Collected Poems, 1920-1954
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Collected Poems, 1920-1954

4.51 of 5 stars 4.51  ·  rating details  ·  140 ratings  ·  13 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...more
Paperback, 640 pages
Published June 30th 2000 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published January 1st 1987)
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Roger DeBlanck
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
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...more
Peter Crofts
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. 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 always a...more
After devouring this collection (as an undergrad), I discovered a whole new appreciation for lemons.

"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...more
Matt Morris
See my review of this & other books at
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
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
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.
Absent one, how I miss you on this shore
that conjures you and fades if you're away

Lovely, spare and even elegant in places. A welcome respite to Jarrell.
Just lovely. Good poems; beautiful translation. A good go-back-to collection.
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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
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“Absent one, how I miss you on this shore
that conjures you and fades if you're away”
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