Many cultures identify mourning as the very source of poetry and music, what Elizabeth Bishop calls the art of losing. That might well be the title of this collection. Not every poem is cornered with death, but all are about loss. The poems chosen traverse a surprisingly wide range of emotions from despair to joy, resignation to anger, all articulated in language of the greatest power and beauty . All the major verse forms of mourning are represented here: epitaph, requiem and lament. Three great elergies by Milton, Whitman and Rilke are surrounded by a wide variety of shorter poems. Naturally, the pathos of death predominates, but its comedy has not been neglected, whether in the savage poems of World War I or the gentle teasing of seventeenth-century satire. Poets include: Akhmatova, Auden, Bishop, Brodsky, Browning, Carew, Cory, Cowley, Dickinson, Donne, Dryden, Dyer, Fletcher, Graves, Gurney, Hardy, Harrison, Herrick, Hopkins, Horace, King, Leopardi, Lowell, MacCaig, Mandelstam, Milosz, Philips, Propertius, Roethke, Smith, Tennyson, Dylan Thomas, Edward Thomas and Wordsworth.
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(165mm x 110mm x 18mm)
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UK Kirkus Review »
The idea of mourning as the source of poetry and art is explored in this collection of nearly 150 epitaphs, requiems and laments. Celebrating what Elizabeth Bishop called 'the art of losing' - loss rather than death itself is the unifying theme. Rage, inconsolable grief, comedy and pathos all figure - lost time and loved ones, human and animal, are lamented as the likes of Hardy, Wilfred Owen, Auden and Joseph Milton address that most fundamental of human realities. Grimly, this book would be useful for anyone planning a funeral service but perhaps Gavin Ewart's cautionary tone is to be heeded: 'There's a time for the masterly plaint/ weeping the loss of the flower./ That time isn't yet; so don't rush it./Keep the heartfelt iambics on ice./ Human love is delicate flower -/ a canto coul crush it.' (Kirkus UK)
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