Monday, 7 November 2011

Selected Poems - Christian Rossetti

ISBN (Everyman's Poetry edition): 0460878204

Christina Rossetti is not a household name among poets, and I don't understand why. Her poetry is alive with the pain of a broken heart. Not that it's whiny or depressing; far from it. This is a collection that is full of hope even in the most desolate of internal landscapes.

Born in 1830, Rossetti is best known for writing 'In the Bleak Midwinter', which happens to be my favourite Christmas carol. This is clearly a lady who knew great pain and loneliness; this is only too evident as you read her verse, and yet her deep faith saturates every line. Rossetti is clearly in love with Jesus, and this brings her great hope as she chooses him above "looking earthward". This is perhaps most evident in 'The Convent Threshold'.

Her language is polished to the point of sparkling with the emotion she pours out. Though she uses clipped phrases and the sentiments are subdued, they are veiled only thinly, so that the true feelings in this repressed life glow through the lines like a blush.

Rating: 8/10

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