Eugenio Montale

I was never an avid reader of poems apart from Eichendorff and his evocative romantic images and Hoelderlin, whose lyrical output might well be the pinnacle of German poetry in its transcendental and philosophical implications. Now I was stunned by the discovery of Italian poet Eugenio Mortale. Here is a good resume ( Wikipedia ) about him:
“Montale wrote more than ten anthologies of short lyrics, a journal of poetry translation, plus several books of prose translations, two books of literary criticism, and one of fantasy prose. Alongside his imaginative work he was a constant contributor to Italy’s most important newspaper, the Corriere della Sera, for which he wrote a huge number of articles on literature, music, and art. He also wrote a foreword to Dante’s “The Divine Comedy”, in which he mentions the credibility of Dante, and his insight and unbiased imagination.
Montale’s work, especially his first poetry collection Ossi di seppia (“Cuttlefish Bones”), which appeared in 1925, shows him as an antifascist who felt detached from contemporary life and found solace and refuge in the solitude of nature.
The Mediterranean landscape of Montale’s native Liguria was a strong presence in these early poems: they gave him a sort of “personal seclusion” in the face of the depressing events around him. These poems emphasise his personal solitude and empathy with “little” and “insignificant” things, or with the horizon, the sea.
According to Montale, nature is “rough, scanty, dazzling”. In a world filled with defeat and despair, nature alone seemed to possess dignity – the same as the reader experiences in reading his poems.”

I was particularly taken by his references to the Cinque Terre, an area in Italy I know fairly well, and its magic can be found in these poems. Most highly recommended. ( And poems can be read if there is only a minute or two of time available, the perfect modern day literature then…).