Ten memorable works to understand poetry

Between the structure of modern lyricism and poetry from the antiquity, the energy of silence and word keep flowing, despite claims that after Auschwitz, lyricism was impossible. How can one choose ten poems among the almost infinite sequence of poems that create something from the fugitive, from the sacred or from the nothing? From Pindarus to Rilke, from Garcilaso to Baudelaire, any choice is a risk. Here are the ten poems of my big gamble.


Negawakuwa / hana no shita nite
(I’d like to die / in spring)


(ca. 1180)

The poem belongs to the Chants of the Hermitage by this 12th century Japanese monk. Its beauty comes from its extreme simplicity. Even when it is read from a translation, the reader guesses that each and every word that make up the poem occupy its right place, that none of them could find a synonym, that nothing could be added, that nothing could be deleted. One may be tempted to repeat it over and over again, in the belief of invocating something essential and absolute.