United By Pop received a free copy of Love Found in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are our own.
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Title: Love Found: 50 Classic Poems of Desire, Longing, and Devotion
Authors: Edited by Jessica Strand and Leslie Jonath with illustrations by Jennifer Orkin Lewis
Overall rating: 5/5
Themes: Poetry, anthology, artwork and illustrations
Review: This gorgeous anthology proves as beautiful outside as in. Bound in a rich red, blue, and gold cover, with a mixture of textures for ultimate aesthetic pleasure, this book recalls pure elegance. And the interior is no different. A collection of fifty, relatively small poems adorn the pages, with a large portion also coming accompanied with one of Jennifer Orkin Lewis’s stunning illustrations. This book truly is love found at first sight!
The book is split into three chapters: ‘Desire and Longing’, ‘Heartbreak and Loss’, and ‘Passion and Partnership’. This makes the anthology easily accessible for those wishing to dip in-and-out of at random as well as capturing the full spectrum of romance. With easy access to the theme you are wishing for, as well as the renowned name of the classic poets therein, this truly is a collection that provides ultimate joy for every reader.
The introduction relays the purpose of this anthology: to put into words the indescribable emotion of love. It aims to capture the nuanced emotions, stages, and categories of love. It uses words from a variety of poets from a diverse array of backgrounds and utilises illustrations to illuminate their depths. I believe it triumphed.
Of the poems, some of my favourites include ‘Love Song for Lucinda’ by Langston Hughes, ‘Love’s Philosophy’ by Percy Bysshe Shelley, ‘One Art’ by Elizabeth Bishop, ‘Do Not Ask Me for That Love Again’ by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, and ‘Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds (Sonnet 116)’ by William Shakespeare. The latter begins:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.
Is there any more resonant way to say, I love you?
The artwork is of truly sublime quality. I adored how the work of the classic poets was combined with illustrations that depicted contemporary scenes and scenarios. This made each poem that much more relatable and provided the sometimes well-known with an unusual and unique insight. These also did not merely cover heterosexual love, but incorporated a level of diversity I have found sorely lacking in previously bound anthologies. The love shared by friends, the passion of lovers, and the adoration of a parent for their child are all evocatively recounted, as, too, is the loss of all these things. This altered perspective shone a new light on some of my previous favourites, as well as introducing me to numerous new additions to admire.
As the synopsis suggests: this “is perfect for Valentine’s Day, weddings, anniversaries, or spur-of-the-moment romantic gestures”, but also a beautiful volume to treat yourself with. The gift of love has never been so easy to deliver.