Selected Poems

This second edition of C.F. MacIntyre’s translation of Paul Verlaine’s poems doesn’t add anything new, but it retains its high standards. MacIntyre’s devotion to Verlaine’s rhythms; attention to rhyme and assonance, especially internally; and his detailed notes on the poems, as well as the facing-page originals in French, make this a worthy volume. But the best aspect of this collection is that MacIntyre knew Verlaine’s work well enough to choose a selection of poems that truly reflects its scope. The references in the notes to Verlaine’s relationship with Arthur Rimbaud are a bit uptight, but MacIntyre makes up for his middle-of-the-last-century prudishness with sturdy translations that stand the test of time. For those of us who aren’t conversant in French, this volume is the place to start.