. The poetry describes a profoundly embodied relationship between two mystical, physical men.

    In the future, I will seek other translators of Rumi so as not to be influenced by this disembodiment.

    Rumi and Shams were two physical men who met in a physical place in November of 1244. This meeting was within 'form', with 'touch' and within 'time.' Coleman Barks is wrong. ... Read more

    19. Why I Wake Early
    by Mary Oliver
    list price: $22.00
    our price: $15.40
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0807068764
    Catlog: Book (2004-04-15)
    Publisher: Beacon Press
    Sales Rank: 3216
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Mary Oliver has been writing poetry for nearly five decades, and in that time she has become America's foremost poetic voice on our experience of the physical world. This collection presents forty-two new poems, all written within the last two years, wach exhibiting the power and grace that have ceome the hallmarks of Oliver's work.

    This volume includes poems on crickets, toads, trout lillies, bears; on greeting the morning, watching deer, and, finally, on lingering in happiness. Each poem is imbued with the extraordinary perceptions of a poet at the height of her power, considering the everyday in our lives and finding reasons to marvel at all around her.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Earthy yet sacred, simple yet profound.
    In her 2002 book of poetry, WHAT DO WE KNOW, Pulitzer-Prize winning poet expressed her sense of wonder while listening to a loon at four a. m. (p. 64). In this new collection of 42 poems, she responds to the same question people have been asking me nearly all my life, "why wake up so early?" "It is what I was born for," Oliver explains, "to look, to listen,/ to lose myself/ inside this soft world--/ to instruct myself/ over and over/ in joy,/ and acclamation./ Nor am I talking/ about the exceptional,/ the fearful, the dreadful,/ the very extravagant--/ but of the ordinary,/ the common, the very drab,/ the daily presentations" ("Mindful," pp. 58-9). With a poet's gift of observation and a naturalist's eye for detail, Oliver turns her attention to the morning sun (p. 3), beans (p. 10), an arrowhead "found beside the river" (p. 11), trout lilies (p.12), a green snow cricket (p. 15), a swimming blacksnake (p. 19), clouds (p. 22), a marsh hawk floating in wide circles (p. 31), a flock of snow geese (p. 34), a bear track (p. 41), a luna moth "like a broken leaf" (p. 41), watching deer disappearing "into the impossible trees" (p. 49), "prayers that are made of grass" (p. 59), toads "sweet and alive in the sun" (p. 61), and the pleasures of lingering in happiness after a rain (p. 71) in these poems, always discovering the sacred within the ordinary. Whether she is "the madcap person clapping [her] hands and singing," or "that quiet person down on [her] knees" ("Sometimes," p. 39), readers will experience poetry in WHY I WAKE EARLY that Mary Oliver is best-known for, poetry that is earthy yet sacred, simple yet profound.

    G. Merritt ... Read more

    20. The Complete Works of W.H. Auden
    by W. H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood
    list price: $95.00
    our price: $95.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0691067406
    Catlog: Book (1988-11-01)
    Publisher: Princeton University Press
    Sales Rank: 426623
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    Book Description

    In 1928 Stephen Spender hand-printed thirty copies of a small volume of poems by his friend W. H. Auden--the first published book by a man who was to become the dominant literary figure of his generation and one of the century's greatest poets. Sixty years later, Princeton University Press inaugurates an eight-volume edition of the complete works of Auden, which is intended to serve as the definitive text for all the works Auden published or intended to publish in the form in which he expected to see them printed: his plays and other drama, libretti, essays and reviews, and poems.

    The Complete Works of W. H. Auden will provide a unique opportunity to solve the numerous textual problems connected with the severe revisions Auden made in his own works. The texts will be newly edited from Auden's manuscripts by Edward Mendelson, the literary executor of the Auden estate. As presented in this edition, they will be absolutely clean, with the notes appearing only at the ends of the volumes, along with variant readings from all published versions, as well as hitherto unpublished drafts or revisions. Also included will be introductions placing the works in the context of literary traditions and relating them to Auden's life and times.

    As planned, the first volume of the series contains plays and other drama, and the second volume will include the libretti. The essays and reviews will appear in the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth volumes, and the seventh and eighth volumes will contain the poems.

    Plays and Other Dramatic Writings, 1928-1938

    This volume contains Auden and Christopher Isherwood's dramatic extravaganzas The Dog Beneath the Skin, The Ascent of F 6, and On the Frontier. It also includes the two versions of Paid on Both Sides--which are so different as to constitute two works--and Auden's satiric revue The Dance of Death. Two plays appear in print for the first time, Auden and Isherwood's The Enemies of a Bishop and Auden's The Chase. Also included are Auden's prose and verse written for documentary films, a cabaret sketch, and an unpublished radio script. Many of the texts include poems by the young Auden that have never been published before. The extensive historical and textual notes trace the complex history of the production and revision of these plays, including full texts of rewritten scenes.

    During the years when these works were created, Auden moved from a "poetry of isolation" to more expansive and public writing. After he left Oxford at age twenty-one, during the summer of 1928, he wrote the tragicomic charade Paid on Both Sides. During the next ten years, until he left England for America, he created the increasingly ambitious works for stage, film, and broadcast that appear in this volume. The most important of these plays were written in collaboration with Isherwood. As the world political situation worsened, Isherwood and Auden's style combined the energy of popular entertainment with the urgency of sacramental ritual. ... Read more

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