Essays on Poetries
For a growing contingent of devotees in the English-speaking world, the brilliant Mexican and Italian literary critic Mario Murgia is a beacon. He reads the great canonical poets, from Dante and Chaucer to Elizabeth Bishop, Borges, and Geoffrey Hill, with freshness and startling insight, joining “distant reading” to the existential phenomenon of cultural distance. A Milton scholar (among many other things), he meditates on the relevance of that austere poet in four languages to a world in which translation has become central. There are new presences as well in this book, poets beyond the canon or on its periphery. Murgia’s opening essay says the freshest and wisest things I have read on the dynamism of the canon in a de-centered, global world, one surprisingly foreseen in Dante’s Paradiso.
A great professor himself, Murgia’s essays are remote from academic discourse and singular in their ability to show that poets alone speak directly to the real. He is an emerging voice for our time.
—Gordon Teskey, Harvard University
Mario Murgia is the reader every poet dreams about—he is sensible, well informed, imaginative, and capable of discussing various literary traditions in several languages.
“The poet is not just the poet,” wrote Luis Cernuda, “but the interpreter of creation.” But the poet is himself interpreted, translated, remembered, forgotten, or canonized. Mario Murgia watches all this unfold between continents, languages, and centuries. If you want a sense of how poetry travels, this is the place to start.
Paperback, 158 pp.
Publisher: Madhat, Inc. (March 1, 2018)