Jonathan Galassi’s last two books were translations of Montale: Otherwise: Last and First Poems of Eugenio Montale (1984) and The Second Life of Art: Selected Essays of Eugenio Montale (1982). Yet Galassi’s poetry bears little resemblance to that of the great Italian modernist poet. There are similarities of phrasing and diction, even some conscious echoes: in Galassi’s “Against Earrings,” for example, the lines, “Don’t tonight, don’t wear/perfume or put up your hair . . . . Don’t you know I’d know your face,/its ivory veiled by your hair,” are obviously adapted from Montale’s “The Strands of Hair,” which begins, “Don’t push back the strands of hair which veil/ Your child-like forehead.” But on the whole, Morning Run, especially its first two sections (the book has three), seems to be quite at...


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