Wild Nights- Heart Wisdom from Five Women Poets is a collection of poems by Sappho, Emily Dickinson, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Amy Lowell, and Sara Teasdale, with a foreword by Lisa Locascio. First off the foreword is amazing, it was actually my favorite part of the anthology as not only was it beautifully written, practically poetry itself, it was infused with all the “feels” that the author and poet Locascio evokes in her words.
I have read Sappho, Emily Dickinson and Edna St. Vincent Millay before, and love a lot of what I have read. Amy Lowell and Sara Teasdale were new to me, and I’m very glad I have now discovered their work. Sappho is always an interesting read as depending on the translator the tone can be a lot different from poem to poem (Byron’s sounds like it could have been pulled from his own work for example). That said it would have been nice to have seen more versions translated by women rather than men (not sure how many exist though). When it comes to translating poetry there is always going to be a lot of subjectivity and personal interpretation anyway.
I found Amy Lowell’s use of nature, especially flowers quite beautiful, somewhat overwhelming at times. And Edna St. Vincent Millay has always spoken to me, so I will never pass up an occasion to read her work. I always feel like her work is timeless, I can relate to it in today’s world as much as I am sure another woman could earlier in the last century.
That said I was left feeling slightly let down for some reason but I don’t know exactly why. Maybe I felt like there should have been more poems? But my own collection of poems is only 60 pages long, so that’s not something that really bother me... It could be that the poems are grouped together under poet, rather than mismatched and matched up. I would have loved to have seen some side by side action between poets I think. Last of all there are four American poets, and one Ancient Greek poet translated mainly by men: I would have loved to have seen more diversity or at least maybe a couple of female poets from another country thrown in there.
All in all it IS a lovely little anthology with some beautiful poetry by some very talented women. And honestly I would get the book just for the foreword alone!
Wild Nights will be published by Dover Publications/Ixia Press on March 21st, 2018. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance copy!