So 2013 is almost over and, despite the numerous and some also flattering rejections, I am content with my poetic achievements this year.
In the first place I wish to thank Kristy Bowen of Dancing Girl Pressfor accepting my chapbook Diagnosis for publication next year.
I also wish to thank the following editors and journals for having hosted my work this year:
Dorothy Circus Gallery is one of my favorite places in Rome. I regularly pay visit to it to admire the amazing artists hosted there. No artist yet has left such a lasting impression in my soul as Clémentine de Chabaneix. Not even Nicoletta Ceccoli, whose work I truly love. The sculptures of de Chabeneix's Silent Circus are inspiring me. I am writing new poems. I am posting some pictures here so that you may too fall prey to her beautiful creatures' charm.
I have had a few very productive days and I am quite happy with the two latest poems I have written. I am always fascinated by how my imagination works. I often read something that touches me which becomes a trigger for words. It happened with two articles that I have read just a few days ago. The former focusses on a dream Roberto Bolaño had at the time he was imprisoned in 1973. A curious dream. In my poem the dream turns into an object. A real object belonging to Bolaño that lead me on an unexpected journey. The latter deals with a disputed work by Jackson Pollock. The poem I wrote is a love ride that reminds me of one of J.G. Ballard's novels.
I love it when poetry rules!
I have spent a few days at Laugharne's Boathouse lately. No, I haven't been there in person. I have only allowed myself to surf online and read more about a place that was so significant to one of the poets I love most. Thomas spent there his last few years before dying in NY after having gotten roaring drunk at the White Horse tavern. His writing shed was perhaps the place I concentrated most on. A place I would so love to visit sooner or later. Needless to say that all this fueled my imagination and that I ended writing a poem.
Dylan Thomas has also made it into the biography I am writing. It's all about how the Poet met the Überpoet. But this is a whole diffferent story!
Two gems. Patti Smith reading Federico García Lorca's "Little Viennese Waltz" at the Bowery Ballroom in NY last June 5th, on Lorca's very birthday. Follows Leonard Cohen's splendid rendition of Lorca's poem, "Take This Waltz."
I have just realized that I will never be able to write a poem to please a specific magazine's aesthetics. Whenever I write I am deeply moved by my inner inspiration and by the subject of my work. A poem has to please me first. It's all a matter of intellectual integrity, I guess.
I am slowly learning that writing is not something solely inspired by the Muse at a given moment. I have recently discovered that a special setting or simply the wish to write often triggers my imagination. I'll probably not write 75 lines per day, but I have come to a point where I realize I can push the Muse to do what I please. It is hard work, but it is also extremely rewarding.
A few days ago, while John and I were on vacation, I decided we had to go back to Pennabilli, a lovely town in the Romagna area where we had spent a lovely afternoon the week earlier, and write right close to the place where the ashes of Tonino Guerra, poet and screenplay writer, rest. It is a spectacularly beautiful place. In his garden, overlooking one of the most beautiful valleys I have ever seen, I wrote 10 poems in a little more than an hour. That place was totally inspiring.
In the past two days I wrote 8 poems and edited one. This made me realize that I can possibly write every day. Even perhap…
Just wrote a poem that is imbued with my feelings at the screening of the video Les Goddesses by artist Moyra Davey at the Empire State. Art in NY exhibit at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni here in Rome. A poem inspired by Mary Wollstonecraft, laudanum, illness of the soul, the Shelleys and freeze-frames. So much going on. Something truly inspiring.
June has been a month full of pleasant surprises. More than I could have predicted. A month in which I have started writing and submitting poetry again with new enthusiasm.
And then, HEARTFIRE, Second Revolutionary Poets Brigade Anthology edited by Jack Hirschman and Agneta Falk has reached Rome in a box full of contributor's copies. It is a joy to have one's poems in there and it is a greater joy to have had the chance to translate into English so many wonderful Italian poets. The book is a thing of Beauty. If anyone happens to be in San Francisco next July 7th, please don't miss the chance to celebrate the launch party of the book at The Emerald Tablet. Many wonderful poets will be there. Go, listen to them recite revolutionary poetry and get youreslf a copy of the book. It will be a very lively event. No doubt!
June 11th is a date I will never forget. Patti Smith was in Rome for the presentation of the Italian translation of her Woolgathering. It was great to meet her, …
It seems I have finally learnt to be utterly content with my "in busy mode" nature. Given my life, I know some things I can change and others I cannot, nor probably wish to. And so, happily busy I am. After a particularly apathic period, I am definitely brushing up my poetical character. I am back to writing poetry and, above all, I am back to submitting poetry. I have dealt with a ridiculous number of rejections lately, but I have also aimed higher and so I was kind of expecting it. It hurts all the time but, I swear, there is nothing like a rejection to keep me alive and flaring up. The occasional wtf and life moves forward.
This said, I have spent the last few months busy with the bio's research, writing and getting in touch with more poets and friends of my poetical guru. It is a very, very engaging and yet beautiful experience. Not to mention enriching. I have also been translating 13 American poets for Patria Letteratura, an Italian online journal I am very glad to…
So April is Poetry Month and though it is now coming to a close I think I celebrated in the best way, so far. I have attended Patti Smith's The Poet Speaks, her Tribute to Ginsberg's poetry. I have even managed to hand her--via her daughter Jesse--a copy of my chapbook Nocturne (PulcinoEdizioni 2013) that is dedicated to her. Not to mention the surreal and almost poetic conversation after she left the stage door. I have heard Patti play the best version live ever of "Beneath the Southern Cross" and I have heard her talk about poetry like only a poet can do. Her advice was superb. I have written a few poems I am quite proud of. Long live Poetry! Long Live Patti!
Tina Modotti's exhibit at the Auditorium could not have been a more poetic event, given the poem by Pablo Neruda decorating a wall of the hall and dedicated to the famous revolutionary photographer and written upon her (still mysterious) death in 1942. Tina did not want to be considered an artist but just a photographer and yet, her stills are so much more than photographs. Her black and white works are imbued with life, work, poverty, politics and truth. Vivid, raw and extraordinarily beautiful. A passionate civil canto in pictures, full of her fire and her brave heart.
If not, you should! How? I have many ideas, so I'll gladly share some with you. Make this day special, since it is Poetry we are talking about!
1. READ POETRY. This is fairly easy. Grab a book and breathe poetry.
2. WRITE POETRY. Everyone is a poet, so do it!
3. BUY POETRY. Make yourself a present or buy a poetry book for a friend or a relative.
4.SHARE POETRY. Post poems or poetry quotes on social networks a/o hand poetry quotes at work!
5. LISTEN TO POETRY. Surf YouTube and enjoy listening to some poetry.
6. COLLABORATE WITH OTHER POETS. Organize an improvised reading or write something together.
7. PROMOTE A POET. Yes, please! Promote a poet you love.
8.DO SOMETHING POETIC. Enjoy the sunset. Take a walk in a wood or in the countryside. Love!
9. CHOOSE A LINE and make it your motto.
10. SEND ME A POEM. Your own or someone else's. I'll truly appreciate it!
It looks like writing sometimes fails me. I have tried to write a good amount of words on the WIP, today, but it didn't work as I wanted. Yet, this morning, out of the blue, I wrote a poem inspired by Federico García Lorca's murder. Images and words blended together in less than 2 minutes. I incorporated three of Lorca's lines in it, too. It amazes me how he had predicted his own death and that his body would be buried in a mass grave. The prescience of poetry? Or, the darkness of duende?
Then I realized I had been murdered...They never found me?No. They never found me.
I was not familiar with this picture of Patti Smith by Lynn Goldsmith. I truly love it. She is the perfect guerrilla girl in it. In Nocturne, my most recent published poem--and chapbook--that I dedicated to Patti, I compare her to Joan of Arc. Well, it looks like Lynn and I share the same point of view. Gotta love any woman & poet warrior!
Reading about Gregory Corso's stay in Rome a yesterday put me on a disposition for writing a poem having him as the lead character. I found the suitable backdrop in Trastevere by night and also found a perfect soundtrack in Weber's opera Der Freischütz (The Marksman). I wrote two stanzas in one go just a few minutes ago. I love whenever it happens. The Muse speaks to me and I go with the flow!
Had lunch with the most poetical engaged Brigade you can think of! Rome's Revolutionary Poets Brigadistas Marco, Olga, Ludovica, Edoardo and myself met and discussed the new Anthology project. The anthology has a theme--specifically work--and we have now collected the poems which will be included in the book. Discussed topics were: who will write the introduction (we have a couple of worthy names in mind) and publishers to get in touch with. As always, it seems we always have a great, positive approach. Love that! Love working with such an amazing and enthusiastic group of poets!
"Why do you translate poetry?" someone asked me lately. Simple. Because I am a masochist and I cannot help it! Translating is my job, but translating poetry has become a beautiful habit too in the past couple of years.
The result may not be perfect, but I always strive to say "almost the same thing," as Umberto Eco suggests. I have been lucky enough to translate poets such as Jack Hirschman or Michel Butor that have been published or exhibited. And, I am now collaborating with an Italian online review, Patria Letteratura, that is giving me the opportunity of translating poems I love by poets I either know or have been in contact with for reason of the biography I am writing or, simply, by poets I admire.
Only once I decided to give up translating a poem. It is a long poem written with a Joyce-like language and the continuous puns and wordplay make it impossible to render into Italian. You either lose the puns or the meaning of the words in the process. Every time …
Yes, meeting poets has become the order of the day it seems. I am really thankful because writing the bio is giving me a great opportunity I would never have had otherwise. Getting in touch with poets who have met "the Poet" way back then in the Fifties, Sixties, Seventies etc. is truly fascinating. Not only have I become a "research fiend" as John calls me, but I am also having the chance to connect with wonderful people and artists who are very eager to help me. And, I am friending some of them, too. Which is a beautiful thing. I am particularly grateful for having met and friended one of the "Baby Beats" who met Jack in SF in the Seventies. He has sent me so much material and so much information, it is almost unbelievable. His house in the mountains of North Carolina is not a mere archive, but a true arsenal of Jack's poetry and memories.