Synopses & Reviews
To Forget Venice is the improbable challenge and the title of Peg Boyerss newest collection of poems. The site of several unforgettable years of her adolescence, the place she has returned to more frequently than any other, the city of Venice is both adored and reviled by the speakers in this varied and unconventionally polyphonic work. The voices we hear in these poems belong not only to characters like the mother of Tadzio (think Death in Venice), or the companion of Vladimir Ilych Lenin, or the Victorian prophet John Ruskin and his wife, Effie, but also to wall moss, and sand, andmost especiallyan authorial speaker who in 1965, at age thirteen, landed in Venice and never quite recovered from the formative experiences that shaped her there. Ranging over several stages of a life that features adolescent heartbreak and betrayal, marriage and children, friendship and loss, the book insistently addresses the authors desire to get to the bottom of her obsession with a place that has imprinted itself so profoundly on her consciousness.
The poems in Peg Boyers's Hard Bread are "spoken" in the imagined voice of the Italian writer, Natalia Ginzburg (1916-91). While much of the book is based on Ginzburg's life—her upbringing in Turin; her brief marriage to the resistance activist, Leone Ginzburg; her experience of Fascism and war; her work as novelist, playwright, editor, and newspaper columnist; her embattled friendships with writers like Primo Levi, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Ernest Hemingway, and Cesare Pavese—much is invented. The result is a book by turns melancholy and acerbic, mournful and satiric, contemplative and combative.
About the Author
Peg Boyers is a lecturer in the English Department at Skidmore College and the executive editor of Salmagundi. She is also on the poetry faculty of the New York State Summer Writers Institute.
Table of Contents
Scirocco: Otello in Venice
The Ruskins in Venice
1. John Ruskin Confronts the Female Nude (April 10, 1847)
2. Effie Gray Ruskin Writes to Her Mother on Christmas Eve, 1850
Titians Magdalena Speaks from Lazzaretto Nuovo, 1576
To Lenin from Venice
Rooftop: Aerial View
Canzoncino: Air for My Father
Ambition of Sand
At the Guggenheim Museum, Venice
Callas in Venice
What I Meant To Say: In Memory of Michael Mazur, 193529
Dream of the Chalice
The Jewish Cemetery, Lido
Brodsky at San Michele, 1996
To Forget Venice