Happy Birthday, Kate!

Today is Kate Laity’s birthday. My lovely friend and writer extraordinaire has written wonderful books and it would indeed be nice if you picked a copy of one of her latest or even earliest works whether in print or as an e-book, today.

One of my favorite works by Kate is PelzmantelCheck all her books here.

Queen Kate rocks!


Choose Books for Xmas!

I love receiving books for Christmas. Not just poetry books. I like novels, as well. I will attempt to give a few suggestions based on my personal experience. Whatever you choose for your family and friends, may it be something you love. I hardly ever buy books I have not read (or that I would not want to read) as gifts. Also, choose indie whenever you can!
      1. Support small presses! Here are a few worth picking one or more books from:

Two Sylvias Press  http://twosylviaspress.com/
Dancing Girl Press http://www.dancinggirlpress.com/
Hyacinth Girl Press http://hyacinthgirlpress.com/

2. Support women writers! A few suggestions when it comes to poetry. Some books I have read or reviewed this year and that I truly love:

Alexis Rhone Fancher, How I Lost My Verginity to Michael Cohen: and other heart-stab poems (Sybaritic Press)
Susan Yount, House on Fire (Blood Pudding Press)
Kelly Boyker,  Zoonosis  (Hyacinth Girl Press)
Tania Pryputniewicz, November Butterfly (Saddle Road Press)
Margaret Bashaar, Letters from Room 27 of the Grand Midway 
Hotel (Blood Pudding Press)
Sandra Marchetti, The Canopy (MWC Press)
Erin Elizabeth Smith, The Naming of Strays (Gold Wake Press)
Juliet Cook, Thirteen Designer Vaginas (Hyacinth Girl Press)
Michelle Reale, The Legacy of the Sidelong Glance (Aldrich Press) 

3. Some Gift-worthy Fiction I have read or reread this year:

Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace
Julio Cortázar, Hopscotch
Goliarda Sapienza, The Heart of Joy
Luis Sepulveda, The Old Man Who Read Love Stories
Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
Boris Vian, Heartsnatcher
Patrick Modiano, Dans le café de la jeunesse perdue
Toni Morrison, Home
Gabriel García Marquez, Memory of My Melancholy Whores
K.A. Laity, Pelzmantel

Happy Reading! 
Happy Holidays!


A Poem for Anna Akhmatova

When the Lightning Struck

I was bare as my skull
hoping to find refuge in your
words, brain teased to
enlightenment as the pages

struck the clock of Reason.

I feel my blood thicken,
Your writing is so hard,
I am petrified, Akhmatova.
We two are made of storms,


(from Guerrilla Blues, 2012 © Alessandra Bava)


Rome's RPB Reading at Café Voltaire

I will be reading at Café Voltaire next Thurday 20th evening together with other members of Rome's Revolutionary Poets Brigade, Edoardo Olmi, Angelo Zabaglio & Andrea Coffami and Marco Cinque. We are presenting our latest Anthology, Articolo 1 (Albeggi Edizioni). I am very pleased that poet Maria Desiderio will join us. As always, music will be played by Giuseppe Natale and our Marco Cinque! See you there.


Poetry Work in Progress

Today I woke up to a new copy of They Talk About Death chapbook sold. I am sure I owe the sale to the recent, beautiful review by lovely poet Sandra Marchetti appeared in the amazing Fall 2014 edition of Menacing Hedge.

Fall is coming and some projects are drawing to a close. I have completed the translations of Paper Offerings by Alejandro Murguía, current SF Poet Laureate, and I have translated and edited A New Anthology of American Poets. Both should be published by the end of the year.

I am also translating the Poet for a new publication and, last but not least, I have asked 16 contemporary women poets to allow me to translate their poems for an Italian magazine I collaborate with.

I plan to complete these translations by December. With the new year I have decided to put poetry translation projects on hiatus, in order to concentrate solely on the Poet's biography. I want to complete it by next year, as earliest as possible.

And then there is my poetry. Right now I mostly write in between projects, but I know I want to write more. I am so thankful to poet Tania Pryputniewicz for the poetry prompts on her blog. They are very inspiring!


Blog Tour Interview - Alessandra Bava's Writing Process

"Wherever Art is going she will follow suit pregnant and barefoot from the balcony/in due time." (from Never Thirty-Seven)

What I Am Working On

After the release of  They Talk About Death, my first US-published chapbook, last July by Blood Pudding Press,  I am currently working on some translations projects--that is translations into Italian of poems by Alejandro Murguía, current San Francisco Poet Laureate as well as editing and translating an New Anthology of American Poets. I am also always working on my main WIP, that is poet Jack Hirschman's biography, which is indeed a beautiful and demanding experience. Writing about a contemporary poet's life and work takes a long time not only in terms of writing but requires so much research, too. I cannot but recognize how this work is constantly shaping my writing and is enriching me in way I find hard to express. Last but not least, there are always new poems I am working on--whether for specific chapbooks ideas or as stand alones and I am also trying to put together a longer collection of my poems in English. 

Why My Work is Different

I think one of the keys to understanding how my poetical brain works is taking into account that, given my job as a translator, I am constantly immersed in words. When I am not translating, I spend my day editing translations. Moreover, having attended American and English schools as a kid--at the times I was living in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates--I was exposed to the English language at a very early age. I naturally use my mother tongue too when I write poetry, but I have such an elective affinity with English, that I tend to write most of my poems in English anyway. It is a fascinating process to be able to use other languages in one's writings. I know English allows me to be more concise and to the point. Words are shorter and evocative in ways that help me to end my poems with a bang rather than a whimper. Or, so I believe at least! Italian, on the other hand, is a much more sensuous language demanding a greater verbal control on my part. This said, I let the English Muse or the Italian Muse do their job. They are pretty good and sisterly and each takes her turn without notice!

What I Write About

When it comes to my poetry, this is perhaps the hardest thing to pin down. Some of my poems spring from having read something that has left a true resonance. Some poems capture a moment. Some others revolve around a poet and/or artist whose life has somehow deeply affected me. Some poems are angry and inspired by social, ecological or political topics. I write mostly about life, death, love and anger and its many different variations. 

My Process

I am very ecletic when it comes to writing. It is literally anywhere and everywhere. I don't believe in having a writer's corner to concentrate so, even if I have a writer's den in the mezzanine upstairs, I do not write there all the time. There are a few spots in Rome that are particularly dear to me and where I often end up heading to when I am looking for inspiration, that is the Protestant Cemetery--where poets Keats, Shelley, Gregory Corso, Amelia Rosselli and many more are buried--and the Appian Way

Tag & Thanks

I'd love to hear from you: Nicole Ross Rollender, Fox Frazier-Foley and Jennifer MacBain-Stephens! Tell me about your writing process and thank you in advance for your time. Many thanks again to Juliet Cook, editor and poet extraordinaire, for inviting me to talk abour my writing!


What Matters Most: the Poet or the Poem?

I am indeed grateful to the upcoming 100 Thousand Poets for Change event in Rome next 27th September. Yesterday evening at a group meeting with the organizer of the event, John and I had the chance to meet a group of young poets known as MEP (Movimento per l'Emancipazione Poesia)--that is Poetry Emancipation Movement--whose aim is to billpost poems around town but without divulging the poets' names. Each of them signs his/her poems with his initial and a number that identifies them. You may check their website here to see how they work.

Their message is pretty clear: they want to bring poetry to the street so that anyone may read it but they choose to have their poems speak for them. No voice, no face and no name is attached to the poem. This form of billposting is unauthorized, so there is a strong element of protest that comes with their activity.

I am totally in love with this idea. And yet, I had to question my poetry Weltanschaunung. Does it really matter if people know who the poet is? What matters most: the Poet or the Poem? I probably won't come up with a definite answer anytime soon, but, I think the poem is what "will last." I asked my son what he thought about the issue and he told me he believes that the poem matters most, but he also added, don't forget it takes a poet to write a poem. How true!

P.S. I have decided to read some of the MEP aithors' poems at the 100 Thousand Poets for Change event. I genuinely like their ideas. I am more than happy to lend them my voice. Poetry is not about ego, after all.