Book Review: Against the Light

Protect me 
my island
and make sure the land we share
does not split in two
carrying you away
With trembling hands I hold you back
from the shore and feel you
Slipping slowly
slowly.

Lugano 5:50 

Against the Light by Tiziano Broggiato is a short collection of poetry. Broggiato was born in Vicenza, Italy in 1953 and has other work published in Italian. The poems are translated by Toronto poet Patricia Hanley and Italian born Maria Laura Mosco. 

Against the Light is a more of classic style of poetry in its message and its form. The poems were written in Italian and translated into English. What also makes this collection nice is that the Italian appears on the left page and the translation on the right. Although I do not read Italian, it is nice to see the layout side by side. It offers a visual comparison to the form of the work. 

The collection opens with a haunting, but beautiful. The poem “Flight’s Elegy”. It captures the pain of the great cost and urgency of a father protecting his son from a pursuing enemy, and his son’s unanticipated reply. Other poems cover a range of subjects from Jewish children rounded up in Nazi occupied Poland. There are themes that include death, snow, and Biblical references. There is a mixture of pastoral and urban. This is one of the rarer collections where nearly all the poems managed to strike a chord with me. 

Broggiato, even in translation, shows power and artistry with words. He can turn a few well chosen words into grand images and emotions. He demonstrates rare skill and mastery. An outstanding collection and well worth reading and keeping. A near perfect example of classic poetry in modern writing.

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