Shelley, Modigliani And Me. Or, A Book Of Poetry In The Pocket.

Carrying a book of poems with me everywhere I go has become a habit. As soon as I have a chance to, I'll grab the book and avidly read a few poems whether I am stuck in a traffic jam or having my coffee break. Wherever and whenever indeed.

This reminds me that I am just like my beloved Modì, i.e. painter Amedeo Modigliani, who always carried a book of poems with him. It is a well known fact that he was a fond admirer of "Moldoror" by Lautréamont and that he owned a worn copy of the amazingly hallucinatory poem. He would read a few pages of the book to himself or to friends and acquaintances in the Parisan bars of Montparnasse. How I would have loved to attend such extemporary readings or hear him recite Dante by heart! 

As we all know, Percy Bysshe Shelley drowned for reason of a summer storm whilst he was sailing his Don Juan from Lerici to Livorno. He was found on the beach of Viareggio ten days later. His body was horribly disfigured, but his copy of poems by Keats was found in his pocket and this allowed to identify him.

Now, poetry won't always save your life, but carrying it in your pocket may turn useful!


  1. So we will be known by the contents of our pockets? Or our bags as some days I have no pockets. I have a bag full of Fall CDs which seems enough at the moment to identify me, plus a Finnish songbook because I need to make a copy of a song, my iPod and my phone and at least one notebook.

    Playing music today. Rediscovery. The simple things that make life sublime. Thinking of you reading Bukowski at the post office (sly!) and the little lifts we get: my Jack London postcard reminding me, Blake uplifitng my eyes, Robyn Hitchcock looking at me upside down, Sibelius looking disapproving.

  2. Wonderful post, Alessandra. Poetry works better for me when roaming (or should that be Rome-ing) around, short shots to get my head in a good place. No Fall CDs in my pockets like Kate, just a book, my notepad, a passport for the quick getaways...

  3. We will be known by what we carry in our hearts, Kate. And your bag is full of character, just as you are! I enjoying carrying my daily book of poetry with me. It is my Linus's blanket. It comforts me and brings me smiles.

    I loved your "Post Office" reference. That was not the Bukowski I was reading, but it would have been the perfect book! And do enjoy your simple things. I will go back to writing and to my reveries in a few.

  4. We have not done it yet, John. But, I swear, there will be days when we will go Ro(a)me-ing with our books of poetry and our pads in our pockets. I cannot wait! :)


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Recalling Pier Paolo Pasolini: A Force of the Past

Marina Tsvetaeva and Me

Brevity in Poetry