Why did I love this book?
Czesław Miłosz was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1980. But that isn’t the reason to seek out this book. In fact, the book contains none of his poems; it’s an anthology of poems he selected from across the ages and across the globe. The poems are idiosyncratic to Miłosz’s taste—and he has excellent taste, offering us brief personal header notes to guide our reading. Most of the poems are less than half a page long, none more than a page and a half—and some just a handful of lines. These are delicate, thoughtful poems that never become syrupy or stringent. Even after decades of reading poems, I’ve returned again and again to this book when I want to remind myself of why I turned to poetry in the first place.