As part of a new post series #loveourcollections will look at the different collections of the Language Centre Library. Today I would like to speak about poetry.
It is said poetry is the highest form of the language, still, I strongly believe that poetry can be read, and appreciated (at least partially) when you are learning a language.
For this, bilingual collections will help a lot. Of course you will not understand all the subtilities of the language, nor all the words!, but you could, for example, try to read it with your language partner, or if you don’t have one, search the web for some video or audio. Let’s have a quick look at what we have here.
Of course, for Arabic, we have Mahmoud Darwish in an bilingual anthology called Victims of a Map (and for those very keen, I also have, in my personal library, a selection of his poems with translations in French, currently on loan with our Arabic Tutor), we also have a donation: the intriguing Book of Sins
For French, we have selections of works by Jean de La Fontaine, Pierre Jaccottet, Arthur Rimbeau, Pierre de Ronsard, Francis Ponge, Yves Bonnefoy, François Villon, Guillaume Appolinaire, Alfred de Musset, Victor Hugo, Joachim du Bellay and many many more in anthologies from Medieval to contemporary French.
For German, we have a nice bilingual selection of poems by Paul Ceylan
that will include the very famous “das Karussell”
Also an anthologie Lieblingsgedichte der Deutschen
Greek, and we have the rather hilarious and still relevant today of “Waiting for the Barbarians” by the great poet Constantine P. Cavafy
(it’s worth noting that there is a wonderful Cavafy website with his poems both in Greek and in English)
Italian I believe I could get more, but we have Vilma de Gasperin’s lezioni di lingua
Portuguese, and we had to have the very misterious and diverse all poets in one, that is Alberto Caiero + Alvaro de Campos + (Ricardo Reis + Antonío Mora + Bernardo Soares) = Fernando Pessoa
Russian, ah don’t get me started with Russian (do this test: meet a Russian, make them have a few toasts, say “Pushkin please!” see what happens…normally you should hear at least 3 poems from the famous poet ! and if they get very drunk perhaps… “Я вас любил”…)
and others, only in Russian, Alexander Blok
(and if you are nice I could lend you my Garnett book of Russian Verse, but only for a few days, minutes, seconds – as it is MINE!)
And the collection is not only for languages taught at the centre, we also have Taras Shevchenko considered to be the most famous Ukrainian poet, that I brought back from my travels
Spanish an anthology Al son de los poetas with poems from Lorca, Neruda and, speaking of Lorca, a CD (another present from my travels) of the Llanto por Ignacio Sánchez Mejías composed by Maurice Ohana. And a collection by Francisco de Quevedo
I’m adding here the work of Yunyao Zhai about Chinese and Tibetan poetry
Poetry: Chinese and Tibetan
Chinese: If asking Chinese people: ‘who is the most famous Chinese poet of all time’, the answer you get is very likely to be ‘Li Bai’. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li_Bai
Although Li Bai lived more than a thousand years ago, his talents and optimism have inspired the Chinese intellectuals over generations. Even today, his poems are still hugely popular; every Chinese child nowadays begins their school life by memorising and reciting Li Bai’s poems.
Tibetan: the legendary Sixth Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatso is probably one of the best known Dalai Lamas in history https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6th_Dalai_Lama . He is sometimes referred as a ‘playboy’, or a legendary composer of poems and love songs rather than the religious and political leader of Tibet.
Many of his verses are now translated into English and Chinese http://www.yogichen.org/cw/cw41/bk131.html https://www.atanet.org/publications/beacons_10_pages/page_60.pdf ）.
His poems are also an important inspiration for contemporary Tibetan artists, as you could listen to this beautiful song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qNLyNcE7gc , the lyric comes from his poems.