Official Review: The Marble Wave

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any fiction books or series that do not fit into one of the other categories. If the fiction book fits into one the other categories, please use that category instead.
Forum rules
While in the forum's younger and less active days this used to be the one and only forum for "reviews and discussions about specific books", this is now just the subforum "other fiction" in a more well-organized "reviews and discussions about specific books" section with subforums for each genre. Check it out! :) Remember, the forums in the reviews section (including this forum) are for posting about a single book or series in topic, and the topic title should include the book's title. If you are creating a new topic, please try to post it in one of the other genres rather than posting it here in the "other fiction" section. This is only for books that do not fit in any of the other genre categories we have listed.
Post Reply
User avatar
CataclysmicKnight
Posts: 760
Joined: 26 Jan 2015, 19:51
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 150
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 48
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 61
Favorite Book: Ready Player One
Currently Reading: The Banned Book about Love
Bookshelf Size: 551
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cataclysmicknight.html
Latest Review: The 600 Million Dollar Latte by Neil Flett

Official Review: The Marble Wave

Post by CataclysmicKnight » 22 Jun 2018, 13:38

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Marble Wave" by Massimo Mandolini Pesaresi.]
Book Cover
4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


Poetry is perhaps the most hit-and-miss type of writing. Some folks slap together some thoughts, add some line breaks to make it look like poetry and call it a day. Others are so vague and confusing that one feels like a fool for not getting it when really there's no substance to be found. Then there's truly great poetry that spins a web of metaphor, that puts every word to perfect use and creates images in the reader's mind while hiding secret meanings. The Marble Wave by Massimo Mandolini-Pesaresi had me intrigued by the name alone, ensnaring my mind and forcing me to dive in to discover just what a marble wave is.

The Marble Wave is a collection of just over 30 poems, with many of the pieces sorted into two sections: Le Regard De Thaleia ("The Look of Thaleia", according to Bing translate) and Lachrymae. Right from the beginning, before even entering either of these categories, the first poem swept me up. "Diver" is a fitting title for not only the poem but for what the reader becomes as they read this poem, diving into Massimo's deepest thoughts, with a piece that speaks of a person diving into thoughts of the past. I took my time reading through The Marble Wave, and pieces stuck with me long after I put the book down each day. Throughout the book this was for different reasons: at first it was because of the depths of meaning and the pondering they inspired, and in the second half of the book, Lachrymae, it was both the poet's words and the events the poems spoke of. Unlike the rest of the book, most of these pieces have the meanings behind them more clear as far as who or what it’s focus is. These are largely events and people I had no knowledge of, like who Rachel Corrie and Sakineh are (who was revealed through the italicized first letter of her name beginning each line of the poem).

Have you ever seen a romantic comedy where there's someone who speaks Italian or French and the ladies instantly fall in love with the language regardless of what he might be saying? Massimo's writing was much the same - despite many of the poems speaking of tragedies and sadness, the words flow like melodies. Like classic rock and oldies, where it takes years of happily singing along before discovering that "Every Breath You Take" is far more creepy than romantic, I found myself realizing that beautiful words hid pain and sorrow. Massimo does this through not only precisely chosen words, but also through concision. Verses beg for second, third and fourth readings to scour for every bit of depth, and even then I'm certain there are plenty of things I missed. Like great poetry, Massimo's pieces have all sorts of possible meanings.

I ended up doing a lot of research with these poems, which is a double edged sword. On the one hand I felt a bit like a detective figuring things out, and translating Italian poem titles often gave me an AHA moment. However, some folks may not put in the effort and lose a bit of meaning. For example, one of the poems, "Catacombs", has the subtitle “per Attilio Bellucci”. When I searched the name I found nothing aside from a few very similar names. However, the title ends with “16 ottobre 1943” in italics, and when I searched that I found a book titled October 16, 1943/Eight Jews about “the massive German roundup of Jews in Rome on the date of its title.“ (via http://undpress.nd.edu/books/P00766). This perfectly links back to the poem, and both gave me a greater appreciation for the poem and made me feel brilliant for figuring it out!

Despite not fully comprehending all the poems, I really had a fantastic time with The Marble Wave. The writing is exquisite, I learned a great deal and I never felt bored. While the majority of the writing is free verse, it never felt like plan writing; it was always clearly poetry, not just random thoughts. Massimo toys with rhyme and meter, and while I never found anything completely out of his element, the poetry was varied enough to keep things fresh. I guess that's what one should expect from a person who translates poetry, has taught at multiple universities and writes on various topics. Nonetheless, The Marble Wave brought with it a breath of fresh air, and despite the two errors I found in the PDF version I reviewed it's easily worthy of 4 out of 4 stars. Anyone who loves deep poetry will thoroughly enjoy this book.

******
The Marble Wave
View: on Bookshelves

Like CataclysmicKnight's review? Post a comment saying so!
Nothing is true, everything is permitted.

Dahmy 10
Posts: 212
Joined: 18 Feb 2018, 05:06
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 61
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-dahmy-10.html
Latest Review: First Family by Alice Langholt

Post by Dahmy 10 » 17 Jul 2018, 08:29

Marble Wave, that sounds like uncertain certainty. Or unsettled concrete. Well that's how the title impresses on my perception.

From what I have ready here, I am so in love it ti book. Thank for introducing me to it.

I would like to know if the book has anything to do with the irony I suspect...

User avatar
Cecilia_L
Posts: 894
Joined: 08 Jun 2018, 22:16
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 80
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cecilia-l.html
Latest Review: Generating Business Referrals Without Asking by Stacey Brown Randall

Post by Cecilia_L » 17 Jul 2018, 12:17

A breath of fresh air, as you described in your review is exactly what I hope to find when I read poetry. Thanks for the lovely review!

User avatar
stacie k
Posts: 733
Joined: 01 Feb 2018, 17:04
2018 Reading Goal: 40
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 47
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 127
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-stacie-k.html
Latest Review: Like Saving Summer in a Jar by Amy Mathis

Post by stacie k » 18 Jul 2018, 01:05

I like how you describe the writing as exquisite, and the fact that you were able to uncover depth of meaning as you dug deeper into the poems. It sounds like a real gem! Thanks for introducing it to us!
“The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable.” Proverbs 15:2a

User avatar
Dollydave
Posts: 3
Joined: 21 May 2018, 00:15
Currently Reading: The Last City of America
Bookshelf Size: 11

Post by Dollydave » 19 Jul 2018, 22:38

What else flows better than water?
A perfectly written poem.

I just hope the "catacombs" has nothing ti do with Egypt.

User avatar
AliceofX
Posts: 316
Joined: 27 Feb 2017, 06:01
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 370
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-aliceofx.html
Latest Review: In Euphoria by Donna D. Vitucci
Reading Device: B00ICPVSYC

Post by AliceofX » 23 Aug 2018, 04:26

I'm not really into poetry, but I really liked your description of the book. You wrote a really good review.

Post Reply

Return to “Other Fiction Forum”