Tag Archives: poetry

‘Tradurre è un bacio’

nicola_gardini_2Nicola Gardini, Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature at Oxford University, author of novels, poetry collections, literary essays, and translations of poetry from English (W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Emily Dickinson among others), Latin (Ovid and Catullus), and Greek (Marcus Aurelius), will be in Sydney to share his experience of translation and to illuminate the nature of translation as a poetic process. On Wednesday 12 April, 5.00-6.30 pm, in the Dept of Italian, Sydney University, he will be in conversation with Marco Sonzogni (Victoria University of Wellington), a specialist in the poetry of Montale and Heaney. Gardini’s Viva il latino (Garzanti, 2016) has been on Italy’s bestselling list for months; its English translation will published in Australia by Text. His new book explores Ovid’s imagination and will appear at the beginning of May (Garzanti).

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‘A sort of Roman saint’

250px-giuseppe_gioachino_belli‘The greatest poet of the 19th century’ (1976) …. ‘one of the three major revelations of my later life’ (1990) … ‘to read the entire corpus is to be overwhelmed. One dares to speak about greatness’ (1992). Who can this poet be? Aha .. ‘aromatic Roman speech haloed by a sonnet’ (1977). That’s a clue – except that the poet himself corrected anyone who described his language as ‘Roman’ – ‘no, it’s romanesco’. This isn’t a competition so the cast can be revealed. The poet is Giuseppe Gioachino Belli (1791-1863) and the writer praising him is Anthony Burgess (1917-1993). The novelist is quoted by Paul Howard in this week’s TLS  (22 Feb, p.15) in a long introduction to an apparently unpublished essay by Burgess entitled ‘Belli into English’ (ibid., p.16). Overcoming his initial shock at Belli’s obscenity and blasphemy, Burgess had made translations of a selection from GGB’s s 2279 sonnets for his novel Abba Abba. But, acknowledging that the poet was ‘a sort of Roman saint’, Burgess found the work of translating him very hard: ‘Belli remains as one of the proofs that poetry is fundamentally untranslatable’.

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Creative writing: Mosaici 2015

logoThe 2015 Creative Writing edition of Mosaici – Learned Online Journal of Italian Poetry has been published and is available online here. The poems and essays in the 2015 edition, directed by Theodore Ell, address two themes: Poesie e saggi ispirati a Mario Luzi e la sua generazione and Poesia come risveglio di memorie perdute. The contributions represent a wide array of styles and genres and are the work of authors writing in Italian and English in Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia. The contributors are Marta Arnaldi, Marco Ausili, Gian Matteo Baldi, Stefano Bellin, Mario Ceroti, Maurizio Masi, Tommaso Meozzi, Mena Mitrano, Paola Musa, Paolo Rigo, Margherita Scattolari, Luigia Sorrentino and Paolo Totaro.

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The weather in the Roman streets


(C) Alessandro Prada @ Flickr

Glimpsed a classical fashion icon as you sipped your cappuccino in Piazza Navona? Been queue-jumped at the ticket office by a louche member of the Mount Olympus club? Had a funny thing happen to you on the way to the forum? Travis McKenna has been making poetry out of such encounters ….

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Poetry by Simon West: Museo Italiano, 19 August 2015

image008Simon West’s The Ladder, his third collection of poetry and first in four years, will be launched by Lisa Gorton at the Museo Italiano, 199, Faraday St, Carlton, Wed 19 Aug, 6.30pm. Many earlier preoccupations return – the natural environment, Italian art, the dimensions of place. There is a new focus on worldly and artistic responsibility, and a fascination with the ‘certain poise’ of ‘being in between’. At the collection’s heart are the building blocks of language, along with the more literal ones of Rome, where some of these poems were written during a residency at the Whiting Studio in 2012.

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New work on Italian poets: Piero Bigongiari and Giovanni Raboni

9781784622282_SMLTwo recent publications on 20th century Italian poets to be signalled. Theodore Ell’s A Voice in the Fire: Piero Bigongiari’s Poetry of War and Survival (Troubador, 2015) is the first detailed study in English of the work of Piero Bigongiari (1914-1997). It draws in particular on his wartime writing, from the major poetry collection Rogo (1952) to essays, diaries and new archival discoveries, to compose a portrait of an author abandoning the ermetismo of his early work in the search for greater emotional immediacy. Giovanni Raboni (1932-2004), poet, critic and translator, is the subject of the latest set of contributions to ReadingItaly. They include interviews with those familiar with the man and his work, a discussion of his relation to modernism, and a review by Maria Belova (Warwick) of his Every Third Thought: Selected Poems 1950-2004 (trans. Michael Palma, 2014).

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Luzi, Parronchi, Bigongiari: call for new work to celebrate their inspiration

logoThe editors of MOSAICI: Learned Online Journal of Italian Poetry are calling for submission of new work for the journal’s Creative Writing section. Last year marked the centenary of the births of Mario Luzi (1914-2005), Alessandro Parronchi (1914-2007) and Piero Bigongiari (1914-1997), poets who are admired but often go unsung. MOSAICI invites poets and writers on poetry to submit new work inspired by them or the spirit of rediscovery. Continue reading for details ….

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‘Beautiful sick body’: new issue of Mosaici

logoBeautiful sick body‘ is the title of the forthcoming issue (to be published on 26 April 2015) of Mosaici, the online journal of Italian poetry based at the University of St Andrews and directed by Rossella Riccobono. Previous issues have been devoted to La neo-avanguardia italiana: 50 anni dopo (2013), Poetry in Conflict (2012) and Parole, immagini, racconti. Cinque saggi su Cesare Pavese poeta (2011). The journal’s website also contains links to anthologies, essays, translations and reviews of Italian poetry.

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Publishing a literary journal

gleebooks05The Sydney-based literary magazine Contrappasso publishes new work in, and translated from, Italian as well as creative work and interviews in other languages. Its poetry editor, Theodore Ell, recently talked about the aims of Contrappasso‘s founders, the reasons for the choice of the title, the two meanings of the term ‘industry’, and the difficulties encountered by small publishing enterprises. You can read his very interesting discussion here.

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Vale, Giorgio Orelli (1921-2013)

Theodore Ell   University of Sydney

orelligiorgioItalian literature has lost a unique and much loved voice, with the death this morning of Swiss poet Giorgio Orelli, at the age of 92. Orelli was born in 1921 in Airolo, in the Canton of Ticino, and made his debut as a poet with the collection Né bianco né viola in 1944. He studied at Freiburg im Breisgau under Gianfranco Contini and made a career teaching literature in Switzerland and Italy. He published fiction (Un giorno della vita, 1960) and criticism (most recently La qualità del senso, in 2012), but it was in the domain of poetry that he produced his most inspired work, in collections that displayed his gift for rich, concentrated and emotional descriptions of nature: L’ora del tempo (1962), Sinopie (1977), Spiracoli (1989), Il collo dell’anitra (2001) and most recently L’orlo della vita.

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