For A Book of Luminous Things Nobel laureate poet Czeslaw Milosz has selected 300 of the world's greatest poems written throughout the ages, poems memorable for how they render the realities of the world palpable and immediate. They are organized under eleven headings - including "Epiphany," "Nature," "The Secret of a Thing," "Travel," "Places," and "The Moment." In addition to his introduction, Milosz contributes brief, penetrating commentary on each poet. Among the.Poets included are Elizabeth Bishop, William Blake, Joseph Brodsky, Constantinos Cavafy, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Allen Ginsberg, Linda Gregg, Seamus Heaney, Zbigniew Herbert, Jane Hirshfield, Robinson Jeffers, D.H. Lawrence, Denise Levertov, Philip Levine, Li Po, Antonio Machado, Thomas Merton, W.S. Merwin, Sharon Olds, Mary Oliver, Po Chu-I, Rainer Maria Rilke, Theodore Roethke, Charles Simic, Gary Snyder, Wallace Stevens, May Swenson, Anna Swir, Wislawa.Szymborska, Tu Fu, Wang Wei, Walt Whitman, and William Carlos Williams.
The section themes, like "Nature," "Epiphany," and "People Among People," along with their short descriptions, add to the reading experience without being overbearing. The selections are diverse, ranging from 11th Century Chinese poets to Alan Ginsberg and from anonymous Eskimos to Walt Whitman. You'll re-read classics in a new light and stumble across some new favorites. Whether you're a poetry scholar or were scarred by high school English class, the 300 poems are a joy to read. Luminous Things is a great book to keep on your nightstand or desk, where you can flip through it and read a poem at random.
The poems are grouped by categories such as People, Places, Travel, etc. and Milosz has an introductory comment on most of them. I preferred to read the poem before I read the comment so I could compare my reaction to his. Now that I have read the entire collection, I would like to have 2 copies--one for my guest room bookshelf and one to keep in my night table when I want to find something soothing and lovely to read before falling asleep.