Showing posts from 2012

Literary 2012

Patti Smith's birthday seems a good day to have a look at my literary achievements for 2012.

It was a happy year in so many ways.Guerrilla Blues, my first chapbook, was published in March by Edizioni Ensemble and Rome's Revolutionary Poets Brigade Vol.1 anthology--boasting works from 10 brilliant poets--which I have edited and translated into English was published in May and presented by SF poet laureate Jack Hirschman in a reading at the Circolo degli Artisti in Rome last May 17. I am very grateful to my publisher for having met all deadlines and have made the book available in time for the reading.

Despite having sent out only 87 submissions to magazines and anthologies, I am glad to report of having had 25 poems accepted so far this year--some are still under consideration.

Also, my translations of poems by Marco Cinque have been sent to the American publisher and will be in print soon.

The current WIP is keeping me amazingly busy. The biography is moving forward. Research …

Silent Things

Silent Things is a brand new poetry, photography and fiction outlet. The Editor, Scott Carroll, has published 3 of my poems already and requested more. So, here is a brand new poem as well as a photograph I took. It has been posted overnight. It is inspired by one of my favorite places in Rome, the Protestant Cemetery in Rome and Percy Bysshe Shelley's tomb. Enjoy!

Cor Cordium, or Hearts of Hearts. Written on P.B. Shelley's Tomb.

Verlaine, the Subway and Me.

I was heading to a poetry reading last Friday and, given the hectic traffic of Friday afternoons in the Eternal city, I decided to opt for a subway ride. The only reason for which I "enjoy" the crowded subway is that it gives me the chance to read and so I sat down holding a book by Verlaine in my hands. I was literally immersed in the beauty of the lines in French until the old lady close to me started to grumble. Maybe she would have preferred a different read--no poetry in the first place and what is more not in French! I felt sorry she could not have any fun taking a peek at my book. This gave me the opportunity to scan for some time the other people sitting and standing close to me. What I saw inspired the poem I wrote, today. A poem on decadence, status symbols and Verlaine of course. Erato sings and I write.


Well, that's what my friend and writer Kate Laity wrote about me on her #FollowFriday today and I guess that's what I do. She did bring a big smile on my face. The summer moves on and, I am glad to report, that I have been writing more poetry and working--sometimes up to 8 hours a day--on the biography. I have been in touch with so many people and received incredibly precious feedback. Poets, scholars, librarians, relatives and friends of "our" poet as well as institutions have all been amazingly generous dedicating time to my "cause" and sending materials my way. Moreover, my English translations of poet and "brother of quill" Marco Cinque will soon be published in the States. He so deserves it. He is an excellent poet. Last but not least, John and I have had a great time in Tuscany. Patti Smith's concert in Siena was a blast!

And now, Edoardo is finally back in Rome and I am back to work. But, I guess the program will still be pretty much wr…

Alda, the Asylum and Tightrope Walking

I was recently talking with a friend about contemporary Italian women poets. We both love Amelia Rosselli, but Patrizia Valduga and Alda Merini have a special place in my pantheon. I know my friend is probably shaking her head at this point, since she does not love Merini. But, it cannot be helped! I checked whether Poetry Magazine has a page doveted to her. And, I was glad to find her there even if her poems are spare and not among her most relevant. I wrote the magazine a polite note too since her bio is not updated. She passed away 3 years ago. Maybe it's time for an update.
Merini's life was characterized by hardship and great suffering. She got married very young and had 4 kids. Since--out of rage--she had raised a chair against her husband one day, she was sent to an asylum. Being perfectly sane, she wrote wherever and however she could and this prevented her from becoming mad. She had to undergo electroshock treatment too (as other famous writers: i.e. Sylvia Plath, Jan…

Writing A New Poetry Collection

Yes. I will confess it. I am busy working on Jack's bio, but I have also started writing a new poetry collection. I had lunch with my fellow poet and friend Marco last Friday and we ended up talking about Pasolini. Then, after lunch and on my way home, I could not help stopping by one of my favorite spots here in Rome. And, I found myself treading in Pasolini's very footsteps. One of his poems kept resonating in my head. The place is so amazingly inspiring, that I ended up sitting on a bench on the lawn in the shade. I had my pad with me and, as I sat there, a 3 years old boy and a blackbird inspired a line. I wrote it down. It is a powerful line.

Jack in Rome: Attacking the Bio

It was simply great having Jack in Rome! The reading at the Circolo degli Artisti on the 17th and the one at Chiccen on the 18th were a great opportunity to catch up and touch base. Even more important was the dinner we had at Olga and Ludo's place on the 19th. Olga kindly lent me a notebook that I filled with notes. This time I did not record the interview--as I had done in Bologna last year--but I took an impressive number of notes. Jack enjoys talking about his past and so the conversation spanned from his childhood to the present day. I received plenty of feedback on his early girlfriend who introduced him to poetry, on living in the Bronx, recollections of his mother, amusing episodes concerning his grandparents, how he got to send a short story to Hemingway and the letter that the novelist had sent to him as a reply. I even brought him a perfectly legible copy of that same letter that I received from the University of Indiana, together with a copy of the reply letter he had …

Jack Hirschman & Rome's Revolutionary Poets Brigade Poetry Reading -- 17.05.2012

SF poet laureate Jack Hirschman and Rome's Revolutionary Poets Brigade--i.e. Marco Cinque, Alessandra Bava, Olga Campofreda, Marco Lupo, Angelo Zabaglio/Andrea Coffami, Ludovica Lanini, Mariano Macale, Fabio Apperito & Marco De Cave--will be reading at the Circolo degli Artisti here in Rome next Thursday, May 17th. Mark the date. The Brigade will also be presenting their first Anthology published by Edizioni Ensemble, that I've edited and translated. We promise poetry will be incendiary! See you there.

Segnate la data sull'agenda. Giovedì 17 maggio, il poeta laureato di San Francisco, Jack Hirschman, e la Rome's Revolutionary Poets Brigade (ovvero Marco Cinque, Alessandra Bava, Olga Campofreda, Marco Lupo, Angelo Zabaglio/Andrea Coffami, Ludovica Lanini, Mariano Macale, Fabio Apperito & Marco De Cave) terranno un reading al Circolo degli Artisti in Via Casilina Vecchia 42. La Brigade presenterà anche la sua prima Antologia poetica, pubblicata da Edizioni Ensemb…

Reading Fellow Poets

I have spent the morning rereading two poetry chapbooks. There is so much to learn from one's peers. Andalucia by Lisa Marie Basile is such an exquisite book made of the same stuff as fire is made of. An incandescent gem that really makes me hold my breath at times: "To etch the entire Iberian Peninsula into my skin,/the bouganvillas, the little bloody tapas:/finger tips and femurs and cracked mirrors. To live/ on the seaside with gluttony and lust as lovers./To wear myself like a cloak with a human head and/ jaguar spine. To sail forever never finding land."  This chapbook is a marvelous journey in a foreign land and into the inner world of the poet. Lisa knows how to chisel words and have them convey pure emotion. I want to read more of her works, soon.

Paulina Spiechowicz was born in Krakov (Poland), but has lived and studied in Italy and now in Paris. She writes in Italian and has a great command of the language. Her writing is mesmerizing and dense. Her book Studi su…

The Poetry I Love

The poetry I love has to be potent. Words in poems need to resonate in my head and in my soul. Those very words need not to be adorned, but they have to be made of flesh and bone, of blood and marrow. Those words (and poems) only will be able to convey emotions in a way that make me feel them. The poetry I heartily dislike is the poetry that is fakely true: words woven with artifice, beautiful words put together with some sort of taste, but plainly soulless. Some days ago I was listening to a poet--who also happens to be the editor of a poetry magazine--reading some poems. And, I could not help thinking that she sounded so amazingly artificial. That is why I pretty much wrote a status line on FB that said: "Nobody read their poetry as if they were Anne Sexton, please and thank you!" One of my friends  remarked: "And please, nobody write their poetry as if they were Sylvia Plath." I cannot but agree: either you have a voice or you have not. I may not be the best poe…

Van Gogh's Chair

Art has inspired a lot of lines lately. Chagall, Caravaggio, Carrington are just a few painters on whose works I wrote some poems in the past few days. I woke up to Van Gogh's Chair this morning. I don't even know what inspired the thought, but I felt compelled to write a poem in its honor. I like the way objects can drive emotions. I like when I can breathe some life into them. I swear, I love the way my Muse incites me to write some days!

Leonora & I

Leonora and I have been busy "conversing" lately. Her self-Portrait has been "talking" to me. The more I look at it, the more secrets I discover about this rebel artist. It makes me want to live in that room. It makes me want to talk to the hyena as her mane flutters in the air. It makes me want to ride the rocking horse. It makes me want to wear her buttoned boots and sit on her blue Victorian chair. It makes me want to flee through the stage into the world out there. It makes me want to write about revolutions. Because Leonora Carrington was a revolutionary woman. And yes, you guessed right: this picture is inspiring a poem. And, it also welcomes you each time you pay a visit to my blog.

Chagall & Cominetti. When Art Inspires Words.

Marc Chagall has always been a favorite and, just until a few hours ago, despite being an art lover, I must confess that I had never heard of Divisionist painter Giuseppe Cominetti. I find hard to say why I felt so drawn to the latter's painting "I conquistatori del sole" (The Conquerors of the Sun) upon seeing it. I guess there is an incendiary touch to it that really works for me. Chagall's "The Revolution", which was in a way his Mona Lisa, a painting that he considered the quintessence of his work and that never left his home in Provence, inspires me in the same way. The main character, indeed Lenin, is a man torn between two worlds: the political and social commitment of the Revolution on one side and the free play of human imagination and art on the other. These two worlds merge in most of my poems. Time to go back to words!

                                         Marc Chagall, The Revolution  (1937)

                             Giuseppe Cominetti, I…

SoMa Blues in LEFT CURVE no. 36

I am incredibly grateful to Csaba Polony editor of LEFT CURVE for having included my poem "SoMA Blues" in the latest issue of his prestigious magazine. I wrote this poem during my 3 weeks stay in San Francisco in August 2010, at the time I met Jack Hirschman in Caffè Trieste. The poem was inspired by the homeless people in the area of South Market that I met as I was walking along Market Street one day. I was very touched by what my eyes witnessed.  Next April 29th at 5:00 pm there will be a celebration for the release of the magazine at City Lights Books, don't miss it of you are in town! You can read my poem here below.

Ringrazio infinitamente Csaba Polony per aver incluso la mia poesia "SoMa Blues" nella sua prestigiosa rivista LEFT CURVE. Ho scritto questa poesia a San Francisco durante la mia permanenza di 3 settimane nell'agosto 2010, all'epoca in cui conobbi Jack Hirschman a Caffè Trieste. Ad ispirare questa poesia sono stati i senzatetto della zon…

My translations of Jack Hirschman in THREE

I met Daniele Ferroni a little over a year ago in Bologna, where I had traveled in order to interview Jack for the biography I am writing. Daniele is a photographer and he has a small publishing house where he  produces poetry art books in limited number of copies. He is a generous soul and, knowing that I work as a translator, he pomptly involved me in his project THREE, a poetry art book with 3 poems by Jack. This masterpiece is now ready and I am so pleased to have received my copies just yesterday. The book is printed on special paper and it also contains 2 black & white pictures of Jack and 2 etchings made specifically for this work by artist Federico Guerri. A plexiglas case contains the book. I do feel thankful for my translations being part of such a beautiful art work!

Ho incontrato Daniele Ferroni circa un anno fa a Bologna, dove mi ero recata per intervistare Jack per la biografia che sto scrivendo. Daniele è un fotografo di origini romagnole che ha una piccola casa edi…

Guerrilla Blues Book Launch

I wish to thank my publisher, Edizioni Ensemble, and Matteo in particular, for having published my bilingual chapbook in just 3 months and for selecting the lovely Cantina Paradiso in Trastevere as the setting for the book launch of GUERRILLA BLUES on April 12. And, all my gratitude goes to Rome's Revolutionary Poets Brigadistas, Olga Campofreda, Marco Cinque, Ludovica Lanini and Angelo Zabaglio for presenting me and for reading and performing my poems so beautifully. A special thanks to my friend, actor Maximilian Nisi, for reading the poem "Consistency" so theatrically. A heartfelt thanks to everyone of you who took part and to all of you who bought the book. I hope you'll love it.

Desidero ringraziare il mio editore, Edizioni Ensemble, ed in modo particolare Matteo, per aver pubblicato il mio libro in soli 3 mesi e per aver scelto la deliziosa Cantina Paradiso  in quel di Trastevere per la presentazione di GUERRILLA BLUES, lo scorso 12 aprile. Tutta la mia gratitu…

April Is Not The Cruellest Month...given my Book Launch!

April is not the cruellest month. Indeed not. Especially if one is celebrating this month dedicated to poetry in so many poetical ways as the undersigned. I am currently busy putting together the final version of an Anthology of 10 poets known as Rome's Revolutionary Poets Brigade, editing, translating and making sure it will be ready by April 10th. I am so very grateful to John for all the help.

I am also occupied with the book launch of my book, Guerrilla Blues, next Thursday, April 12 at 6:30 pm, in a lovely and cosy place in Trastevere, Cantina Paradiso, just a few steps away from the  Church of San Francesco a Ripa, hosting a beautiful Ecstasy by Bernini. The Brigade poets will be reading my poems as well as my dear friend, Maximilian. How I wish all of my friends from all over the world could attend, not to mention John! The place would be crammed, but it would be truly wonderful.

Last but not least, I am writing a poem a day (at least) just to celebrate this month as it des…

Celebrating World Poetry Day

I do hope you are all celebrating World Poetry Day in a way or another. I sincerely wish everybody would at least read a poem today, buy a poetry book, write some lines, take part to a reading or visit a poet's tomb. I hear the panther roaring in Emily's glove summoning me to go back to work. I wrote 80 lines already today, it's a good start.

Guerrilla Blues is Here to Stay

The story behind my chapbook, Guerrilla Blues, that has just been released is kind of amusing. In a way, it starts with SF poet laureate Jack Hirschman giving a reading in writer Olga Campofreda's living room last May here in Rome. (I'd met Jack in SF the previous Summer in Caffé Trieste. It was a cathartic encounter. It changed me in so many ways). So, that night I met several roman poets/writers who read their poems there: Marco Cinque, Marco Lupo, Angelo Zabaglio aka Andrea Coffami, Roberto Mandracchia, Olga and more. It was a lively experience. But, at that time, I could hardly imagine what that evening would lead to.

In September, Jack was back in Rome for a few days on his way to Sarajevo for a poetry reading, as we, the poets who had met in May, were organizing a reading for the World Poetry Movement's planetary event "100,000 poets for Change". Jack wished to involve those of us who had read the former May in his second international Revolutionary Poets B…

The Title of my Chapbook?

Well, since it's going to be printed tomorrow, I think I may as well tell you its title. The cover is a marvelous photograph by my friend and fellow poet, Marco Cinque. I'll be happy to show it to you soon. Have a look at the pictures below. Yes, those two words are the title!

101th Poetry Submission in 364 days

I am so happy to report of having reached my first poetry and personal goal of the year. I have only started  submitting my poems last February 28, 2011 and today I have achieved the goal of submitting them to 101 different journals and anthologies. I am quite proud to report that, so far, I have had over 50 poems accepted as well as my good dose of rejections, naturally.

I have met wonderful Editors in the process, one in particular I am indeed more than grateful to for all the support and the positive feedback. Thank you, Cooper!

I have received lovely rejections too. The best is probably Beloit Poetry Journal's: " Dear Alessandra, we shall not be using your manuscript. Thank you, however, for giving us the opportunity to consider it. Thanks also especially for the Akhmatova poem. That image that leads to "Requiem" is among the most powerful in all twentieth-century poetry." WOW, I really loved this rejection!
I have sent out 314 poems in total and I still hav…

My First Poetry Chapbook

I am so happy to report that my first bilingual poetry chapbook will soon be published here in Italy. A series of fortunate events made it possible. Sometimes life surprises you in unexpected ways. I met the publisher last December only! I am even more lucky because poet Jack Hirschman loved the book and was happy to write its introduction. His words really made me cry out of joy. Last but not least, I will have a photograph by my friend and fellow poet Marco Cinque as the cover. What else could I ask for? Well, some readersIsuppose...

The title? I will divulge that soon!

Tolstoy's Muse

Here is my first published prose poem in 2012. Ms. Karenina makes it to TrainWrite. My thanks to Editor Karen Eileen Sikola.

Published Poems in 2011

I have been writing poetry since I was a teenager. One day I discovered Arthur Rimbaud and Dylan Thomas and I was hooked. The bad lad with the soles of wind has haunted me for a long time and still does. So does the Welsh Bard. But, over the years, many other poets have become part of my literary Pantheon. From all of them I have learnt a lot. To all of them I owe something. 
It took me way too long to decide to market my poems. The main reason being that I dare write them in English which is not my mother tongue. Here below you may find a list of published poems since end of February 2011. I am indeed thankful for all journals that have accepted my work and I am very grateful to all the editors who have been willing to spend their time providing me with precious feedback. 
But, I am also thankful to all journals who have rejected my work too. I have really learnt a lot from my rejections. Beloit Poetry Journal rejected one of my poems in a way that made me rejoice as if it had been acc…

No Words Required

After having seen Steve McCurry's exhibit today, I ended up realizing that even if words matter, no writing can convey emotion as a photograph does. Truly, I cannot describe the world I saw through his camera lens. I could attempt, but photography is untranslatable. Even the best writer cannot but bow to an art that can capture the world  with such vivid realism.

Rodchenko: When Photography Recalls Poetry

Spending the afternoon in contemplation of over 200 works by Alexsandr Rodchenko has been an amazing experience. I am so glad I had my pad and my pen with me. One must always carry one's writing weapons in the handbag. Mayakovsky's snapshots, in particular, were incredibly inspiring, capturing so well his tormented soul and piercing eyes. No wonder I wrote two new poems!