Among the Lost (In Dante’s Wake) by Seth Steinzor

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source: Free review copy courtesy of Poetic Book Tours
title: Among the Lost (In Dante’s Wake) by Seth Steinzor
genre: poetry/fiction
published: November 2016
pages: 228

blurb:
Among the Lost, set in the modern American rust belt, is a meditation drawn from Dante’s Purgatorio. To Dante, Purgatory was the mountain where souls not damned went after death to cleanse themselves of sin in preparation for entering Paradise. What, Steinzor asks, are we preparing ourselves for, having lost the fear of hell and the hope of heaven, in the course of our daily urban existence? And whatever that is, how do we go about preparing for it?.

my thoughts:
Among the Lost (In Dante’s Wake) is book 2 in Seth Steinzor’s trilogy based on Dante’s Inferno. I haven’t read Dante since high school but I remember some of the storyline.
Dante guides the narrator here as he goes through the motions of daily life. Birth, death, family, love, religion and politics are some of the themes encountered within these pages.

This second installment, based on Dante’s Purgatorio, takes the reader through Purgatory. It starts off with a husband in a hospital room while his wife is in labor. The narrator sees life and death in the hospital, like yin and yang. I have always found the idea of purgatory to be a fascinating and terrifying one. The thought of a soul being stuck midway like that, neither here nor there, in limbo.

The narrator is looking for his love Victoria and on reading the foreword, I found out the author based Victoria’s character on a girl he loved in real life who sadly, tragically passed away.

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How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

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How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

A favorite poem by Browning, and I think my favorite lines here are
“I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints.”

There is something just sweet and to the point about this poem. I feel it showcases how loving someone is as necessary to life as breathing is.  “I love thee to the level of every day’s most quiet need”.  

What do you think?

Follow this link  to read more of her work. Sonnets from the Portuguese has been on my wishlist for a while now, I really should grab a copy for my shelves.

sonnets

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disclaimer: The photo above is my own and is not available for download.

The Complete Poems: Anne Sexton

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source: free review copy via NetGalley / Open Road Media
title: The Complete Poems: Anne Sexton
published: April 5, 2016
pages: 340
genre: poetry

Blurb:
The collected works of Anne Sexton showcase the astonishing career of one of the twentieth century’s most influential poets

For Anne Sexton, writing served as both a means of expressing the inner turmoil she experienced for most of her life and as a therapeutic force through which she exorcised her demons. Some of the richest poetic descriptions of depression, anxiety, and desperate hope can be found within Sexton’s work. The Complete Poems, which includes the eight collections published during her life, two posthumously published books, and other poems collected after her death, brings together her remarkable body of work with all of its range of emotion.

With her first collection, the haunting To Bedlam and Part Way Back, Sexton stunned critics with her frank treatment of subjects like masturbation, incest, and abortion, blazing a trail for representations of the body, particularly the female body, in poetry. She documented four years of mental illness in her moving Pulitzer Prize–winning collection Live or Die, and reimagined classic fairy tales as macabre and sardonic poems in Transformations. The Awful Rowing Toward God, the last book finished in her lifetime, is an earnest and affecting meditation on the existence of God. As a whole, The Complete Poems reveals a brilliant yet tormented poet who bared her deepest urges, fears, and desires in order to create extraordinarily striking and enduring art.

My thoughts:

I find that Anne Sexton’s work is painful, beautiful and uncomfortable all at once. This is a nice collection for those especially who enjoy her poetry. This contains the complete collection of her work in the order that she wrote it, ending with the poems that were published posthumously.

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Phenomenal Woman

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…Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me….
Maya Angelou

read the poem in its entirety here

Back in high school, Maya Angelou was the first poet whose work I read that resonated with me. She has long since been a favorite. I read her books I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas and I was just in awe at her writing and storytelling. The words flowed off the pages, captivating and inspiring me. Reading her work I knew she had been through so much and survived to tell her story, that alone is inspirational.

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Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is available for download. The photo above is my own and not to be removed from this post.

Hold Fast to Dreams…

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Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
Langston Hughes

read more of this poets work here…

This is one of my favorites by Langston Hughes. I feel like it is short yet sweet and to the point.
Enjoy your day 🙂

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disclaimer: Nothing in this post is available for download. The photo above is my own and not to be removed from here.