- Paperback: 340 pages
- Publisher: Mariner Books; First edition (April 1, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0156005743
- ISBN-13: 978-0156005746
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 71 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry First Edition
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• Epiphany: an unveiling of reality; an intuitive search for a deeper more essential meaning of a thing.
• The Secret of a Thing: showing how difficult it is for the poet to take him/herself outside of the poem in order to present an object as itself.
• Travel: expressing the elementary human need to break out of the confines of what is known to find wonder in the unexplored
• Places: the characteristic of strangeness found in places that are temporary homes, but not home.
• The Moment: how fragile the present moment, like a photograph, what was but not what is.
• People Amongst People: the human predilection to see, interpret, judge, and feel the events in our world; the basic emotions of love, hate, fear, admiration, loathing.
• Woman’s Skin: on how women describe themselves.
• Situations: the many colored tapestry of diversity and multi-cultural aspects of life, history, time and place.
• Non-Attachment: to mull over the role of the self as active or contemplative.
History: the commitment to the political aspect of life and changes the 20th Century has had on poetry. Another observation was the marked affinity for Chinese poets in this anthology. Many more entries are given to Chu-I Po, Fu Tu, and Wei Wang than to any other individual poet. I believe this is a reflection of what Milosz sees as the goal of this anthology, as noted at the beginning of this paragraph. He acknowledges this partiality, explaining “What attracts me to Chinese poets most is their ability to draw with a few dashes a certain situation.” (p.148)
What struck me most was the intense, personal attachment Milosz demonstrated for these chosen poems. Almost every poem is graced with a short introduction by Milosz, reading like conversational commentary on why the poem was chosen, what to look for in the poem, or his personal attraction to the poem. These introductions gave me the feeling that I was meeting someone’s best friends. This made the book most accessible. I sat in my favorite chair as I reached for the book, curled up under a wool shawl, ready and open to meet new, old friends.
The inclusion of this anthology broadened my world of poets. Many of the poets were unknown to me. Milosz seemed to almost deliberately exclude the major poets that would be expected in such a volume. I actually found this to be a way for me to get off of the beaten path and wander country roads and towering hi-rises that were delightful in their newness, filled with wonder and surprise. I came away from reading this with a sense of the world as a larger place than live in, yet of being a part of this universal world. I was given glimpses of the timelessness of poetry, the history of this art. These readings both expanded and contracted the universe, for me. And I came away from all this reading with two somewhat contradictory thoughts: the universe is so much wider than our own view of it, and, we all walk in the same river, but different.A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry
In broad daylight I dream I
Am with her. At night I dream
She is still at my side. She
Carries her kit of colored
Threads. I see her image bent
Over her bag of silks. She
Mends and alters my clothes and
Worries for fear I might look
Worn and ragged. Dead, she watches
Over my life. Her constant
Memory draws me towards death.
Rumi is there, and Cavafy; Rilke and Anna Swir. If I try to think of who is missing I can but find two names, Borges and Li He (Li Ho). But even without these two, it's a wonderful collection!
What separates THE BOOK OF LUMINOUS THINGS from others? This anthology contains marvellous choices. Moreover, for some reason, the translations do not sound remote either perceptually or emotionally. I am no linguist, but I can feel a well-phrased line; and I can get close to these poems. The book has become a favorite, and I return to it repeatedly.