4/19/2015

Walking around Rome in the Footsteps of Poets

Sometimes I think I should write a poetical tour of Rome, and get it published. So many poets have fallen prey to the beauty of Rome over time and it would be nice to walk in their footsteps. Many foreign poets have left an indelible mark in our city and many Italian poets should be celebrated too. Let's check a few places.



Keats and Shelley's House This is the house where Keats lived his last months and where he died on February 23rd, 1821. You can visit the room where he died, and enjoy the many relics the museum holds. There are locks of hair of Keats, Shelley and Bryon, handwritten letters and poems (a fragment of "Lamia" that always brings tears to my eyes), funerary masks and one of the most beautiful views of the Spanish Steps. This place is steeped in history and walking in Keats's very footsteps is quite moving.


Keats and Shelley's House (1st building on the right)

The Non-Catholic Cemetery (or, Protestant Cemetery) Close to the only surviving Roman pyramid, it is the place to be if you love poetry and cats. It is a romantic place where one can pay a tribute to the tombs of Keats, Shelley (who drowned near Leghorn in Tuscany, but whose ashes are buried here), Beat poet Gregory Corso (who wanted to be buried close to Percy) and Italian poets Amelia Rosselli and Dario Bellezza. There is a beautiful lawn with wooden benches. It is a perfect spot to write.


Keats's tonm
Wilhelm Waiblinger's Window. Wilhelm Waiblinger (1804-1830) was a young German poet who died prematurely in Rome. He wrote a book on Friedrich Hölderlin's descent into folly. He had been a walking companion of the famous poet and gave a beautiful account of his last years. This book has not yet been translated into English. I hope someone decides to translate it soon. I often walk past his Roman home in Via del Mascherone, 62, or pay a visit to his tomb at the Non-Catholic Cemetery.

Waiblinger's House in Rome

Goethe's House in Via del Corso is a lovely place to visit. The great German writer and poet spent a long time in Italy and in Rome. His Roman home from 1876 to 1878 is well worth a visit. It often holds exhibitions and it is in the very heart of the city.

Goethe's House

The Baths of Caracalla provided a secluded retreat to P.B. Shelley while he lived in Rome. He wrote his Prometheus Unbound there as we can admire in this posthumous painting by Joseph Severn. In the portrait you may spot a mountain in the distance. It's the same mountain I can view from my very home.

Shelley writing at the Baths of Caracalla


There are many more "poetical" places to visit. Here is just a few. If you plan to come to Rome just let me know. I'll be glad to show you around!





4/01/2015

It's Poetry Month! Celebrate!

April is here to stay and you should really do something poetic this month whether you are a Poet or not. Here is a few ideas of how you might celebrate poetry for the coming 30 days:

 1. Read a poem a day
 2. Write a poem a day (if you need prompts, you may enjoy Kelli Agodon's here)
 3. Listen to poets read their poems (try YouTube, I am suggesting one I love here)
 4. Watch a movie or docu-movie about a poet (Bright Star, Sylvia, etc. My suggestion here)
 5. Attend a reading
 6. Take part in a reading
 7. Record some poems to send to your family or friends
 8. Buy a poetry collection, or more (choose indie bookstores whenever you can!)
 9. Take poetry to work (delight your colleagues!)
10. Buy some chalk and write your lines in the streets (be a street poet!)
11. Leave some poems in a cafe for others to read
12. Buy a poetry journal
13. Suscribe to a poetry journal
14. Write a letter or an e-mail to a poet you know to let her/him know why you love her/him work so much
15. Choose a poet from a foreign country and read his/her poems in translation (be a global poet!)
16. Send a poem to a friend
17. Visit the house of a poet
18. Visit the tomb of a poet
19. Buy a poetry chapbook, or more (show your love to indie press!)
20. Read the biography of a poet
21. Write a collaborative poem
22. Submit your poems
23. Support a poet
24. Meet with other poets this month
25. Have a lunch or dinner with a poet
26. Have a drink with a poet
27. Buy a poetry Anthology
28. Read a poem in a foreign language
29. Translate a poem in your mother tongue
30. Send one of your poetry books to a friend
31. Be the poet you have always wanted to be!

Happy National Poetry Month!