Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Love Poems

By Ovid

The Love Poems is another example of me opening a book with the wrong set of expectations. Call me crazy, but from a book with both ‘love’ and ‘poetry’ in the title, I expected some romance. And the cover! The cover’s pretty, no? But it was not to be. Ovid is probably one of the least romantic poets I’ve ever read, if you consider an opposite of love to be a vulgarization of romance. Ovid could be described as the Roman man’s guide to Getting Girls, and the Roman woman’s guide to Getting Guys to Like Them. Forget truth or romance; according to Ovid love is all about pretense. And by all appearances, you'd think he's right. The implementation of his advice is still rampant today! Ovid's strategies for wooing women can be observed in frat houses and crude comedies across America on a daily basis, and the contrived charades women employ in their effort to be men’s “ideal” could have been pulled straight from Cosmo’s “25 Ways To Get Him Thinking About You.” A common theme is starting to emerge from all these books* for me: human beings aren’t as dynamic as we think we are. Yeah, we have more advanced technology, take up more space, and live longer than we used to, but our drives and the ways we interact with one another haven’t changed much at all.

In conclusion, I think The Love Poems is a misleading title. All ye romantics, be wary. I’d recommend Ovid only to those who identify with the serial-dating stock male lead in cruder romantic comedies (in need of the reforming powers of blossoming love for the female lead), or perhaps think ‘that’s what she said’ jokes are hysterical. I will concede, however, that although it wasn’t for me, Ovid did have a serious knack for writing poetry.** I just wish he’d channeled his talent into, you know, romantic love poems.

* The ones I’m reading for my J-term class on Romans and Christians, I mean.
** And apparently, so do I. Nice accidental rhyme, eh?

Books Read This Year: 7
Top 100 Progress: 38/100

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