Stroll in Rome

I simply love walking around the city center and, as much as I know it well, it seems there is always something I haven't seen or noticed. Literally every corner hides a surprise. Here below are a few pictures I took after my stroll yesterday. Things old and new. Things I knew and things I have learnt. I hope you will enjoy the photos.

Piazza Costaguti

Piazza  Costaguti - The Building where poet P.P. Pasolini lived shortly

Roman poet G.G. Belli was born here

Church of St. Eustace

Poet Aldo Palazzeschi lived here

Decorated building

Madonnella & Arco della Ciambella

Teatro Marcello 
Heading to the Tiberina Island

Broken bridge


Walking around Rome in the Footsteps of Poets

Sometimes I think I should write a poetical tour of Rome, and get it published. So many poets have fallen prey to the beauty of Rome over time and it would be nice to walk in their footsteps. Many foreign poets have left an indelible mark in our city and many Italian poets should be celebrated too. Let's check a few places.

Keats and Shelley's House This is the house where Keats lived his last months and where he died on February 23rd, 1821. You can visit the room where he died, and enjoy the many relics the museum holds. There are locks of hair of Keats, Shelley and Bryon, handwritten letters and poems (a fragment of "Lamia" that always brings tears to my eyes), funerary masks and one of the most beautiful views of the Spanish Steps. This place is steeped in history and walking in Keats's very footsteps is quite moving.

Keats and Shelley's House (1st building on the right)

The Non-Catholic Cemetery (or, Protestant Cemetery) Close to the only surviving Roman pyramid, it is the place to be if you love poetry and cats. It is a romantic place where one can pay a tribute to the tombs of Keats, Shelley (who drowned near Leghorn in Tuscany, but whose ashes are buried here), Beat poet Gregory Corso (who wanted to be buried close to Percy) and Italian poets Amelia Rosselli and Dario Bellezza. There is a beautiful lawn with wooden benches. It is a perfect spot to write.

Keats's tonm
Wilhelm Waiblinger's Window. Wilhelm Waiblinger (1804-1830) was a young German poet who died prematurely in Rome. He wrote a book on Friedrich Hölderlin's descent into folly. He had been a walking companion of the famous poet and gave a beautiful account of his last years. This book has not yet been translated into English. I hope someone decides to translate it soon. I often walk past his Roman home in Via del Mascherone, 62, or pay a visit to his tomb at the Non-Catholic Cemetery.

Waiblinger's House in Rome

Goethe's House in Via del Corso is a lovely place to visit. The great German writer and poet spent a long time in Italy and in Rome. His Roman home from 1876 to 1878 is well worth a visit. It often holds exhibitions and it is in the very heart of the city.

Goethe's House

The Baths of Caracalla provided a secluded retreat to P.B. Shelley while he lived in Rome. He wrote his Prometheus Unbound there as we can admire in this posthumous painting by Joseph Severn. In the portrait you may spot a mountain in the distance. It's the same mountain I can view from my very home.

Shelley writing at the Baths of Caracalla

There are many more "poetical" places to visit. Here is just a few. If you plan to come to Rome just let me know. I'll be glad to show you around!


It's Poetry Month! Celebrate!

April is here to stay and you should really do something poetic this month whether you are a Poet or not. Here is a few ideas of how you might celebrate poetry for the coming 30 days:

 1. Read a poem a day
 2. Write a poem a day (if you need prompts, you may enjoy Kelli Agodon's here)
 3. Listen to poets read their poems (try YouTube, I am suggesting one I love here)
 4. Watch a movie or docu-movie about a poet (Bright Star, Sylvia, etc. My suggestion here)
 5. Attend a reading
 6. Take part in a reading
 7. Record some poems to send to your family or friends
 8. Buy a poetry collection, or more (choose indie bookstores whenever you can!)
 9. Take poetry to work (delight your colleagues!)
10. Buy some chalk and write your lines in the streets (be a street poet!)
11. Leave some poems in a cafe for others to read
12. Buy a poetry journal
13. Suscribe to a poetry journal
14. Write a letter or an e-mail to a poet you know to let her/him know why you love her/him work so much
15. Choose a poet from a foreign country and read his/her poems in translation (be a global poet!)
16. Send a poem to a friend
17. Visit the house of a poet
18. Visit the tomb of a poet
19. Buy a poetry chapbook, or more (show your love to indie press!)
20. Read the biography of a poet
21. Write a collaborative poem
22. Submit your poems
23. Support a poet
24. Meet with other poets this month
25. Have a lunch or dinner with a poet
26. Have a drink with a poet
27. Buy a poetry Anthology
28. Read a poem in a foreign language
29. Translate a poem in your mother tongue
30. Send one of your poetry books to a friend
31. Be the poet you have always wanted to be!

Happy National Poetry Month!


New Anthology of American Poetry

So, it's real. After two years of hard work the Nuova Antologia di Poesia Americana (New Anthology of American Poetry) has been released by Edizioni Ensemble. The idea came to me as I was researching information for the biography of the Poet, as I often enjoy to call him. This bio has been an extraordinary experience that has allowed me to get in touch with poets who have met Jack from the late Fifties till today. Getting to know them has also meant getting to know their amazing poetry and I am so grateful to all for having allowed me to translate some of their beautiful poems.

Let me introduce you to the poets and poems included in the Anthology. Clicking on each poet's name you will be able to learn more about their life and their poetry:

- Architecture of An Instsnt
- Time Is Short

John Brandi

- Years of Love
- The Enthusiasm of Illusion

Alvaro Cardona-Hine

- Trying to Distract Myself from the Gulf Oil Disaster While Visiting My Mother in Florida
- Lazy Tongue

Terri Carrion

- Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922 - 1975)
- A Letter to Albrecht Dürer

Neeli Cherkovski

- Poem for Sylvia Plath Without Even Lighting the Stove
- Radiogenesis (poem for synthesizer and voice)

Thomas Rain Crowe

- How to Make Love to A Man
- Be Ahead of All Parting

Sharon Doubiago

- Germany
- Appointment in Pakistan

Michael C. Ford

- Bloom
- Resolution

Renée  Gregorio

- Eurydice Is Missing
- Bird in the Chimney

Stephen Kessler

Jim Krusoe
- Horses in Fire
- Holding the Baby While Listening to Glenn Gould's Last Recording of  the Goldbeg Variations
- Watching Retarded Children at LAX

Jim Krusoe

Kaye McDonough
- Dialogue on the Panning of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald
- I Have Gone Mad With Love, Love, Mad
- I Was Happy With Poetry

Kaye McDonough

Sarah Menefee
- A Little Fig Wine
- If He Didn't Keep Appering
- First

Sarah Menefee

Alejandro Murguía
- Lorca's Dream
- There's No Santos on My Altar
- Trastevere Sunday

Alejandro Murguía

Michael Rothenberg
- March 21
- The Revolt of Romantic Donkeys on the Highway from Marrakech to Rabat
- Serenity Spring
Michael Rothenberg

Bill Pearlman
- Further
- For Javier Sicilia
- Looking for My Name

Bill Pearlman

Anne Valley-Fox
- History's Path Spirals Down to a Precipce
- Things That Want to Be Counted
- Smoke

Anne Valley-Fox


Writing Prose Poems About the 70s

I must say that as much as I have always admired prose poetry, I have never tried writing any because it seemed to me that I had no real skills at it. But, last weekend I suddenly recalled episodes from my childhood in the 70s, specifically memories of the Years of Lead in Italy and of my father, and I ended up writing one. I sent it to my poetical sister, Michelle Reale, whose prose poetry is magical, so much so that I often return to read her collections because I can't have enough of them and I love wandering in her soulscapes for a long, long time. I wanted Michelle to honestly tell me what she thought of it. Her reply made me incredibly happy. She wrote:

Sorella, this is outstanding, and let me tell you why: it is highly evocative, and imagistic. It feels incredibly satisfying in this form, and, I dare say, you are quite adept at this form, which is truly my favorite! For me, an as exemplified by Seventies Blues, you encompass a whole world here. This poem made me want to linger in it, to soak it up! I hope you will continue writing prose poems!

Today I wrote my second 70s prose poem. I guess this might become a habit! :)


Sylvia Plath & Amelia Rosselli

February 11th is a date I cannot forget, being the death anniversary of two women poets I truly love. Sylvia Plath's death makes of her an iconic martyr immolating herself on the altar of Pain. Reading about her death and her last few acts before sealing the kitchen's door inspired one my poems, "Milk and Bread," that was first published by editor Cooper Renner in elimae and that can be read in my They Talk About Death chapbook. I am certainly not the only poet who was inspired by Sylvia's death. Thomas Rain Crowe wrote a beautiful poem--"Poem for Sylvia Plath Without Even Lighting the Stove"-- on the subject that you may read here and so did Tania Pryputniewicz in her "Sylvia III," from her November Butterfly collection.

Amelia Rosselli was one of Italy's best women poets. I have always admired her craft in writing her lines in either Italian, English or French. Her mother was English and her father, Carlo Rosselli, was a famous left-wing Italian political leader who had been forced into exile under Mussolini and who was assassinated in France when Amelia was barely seven. After years of living abroad in France, England and the United States, she finally settled in Rome. Rosselli was a translator too. Plath was a poet very dear to her. No wonder she chose defenestration on Plath's very death anniversary. I often visit her tomb at the Protestant Cemetery. Everyone is usually busy paying a tribute to Keats, Shelley and Corso, but Rosselli should indeed not be overlooked.


John Fitzgerald's Favorite Bedtime Stories. A Review.

Favorite Bedtime Stories by John Fitzgerald (Salmon Poetry, 2014) is a book of poetry that grabs the reader with the sinuosity of a leopard. It has a subtle way of penetrating in the pores and, much like the poet himself states, “I am poet and cannot explain” what makes this “voice like dirt” so intoxicating.

“Where I am men hide, seems to me the perfect key to understanding the subtleness at play. And no, it’s not up a tree with the leopard, but in the leaf that we are turning, in the traces Fitzgerald so skillfully disseminates along the pages.

“I am coiner of words, he says, and of tales I shall add. Reading this collection one moves swiftly from apes and wild beasts, to the fifteen poems of The Charter of Effects, an almost philosophical journey in the footsteps of a poet named Likeness (or the Likeness of the Universe) whose Muses are in no way ordinary:

Presence is the muse who says she is this very moment.
Every night I close the blinds she every morning opens.
I perform CPR but can never save her.
She dies in my arms, I can still taste her.

My favorite section of this collection is Chess. Following the King, the Queen and the Pawn along the Board, the poet invites us to revisit the game of chess, to put ourselves at play and to adhere to rules. Indeed, because even poetry has its strict rules, but with Fitzgerald

 the board morphs into countless situations,
I cannot say for certain if it’s finite
though the plane itself has edges.

There are infinite stories and as many poems in each of these poems, where the dark ultimately “reveals itself” from “being light. They remind me of C.M. Escher’s mesmerizing painting Metamorphosis III, where the chess boards leads us to explore always new and fascinating worlds to end up back where we have begun.

C.M. Escher, Metamorphosis III