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!


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