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Collected Poems, 1920-1954

4.44  ·  Rating Details ·  181 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Winner of the Weidenfeld Translation Prize and the Premio Montale, an acclaimed translation of Italy's greatest modern poet

Eugenio Montale is universally recognized as having brought the great Italian lyric tradition that begins with Dante into the twentieth century with unrivaled power and brilliance. Montale is a love poet whose deeply beautiful, individual work confront
Paperback, 640 pages
Published June 30th 2000 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published January 1st 1987)
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Jul 17, 2012 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
1. Each of his poems explains the exact same idea as all the others. This is how to write a series.

2. When collecting phrases and drafting toward a poem, he had an idea in his head of the kind of finished art object he was aiming at. Perhaps only possible in the modernist period, as now we more emphasize procedure and less object.

3. Simply having 'authentic' experiences didn't mean that, by referring to them, he could produce authentic poetry. Others had authentic experiences too. He had to make
Roger DeBlanck
Jan 27, 2012 Roger DeBlanck rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Montale has stated, “I always begin with the real, I’m capable of inventing anything.” His Collected Poems demonstrate his obsession to sacrifice himself in his language, which is in constant search for meaning in the elusiveness of life. His work follows in the line of the revered Italian tradition of Dante and Petrarch. He attempts to free himself from the world’s existential drama, which he confesses guilt for creating. His work can be seen as an exorcism as he calls on the sea, the sun, the ...more
Sep 27, 2009 Ryan rated it it was amazing
After devouring this collection (as an undergrad), I discovered a whole new appreciation for lemons.
Mar 22, 2016 metaphor rated it liked it
Absent one, how I miss you on this shore
that conjures you and fades if you're away

Sep 16, 2008 Caroline rated it it was amazing
Just lovely. Good poems; beautiful translation. A good go-back-to collection.
Jul 04, 2013 Fed rated it really liked it

"Ossi di seppia", "Le occasioni", "La bufera e altro" these are great pieces, and I like the translation, but I am still of the idea that poetry should always be read in the original language first, and resort to the translation only if necessary.

"Non recidere forbice quel volto" e' la mia preferita! Che poesia piena di simbolismo. La poesia di quel periodio e' per me' la piu' significativa e Monatle sa' come esprimere i sentimenti dell' anima con simbolismo che non solo da' una descrizione appu
Scott Cox
Eugene Montale won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1975. His poems are not the easiest for me to understand (perhaps better read aloud in his native Italian tongue?). My favorite lines from "Cuttlefish Bones:" "Don't ask us for the phrase that can open worlds, just a few gnarled syllables, dry like a branch. This, today, is all that we can tell you: what we are not, what we do not want."
Peter Crofts
Nov 13, 2015 Peter Crofts rated it really liked it
A massive undertaking, the notes account for as much of the heft of this volume as the actual poetry. This is something you immerse yourself in. There is an anti-poetic component to Montale that places him, at times, in the company of other European poets like Pessoa and Machado. I'm convinced the Neruda must have been familiar with him as well. It seems to me his presence is in the mix out of which the Elemental Odes were composed. I've read this several times since picking it up and it's alway ...more
Matt Morris
See my review of this & other books at
Sep 08, 2008 Tom rated it really liked it
Montale is a marvelously lyrical writer, but somewhat too enigmatic for my taste. I gave up long ago trying to understand these poems, and instead just gave myself over to the mood and atmosphere of his work, which can be celebratory and melancholic, concrete in imagery yet evanescent in feeling. Among 20th c. Italian poets, I prefer Umberto Saba, but in certain moods, I find Montale complexly richer. I pull him off the shelf once or twice a year, and feel transported. Any more than that, I feel ...more
May 21, 2014 Dusty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beyond a faithful translation of this modern Poet's first and most important three books, this collection also includes very extensive in-depth notes and a very illuminating essay on reading Montale's early work. This is a book I will be returning to time and time again.
Night RPM
Jan 04, 2011 Night RPM rated it it was amazing
Astonishing translation by Jonathan Galassi of poetry by my favorite 20th cent Italian poet. I've re-read this volume so many times, but each traversal is equally pleasurable as the last, if not more.
Mar 08, 2008 Sudarsan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely, spare and even elegant in places. A welcome respite to Jarrell.
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  • Selected Poems
  • The Collected Poems, 1956-1998
  • Selected Poems | Francis Ponge
  • Collected Poems, 1937-1971
  • Uncollected Poems
  • The Changing Light at Sandover
  • Hymns and Fragments
  • New and Collected Poems: 1931-2001
  • Selected Poems
  • Without End: New and Selected Poems
  • The Selected Poems
  • The Palm at the End of the Mind: Selected Poems and a Play
  • Fernando Pessoa and Co.: Selected Poems
  • The Complete Poems
  • Collected Poems
  • Poems of Paul Celan
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins: The Major Works
  • Vida De Don Quijote Y Sancho/ the Life of Don Quijote and Sancho (Letras Hispanicas / Hispanic Writings)
Eugenio Montale was born on October 12, 1896 in Genoa, Italy. He was the youngest son of Domenico Montale and Giuseppina (Ricci) Montale. They were brought up in a business atmosphere, as their father was a trader in chemicals. Ill health cut short his formal education and he was therefore a self-taught man free from conditioning except that of his own will and person. He spent his summers at the ...more
More about Eugenio Montale...

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“Absent one, how I miss you on this shore
that conjures you and fades if you're away”
More quotes…