A Book of Luminous Things
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Why read it?
2 authors picked A Book of Luminous Things as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
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…
When I was a student at UC Berkeley, Czeslaw Milosz was still teaching there. I attended his classes on the Russian novel, read several of his books, read and admired his poetry. Later, I came upon this beautiful anthology: a collection of short poems, some in English, many in translation, ranging from eighth-century China to the contemporary U.S. For someone who has come to feel that poetry is not for them, or who simply craves a more contemplative slant to their life, this would be a marvelous place to start.
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