Anthology by Alvin Conway – The Interview

Majestic and beautiful…full of wonder, intellect, and charm...” – NY First Look

Whoever said poetry was dead and wasn’t what people in our modern world read anymore couldn’t be more wrong. We’ve come across a collection of poems that has simply stunned us. Anthology, the fifteenth book written by Alvin Conway, is majestic and beautiful. You’ll find yourself holding the book and just staring at the cover for ten minutes before you ever open it. Anthology is a true work of art. This book is full of wonder, intellect, and charm.

Reading Anthology, one gets the feeling that they just might’ve stumbled across a lost or forgotten work by Lord Byron or perhaps Oscar Wilde that just happened to be hiding out in someone’s attic. Mr. Conway’s poetic mastery of the English language in the modern and ancient vernacular is impressive. His verses are as colorful as they are passionate. Consider this exquisitely penned verse from his poem, Ancient Love Affair:

Or the eloquence expressed by a dying Greek solider who is mortally wounded  in battle and stumbles into a field of flowers, where he meets and falls in love with a young maiden in the poem Anemone:

Or the quest for beauty so wonderfully expressed in his poem, Sometimes:

Anthology is that kinda of a wonderful book. Mr. Conway certainly has a gift for poetic expression and that’s what makes this book so classical and endearing in our opinion. He even wrote a libretto for Belinni’s opera La Sommanbula , a poetic rendering for Listz’s classical Liebesträume , and composed a poetic reworking of the song, Habanera from Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen. 

It’s easy to lose oneself in the enchantment of Anthology’s poems which unfold like a series of lost myths, fairy tales, and legends strung across eons of time. Unrequited love, heartbreak, the quest for true love, the allure of nature, the transformation of beauty, the eloquence of form, and imagination as an authentic source of aesthetic experience – all these themes are explored here with such depth, poetic beauty, and intensity that we can’t help but feel Anthology is one of those seminal literary work by a western writer that is destined to become a literary classic.

Anthology, 532 pages – The Rose Diary (abridged version), 54 pages

We took time off from our New York literary circuit of books, pages, and pen to paper to briefly talk with author Alvin Conway about his latest project – a beautiful new collection of his poems called Anthology.   – Rachel Thomas 

NY First Look: We’ve never seen a collection of poems quite like this. I was impressed with the breadth and scope of the poems…their exquisite richness and texture. There are so many beautiful ones. I think people are going to have an enchanting time both reading this and flipping through the pages of this book. It’s already a fan favorite among the staff. Anthology is really beautifully illustrated from cover to cover.

AC: Thank you. What comes from the heart goes to the heart.

NY First Look: You see poetry differently than most  modern authors and poets, at least that’s the way you appear to write about it. Would you say that’s a correct assessment?

AC: I don’t know if I see it differently or I just express it differently. To me, it’s all about passion. Not just from feeling but also from experience. I see the poem as artistic composition. Therefore it has an almost infinite dimension of creative expression. I draw from the past and I filter it through my own experiences. Words can just be words, like music can just be noise but it’s the order and the aesthetics arrangement of themes in art and life that truly creates beauty.

NY First Look: What poets influenced you?

AC: I love the Romantic poets: William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, George Gordon Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats. I also love Homer, William Shakespeare, John Milton, Poe, Emily Dickinson, and Sara Teasdale.

NY First Look: Anthology is a very intriguing read with more than 500 poems. What inspired you to compose such a prolific volume of work?

AC: I thought it was time to take all the new material I’ve written, as well as the selections from the five poetic books I wrote over the last five years and compile them into one definitive masterwork. I think readers will have a more comprehensive view of my poetry given the tapestry and nature of the poems, their subject matter, and the fact that each of the books from which the selections were initially drawn are all interrelated.

NY First Look: You explore a lot of fascinating themes in your book Anthology from Opera to Classical music from the Hero mythos to Greek Classicism, from fairy tales to time travel, from love and loss to Romanticism. Why are these themes such compelling subjects for you, as a writer?

AC: Poems are a very unique way of telling a story, while expressing sentiment in the beauty and nuances of the transcribed language. Poems give structure to form, much like music elevates the life of lyrics. Poems artistically fall somewhere between a story and a song. It’s a ballet of words with meter and rhythm without the music. Poetry is the thunder of passion that is quietly quelled by the gentle, cool rain of contemplation. Poems are floral vignettes, or at least that’s the way I’ve always seen them. If passion is the electricity of life and love then I must say I’m fascinated by our drives and what fuels desire, fear, hope, love, emotional expression, obsessions and addictions. In my mind, poetry is the perfect canvass for such a colorful palette of human responses to life.

NY First Look: Do you have a favorite poem in the book?

AC: I have several. They generally resonate with the mood I’m in at the time. However, Parisina is one I definitely adore.

Where to buy Anthology by Alvin Conway: Lulu


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