Imagine by Juan Felipe Herrera


Imagine by Juan Felipe Herrera

Very evocative! The early pages describing the small, quiet moments of childhood that you remember for a lifetime–a bird’s shadow, clamoring chickens and fuzzy flowers–are wonderfully vivid. The illustrations that accompany them are perfect for the poem–dreamy colors blending together and soft, thick outlines.

Some of the later stanzas fell flat to me–they tended towards excessive adjectives. The message of the book builds up well across the pages though, and as you read aloud, the “imagine” at the end of each stanza can build up in intensity.

(I won this from the LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer giveaway.)


Solitude, Vanity, Night: Czech Decadent Poetry


Deathly Mood

My soul is a gloomy vaulted cellar
where spider webs envelop every niche.
The breath of mold and dust waft here, and light
strays in but rarely, fearful, pale and sick.

My soul is a vaulted cellar where only
old things are cast to slowly putrefy.
A gray shadow lurks there, long and silent,
and sometimes sighs in the oppressive, deathly quiet.


Heavy, languid from the heat, on the trees a murmur falls
And hangs motionless, while in longing intervals
The oppressed forest breathes and a hot stream of sweat
And a coarse scent from fissured leaves mingles with its breath.
Beneath the rigid trees pale lethargy creeps,
Breathes foreboding in my face, settles next to me and speaks
With my melancholy soul in a language of dead words,
And within me the yearning for timeless mysteries stirs.
The sun’s overripe blossom withers in white gleams,
Quivers in sprays of twilight and sinks through the blue leaves
Into the mute exhaustion of apathetic hush, and quenched
In moss, in springs of mysterious breath,
It lulls me with lassitude, as beneath slow waves
Of blood, flowing over me from my freshly opened veins.

The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson


I felt a Cleaving in my Mind –
As if my Brain had split
I tried to match it – Seam by Seam –
But could not make them fit.

Come slowly – Eden!
Lips unused to Thee –
Bashful – sip thy Jessamines –
As the fainting Bee –

Reaching late his flower,
Round her chamber hums –
Counts his nectars –
Enters – and is lost in Balms.

The Pedigree of Honey
Does not concern the Bee –
A Clover, any time, to him,
Is Aristocracy –

The Arabian Nights: A Companion by Robert Irwin


“According to a superstition current in the Middle East in the late nineteenth century when Sir Richard Burton was writing, no one can read the whole text of the Arabian Nights without dying.”

“But, while it is true that there are items in the Nights which might pass as fairy tales, the collection’s compass is much wider than this. It also includes long heroic epics, wisdom literature, fables, cosmological fantasy, pornography, scatological jokes, mystical devotional tales, chronicles of low life, rhetorical debates and masses of poetry.”

“Letter magic, ilm al-huruf, was one of the most important sub-sciences in Islamic occultism.”

some interesting info from Irwin’s companion to the Arabian Nights

The Story of Hong Gildong


“A figure as quintessentially Korean as Robin Hood in English, one could mention other heroic outlaws like Song Jiang of China, Nezumi Kozo of Japan, Juraj Jánošík of Slovakia, Salvatore Giuliano of Sicily, Ned Kelly of Australia, and Jesse James of Missouri.”

“He had a daughter of such beauty that the moon hid itself and flowers became embarrassed before her fairness.”

“After Gildong perused the texts, he ordered a white horse to be sacrificed and drank its blood.”

“The coordinated movement of wild geese in flight was used as a metaphor for the harmonious relationship of siblings.”

some information and quotes I found interesting from The Story of Hong Gildong

One Hundred More Poems from the Chinese by Kenneth Rexroth

one hundred more poems from the chinese

“[Tu Fu] shares with [Sappho], Catullus, and Baudelaire, his only possible competitors, a sensibility acute past belief. Like them, he is–possibly paying the price of such a sensibility–considerably neurasthenic and the creator of an elaborate poetic personality, a fictional character half mask, half revelation.”

“More varied in his subjects than the others, [Po Chu-I] was a master of poignant, unforgettable phrases, many of which could be excerpted and stand alone as separate poems. It is this latter characteristic as much as anything else which accounts for his tremendous popularity with the classical poets of Japan, where, as Arthur Waley points out, he is revered as a god of poetry.”

“An exceptionally large number of the emperors of the Six Dynasties and Three Kingdoms were poets, probably due, as in Japan’s Time of Troubles, to the fact that the emperors of the contending states were mostly rois fainéants.”

some excerpts I found interesting from the endnotes of Rexroth’s anthology