Michel Butor: Death of a Poet.

How sad to wake up to the news of Michel Butor's death, this morning. I read the news on my friend, Daniele Ferroni's Facebook feed. Daniele had a special relationship with the French novelist and poet, certainly one of the most iconic figures of the Nouveau Roman. The two have been good friends for almost fifteen years and Daniele produced exquisite publications of the master's work. He was also so generous as to ask me to translate some of Butor's poems. A demanding task in many ways, because Butor would use the French language in a down-to-earth way but filled with poetical genius that made me strive a lot. I so hope to have done justice to his words. May his path be forever graceful now, as was his life.

  Michel Butor



Poetry Will Save the World

A few days ago, John and I met Marco Cinque, my poetical brother, for lunch. Marco is not only an incredibly talented poet, he is an amazing photographer and musician. Jack Hirschman considers him Italy's best engaged poet and I thoroughly agree. I was so pleased to have him take pictures of John and me. Right in front of his office on a wall there is a message that says: "La poesia salverà il mondo" (i.e. Poetry Will Save the World). Marco insisted in taking a picture of us there, among others. I am in love with this photo. It tells so much. It means so much to me. I am posting that very picture and a few others Marco took on that day.


Of Poetry and Other Demons

I know I lost track of my poetry in the past few months. Sometimes life seems to get in the way and there is very little I can do to stop it from interfering with writing. Summer is always the best season for me to reconnect with myself and to fill my notebooks with a good amount of poems and words. John is a good creative force and so is love. No wonder this August has put me back on track. I have been writing, reading, editing and submitting with renewed vigor. And then there is this beautiful demon named love and its siblings life and art. My tricephalic Muse, for which I am truly grateful.

Bernini's Cerberus


Jack & Aggie

I can hardly write about how wonderful it was to share two full days with Agneta and Jack Hirschman. They are a wonderful couple and I love their spirit. It was simply great to chat with them about poetry, literature, art, life. It was also a chance to learn more about Jack's life and hear quite a few anecdotes that will find their way into the biography I'm writing.

Hearing Jack talk of his trip to Europe in 1964-65 was priceless. The months he and his family spent in Paris, in a studio in Montparnasse, while he was researching Antonin Artaud for the Anthology that would be published by City Lights Books. Their trip to Rome by car and the "dolce vita" party they attended. The time spent on the island of Hydra, with friends such as Leonard Cohen. So much history, too: J.F. Kennedy's assassination, the Vietnam War. The years at City College and at UCLA. I had never heard of the gypsy wagon...and how Jack met Pablo Neruda!

Not to mention the reading at HulaHoop Club on Friday evening. Thank you to everyone who attended it and to the Brigade members and the other poet friends who read my poems and Jack and Aggie's poems in Italian.

Long live, Poetry, Aggie & Jack!

Jack, Aggie & me @ HulaHoop Club 


Loaded Rhymes

My Italian poetry collection A rima armata (Loaded Rhymes) has just been published by Gilgamesh Edizioni and I will be presenting it here in Rome next June 10. I must honestly say that I am quite proud of the poems included in this collection. There are some strong poems in it. The focus is social and revolutionary. I am truly grateful to Andrea Garbin for having selected my work for publication. I am also glad of being part of a series alongside poets I am very fond of such as Alejandro Murguia and Beppe Costa. I was honestly terrified that the cover had to be my own portrait! But, I am glad Rachele Aragno, a lovely artist, did such a great job.

A book is like a son, I hope those of you who read Italian will hold a copy of my latest work in their hands and give it some love, soon!


How Punk Rock Emily Dickinson & I Will Celebrate National Poetry Month

It's now officially National Poetry Month and Punk Rock Emily Dickinson (courtesy of Wendy MacNaughton) and I have a lot of ideas in mind to celebrate Poetry in the upcoming 30 days. So we have compiled a list of poetical things we will be doing.

 1. Buy a brand new Moleskine. (I got myself a new one, with a black cover, this morning).
 2. Write a least a poem every day for the upcoming 30 days. (Must write my first, today).
 3. Read at least a poem every day in April.
 4. Read a new collection of poems by a poet I've not read yet.
 5. Buy a new chapbook (support small presses, please!). dancing girl press by Kristy Bowen has an amazing offer: 3 chapbooks for 10$. Other presses you should sponsor are Juliet Cook's Blood Pudding Press, Margaret Bashaar's Hyacinth Girl Press. Also, you could join the fundraising for the new Hysteria Anthology, edited by E. Kristin Anderson, which will be published  by Lucky Bastard Press next May.
 6. Buy a new collection (Make a poet and a publisher happy!)
 7. Do some punk work with Emily's poems. Cut, paste, erase. Steal a line. (She is totally supportive this month!)
 8. Read a poetry book in a library (Make a librarian and a dusty book happy this month!)
 9. If you know any languages translate a poem in your mother tongue (make a foreign poet happy!)
10. Have a drink with a poet. (Poets love to drink. Ask Rimbaud!)
11. Tell a poet why you love her/his work so much. (Make a poet happy!)
12. Write a review. (Make a poet and a publisher happy!)
13. Hang out with a poet/poets.
14. Support a poet friend. (Advertise her/his work!)
15. Read one of your poems aloud somewhere around town.
16. Friend a new poet.
17. Edit a poem you think is not too good before clicking the delete button.
18. Scatter one of your poems around town. (It's fun, I swear!)
19. Write a poem en plein air (pretty much like the Impressionists painted)
20. Write a sonnet, a villanelle or a sestina. (Damned sestinas!)
21. Write a haiku or a tanka.
22. Ask somebody to write a poem for you.
23. Mourn a dead poet. (Write an elegy).
24. Follow a poet's blog (even mine, if you are so inclined!)
25. Attend a poetry reading.
26. Buy yourself something that reminds you of poetry (a mug, a poster, a magnet). Stick with it!
27. Carry a poetry book with you all the time.
28. Read a poet's biography.
29. Choose a poet as your National Poetry Month doppelganger or spirit guide. (Emily too, if you wish!)
30. Be the poet you have always dared to be!

Wishing all my poet friends and all poets around the world a lovely poetical month!


Angela Davis in Rome

Last Monday morning I had the privilege of attending a lecture by Angela Davis on "The Meaning of White Supremacy Today" at Rome's Tre University. The lecture theater was amazingly crowded and a standing ovation with raised fists greeted her arrival. Having written my dissertation on an Afro-American author,  I could not help being there. Davis is a legend in so many ways. The ongoing call she made for socialism, intersectional struggles, and global citizenship warmed my heart.

Somebody posted a few clips from her lecture on YouTube. Enjoy!