The Seven Hills of the Dove by Scharmel Iris with a foreword by Padraic Colum
Boston : Bruce Humphries, Inc., 1957. Hardcover. 72 pages ; 22 cm. Price-clipped dust jacket with minimal wear to dust jacket. Blue cover board with gilt title at spine. Pages are clean and unmarked. Binding is firm.
From the Dust Jacket :
THE SEVEN HILLS OF THE DOVE BY SCHARMEL IRIS With a Foreword by Padraic Colum
"Of poets writing today there is no greater," said William Butler Yeats in the only preface he ever wrote for a book of American poetry: Bread out of Stone by Scharmel Iris.
In The Seven Hills of the Dove, the poet more than fulfills the almost impossibly high expectations aroused by his earlier book. Here is religious poetry of a rare and special kind—the poetry of the personal believer. The seven Roman sonnets, which are the core of this book, are perhaps the finest examples of this type of poetry in our age. So humble, so intense, so dazzling in their imaginative fire, they build to a triumphant declaration of personal faith:
Not I, a leaden thing that cannot mount
The swirling stair which winds to noble heights,
So that I stand at last where I may count
To find my Maker in a feast of lights.
Over and around these sonnets is built a magnificent hymn to Rome. In these poems we see the heritage of the eternal city, which seems at times too full, too old, too overwhelming for the mind to en-compass. With a poet's fine eye he probes this heritage: the doers and the followers, the young supporters of II Duce, the Roman matron, alone, turned inward from life, living only for pleasure:
Green is the leaf, but not the age
Which builds the blinded Nightingale a cage . . .
He speaks of the people who have passed that way, the beauty past and present. Here by the Spanish stairs:
Sat here in the shade, Shelley spreading marmalade Over bread Italian hands had made.
The ring of beauty lingers in this place Where once a candle brought to light his boyish face.
The greatness of Scharmel Iris as a poet has been acclaimed by some of the most noted writers of our age.
George Bernard Shaw said of him—"His poems are not echoes of dead poets; they glow with the fire he has given them."
William Carlos Williams said-"His poems are top rank. There are not many pieces of writing you can say that about today."
Carl Sandburg calls him "a genius in the lyric field."
George Santayana said—"His poems have much feeling and strength, but above all, the authority we call beauty."
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