Showing posts from 2016

In the End...

The end of the year is just a few hours away and I've spent the afternoon reading some poetry by Frank O'Hara. Some lines from his poem For the Chinese New Year and for Bill Berkson have somehow struck a chord. I am sharing them with you:


it is perhaps the period that ends
the problem as a proposition of days of days
just an attack to the feelings that stay
poised in the hurricane's center that
eye through which only camels can pass

but I do not mean that tenderness doesn't
linger like a Paris afternoon or a wart
something dumb or desplicable that I love
because it is silent [...]

My Poetry Year in Figures

Poetry and figures don't seem to get along too well, but they do on my record sheet. I have a file where I track my yearly submissions, as well as my acceptances and rejections. 2016 has been a slow year for me. Life and work have somehow hijacked my creativity, but I am particularly pleased with the few poems I have written, which are mostly prose poems.

This said, of the 85 poems that I have submitted, 15 have been accepted for publication. And, two of these poems will be included in 2 American anthologies.

I am also very pleased with my first all-Italian collection, A rima armata. It was indeed a pleasure to present it here in Rome together with Jack Hirschman and Agneta Falk Hirschman last June.

I still have to hear back from 2 literary journals about my 2016 submissions, but for the most part I am looking forward to 2017. I toast to more poetry and more words!

Paterson. A Movie About the Poetry of Small Things.

I was curious about Jim Jarmusch's recently released movie, Paterson. In the first place as it deals with a poet and poetry, and secondly because I truly loved his Only Lovers Left Alive, starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston.

Jarmusch's mood permeate his movies in a unique way. The atmosphere is always the real thing even in his Paterson. The movie deals with an apparently simple story, the life of a bus driver, whose name is Paterson just like the small NJ town where he lives. We follow him as he wakes up every week day, goes to work carrying his lunch box and a notepad in his jacket, where he pens his poems before starting his daily rides or, after dinner, as he walks his dog to the pub to drink his daily beer. Life is simple, filled with the poetry of small things such as a box of matches that inspires him to write a love poem.

In this small town Paterson and his wife, Laura, are clearly not the average people. Despite routine they both strive to pursue some form of ar…

Winter is Here to Stay

Solstice's Day. Winter is finally tapping at the door. The days are chillier, the air quite crisp. I bought a new notepad to celebrate the season and to remind myself I need to write more. Maybe the Yule's stag, the wild spirit of power and inspiration, will visit me. He is a gift giver and I secretly hope he will provide me with some of his lunar illumination. Colored scarves, hot cocoa and words. This is how I plan to celebrate the new season. Bring it on!

Prose Poetry. Writing about a 70s Girl.

This has been an interesting year for my writing. I haven't written many poems in terms of quantity, but I am totally pleased with the few pieces I have produced. Conciseness and a dry style seem to be the key of my latest work. I am also very happy of realizing that I can write quality prose poems (one I am very fond of has been accepted by Editor Susan Yount, to be published in a forthcoming issue of Arsenic Lobster) and that they work so well to channel my childhood memories. I am a 70s girl. Proudly borne on the barricades. The Years of Lead have shaped me. So glad I get a chance to talk about that period through my writing.

Michel Butor: Death of a Poet.

How sad to wake up to the news of Michel Butor's death, this morning. I read the news on my friend, Daniele Ferroni's Facebook feed. Daniele had a special relationship with the French novelist and poet, certainly one of the most iconic figures of the Nouveau Roman. The two have been good friends for almost fifteen years and Daniele produced exquisite publications of the master's work. He was also so generous as to ask me to translate some of Butor's poems. A demanding task in many ways, because Butor would use the French language in a down-to-earth way but filled with poetical genius that made me strive a lot. I so hope to have done justice to his words. May his path be forever graceful now, as was his life.

Poetry Will Save the World

A few days ago, John and I met Marco Cinque, my poetical brother, for lunch. Marco is not only an incredibly talented poet, he is an amazing photographer and musician. Jack Hirschman considers him Italy's best engaged poet and I thoroughly agree. I was so pleased to have him take pictures of John and me. Right in front of his office on a wall there is a message that says: "La poesia salverà il mondo" (i.e. Poetry Will Save the World). Marco insisted in taking a picture of us there, among others. I am in love with this photo. It tells so much. It means so much to me. I am posting that very picture and a few others Marco took on that day.

Of Poetry and Other Demons

I know I lost track of my poetry in the past few months. Sometimes life seems to get in the way and there is very little I can do to stop it from interfering with writing. Summer is always the best season for me to reconnect with myself and to fill my notebooks with a good amount of poems and words. John is a good creative force and so is love. No wonder this August has put me back on track. I have been writing, reading, editing and submitting with renewed vigor. And then there is this beautiful demon named love and its siblings life and art. My tricephalic Muse, for which I am truly grateful.

Jack & Aggie

I can hardly write about how wonderful it was to share two full days with Agneta and Jack Hirschman. They are a wonderful couple and I love their spirit. It was simply great to chat with them about poetry, literature, art, life. It was also a chance to learn more about Jack's life and hear quite a few anecdotes that will find their way into the biography I'm writing.

Hearing Jack talk of his trip to Europe in 1964-65 was priceless. The months he and his family spent in Paris, in a studio in Montparnasse, while he was researching Antonin Artaud for the Anthology that would be published by City Lights Books. Their trip to Rome by car and the "dolce vita" party they attended. The time spent on the island of Hydra, with friends such as Leonard Cohen. So much history, too: J.F. Kennedy's assassination, the Vietnam War. The years at City College and at UCLA. I had never heard of the gypsy wagon...and how Jack met Pablo Neruda!

Not to mention the reading at HulaHoop Clu…

Loaded Rhymes

My Italian poetry collection A rima armata (Loaded Rhymes) has just been published by Gilgamesh Edizioni and I will be presenting it here in Rome next June 10. I must honestly say that I am quite proud of the poems included in this collection. There are some strong poems in it. The focus is social and revolutionary. I am truly grateful to Andrea Garbin for having selected my work for publication. I am also glad of being part of a series alongside poets I am very fond of such as Alejandro Murguia and Beppe Costa. I was honestly terrified that the cover had to be my own portrait! But, I am glad Rachele Aragno, a lovely artist, did such a great job.

A book is like a son, I hope those of you who read Italian will hold a copy of my latest work in their hands and give it some love, soon!

How Punk Rock Emily Dickinson & I Will Celebrate National Poetry Month

It's now officially National Poetry Month and Punk Rock Emily Dickinson (courtesy of Wendy MacNaughton) and I have a lot of ideas in mind to celebrate Poetry in the upcoming 30 days. So we have compiled a list of poetical things we will be doing.

 1. Buy a brand new Moleskine. (I got myself a new one, with a black cover, this morning).
 2. Write a least a poem every day for the upcoming 30 days. (Must write my first, today).
 3. Read at least a poem every day in April.
 4. Read a new collection of poems by a poet I've not read yet.
 5. Buy a new chapbook (support small presses, please!). dancing girl press by Kristy Bowen has an amazing offer: 3 chapbooks for 10$. Other presses you should sponsor are Juliet Cook's Blood Pudding Press, Margaret Bashaar's Hyacinth Girl Press. Also, you could join the fundraising for the new Hysteria Anthology, edited by E. Kristin Anderson, which will be published  by Lucky Bastard Press next May.
 6. Buy a new collection (Make a poet a…

Angela Davis in Rome

Last Monday morning I had the privilege of attending a lecture by Angela Davis on "The Meaning of White Supremacy Today" at Rome's Tre University. The lecture theater was amazingly crowded and a standing ovation with raised fists greeted her arrival. Having written my dissertation on an Afro-American author,  I could not help being there. Davis is a legend in so many ways. The ongoing call she made for socialism, intersectional struggles, and global citizenship warmed my heart.
Somebody posted a few clips from her lecture on YouTube. Enjoy! 

My Favorite Thing is to Go Where I've Already Been.

I've always loved photography. As a kid, my dad taught me to use his manual camera and he was very good at explaining all the technical aspects of how it works, but I was never fascinated by the physics behind it. I didn't want to master the camera, I rather used it to capture fleeing moments. I consider myself an amateur, but I do enjoy taking pictures. I'm fascinated by light and color, by the poetry cocooned in a statue, a flower, a landscape. There are places I visit over and over again and they never tire me because they show me what I love most from different angles, colors, light. I guess I totally share Diane Arbus's though when she says: "A picture is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know."

Poetry is Not A Muscle.

Some claim poetry is a muscle that should be exercised on a daily basis. Some poets write every single day of their life. Even my poetry guru does. As much as I admire poets who can achieve this goal, I know it is something that does not work for me and it never will. Inspiration is the key to writing poetry for me. Something must turn me on. When that happens poetry flows and there is no stopping it.

Rejections come and go.

Sometimes I look at the amount of rejections I receive and wonder. Whenever I submit "weaker" poems, I expect rejections to start flowing in my inbox. But, if one of  my poems I consider among my best takes 25 rejections before it is accepted, I question many things. Perhaps I should stop questioning too much and move forward, which is what I plan to do.

Reaction to rejections from now are likely going to be:

1. Wear a new stripe of determination (as my beloved Queen Kate Laity suggests)
2. Submit the rejected poems to another journal within the following 24 hours
3. Stop asking myself why!