Friday, 13 April 2012

L is for Letters from Iceland

A few years ago I was given a book of poetry for my birthday and it quickly became one of my favourite books.

Letters from Iceland is a book comprised of letters in the form of poems, sent home from a journey through Iceland. It is a travel book, but not at all in the traditional sense.

“Now the winter nights begin
Lonely comfort walls me in;
So before the memory slip
I review our Iceland trip-

Not for me romantic nor
Idyll on a mythic shore
But a fancy turn, you know,
Sandwiched in a graver show.”

The book doesn’t present a particularly positive view of Iceland, however, it is so beautifully written, so clever and so witty, that it is very much worth reading. With a mixture of poems, notes and tourist information and tips, it is a perfect little book to read before a trip to Iceland, particularly because it is so much more fun and enlightening than your average guide book.

“No shields now
         Cross the knoll,
The hills are dull
         With leaden shale,
Whose arms could squeeze
         The breath from time
And the climb is long
         From cairn to cairn.

Houses are few
         But decorous
In a ruined land
         Of sphagnum moss;
Corrugated iron
         Farms inherit
The spirit and phase
         Of ancient sagas

Men have forgotten
         Anger and ambush,
To make ends meet
         Their only business:
The lover riding
         In the lonely dale
Hears the plover’s
         Single pipe

And feels perhaps
         But underfined
The drift of death
         In the sombre wind
Deflating the trim
         Balloon of lust
In a grey storm
         Of dust and grit.”

So beautiful! Do you have a favourite book of poetry?

(Please email me if you'd like the references from the book or for any more information. The pictures are my own, for a change. If you'd like to use any of them, feel free, but please link back to me :)

inspire nordic


  1. Ah yes, I love poetry. One of the first poems I ever read was one by Emily Dickenson. She is a favorite poet of mine. "There is No Frigate Like a Book". Have you ever read that one? Good post. Best regards to you, Ruby

  2. Lovely! The book sounds wonderful. Right now my favorite book of poetry is Ted Kooser's Delights & Shadows. He's a modern poet and former U.S. Poet Laureate.

    Thanks for your comments on my "K" entry. I'm glad I stopped over here for our Kaffeeklatsch! :)

  3. Sounds like a really interesting gift. (Why don't I get gifts like this?)

  4. I do want to know more about this lovely book of poetry. I might give it to my sister, or keep it for myself. I do have a book of poetry I call my comfort book: The Music Lovers Poetry Anthology.

    Play off the Page

  5. I would love to know where to get this book of poetry. I've been fascinated with Iceland since I heard a review of Independent People by Halldor Laxness (I went out and bought it, but still have not finished it.) I love cummings, Robert Frost, Edna St. Vincent Millay. The most contemporary poet I've read is Billy Collins, and he is wonderful.

  6. What a great gift. There isn't a better way to escape and travel through this book of poetry. What a great way to experience a place through the eyes and hand of someone else.

  7. I have never been a huge fan of poetry, but I like the idea of it in a travel book. You have peaked my curiosity!

  8. I love poetry and don't really have a favorite. They are all pretty special. Letters from Iceland sounds sounds very nice. Thanks for sharing some of it.

  9. I have some poetry books that were given to me by their authors and I guess those would be favorites. Other than that the poetry books I own are primarily anthologies.

    A Faraway View
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  10. You are adorbs! Thanks for stopping by! I love this post, I try to find inspiration in everything, thanks for this

    Now following you :)

  11. Those are some lovely poems. I'll have to see if I can find a copy of that book.

    My favorite book of poetry at present is Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot.

    - Lauren @Word Art

  12. It sounds like a really interesting way to learn about Iceland. I'll have to get it if I ever decide to go there! Great post :)

  13. What imagery and passion!

    My favorite book of poetry is by Yeats.

  14. Beautiful and very inspiring posts and blog!
    Please take a look at my blog and let me know if you wanna be fashion friends!

  15. I have always wanted to see Iceland!!!

  16. I love that poem. The imagery is wonderful. (Thanks for visiting/following my blog!)

  17. i thought it was a simply beautiful poem--i think my favorite collection, is a book of Shakespeare sonnets, given to my by my husband, our first Christmas

  18. I don't have a favorite book of poems, but I'm often curious to know the books others read. Thanks for sharing your book!

  19. WH Auden and Louis MacNeice? You can't go wrong there, thanks for sharing these poems. One of my all time favorite poems, Sunlight on the Garden is by MacNeice. Lately I've been on a tear buying boxes of books at a local auction house, just nabbed one full of poetry books from the mid to late 1800s for a whole $5, woohoo!

    Recently I've been reading CS Lewis and DH Lawrence on my tablet from the Gutenberg Project site - highly recommend both.

  20. I would love to know where to find this book. My favorite poetry book is Steven Turner Up To Date. As always, great post. And thanks for visiting me.

  21. Aloha Nikki,

    Thanks for stopping by... I'm a new follower now... LOVE those pics :)

    Well done :)

  22. Lovely! I think I do own a few volumes of poetry, though I'm not certain which. Terrible, eh? I wrote it as a teenager (who hasn't?), then moved quickly onto novels. My admiration stands tall for those who write poetry and write it well.

    Love your blog! :)

  23. nice idea.. thanks for sharing.