Synopses & Reviews
The Beach (La Spiaggia)
Theyve all gone away —
the voice was blathering down the receiver
Then, knowingly: — Theyll not return —.
on this stretch of beach never visited before
those sunlight patches . . . Signals
of theirs, who hadn't left at all?
And when you turn theyre quiet, as if nothing.
Whats being wasted from day to day
is not the dead, but its those
patches of the nonexistent, lime or ashes
ready to become light and movement.
be in doubt, — the seas strength assails me —
speak they will.
Viewed as one of the most important Italian poets of the last century, Vittorio Sereni (1913-83) wrote with a historical sweep unlike that of any of his contemporaries. A poet of both personal and political responsibility, he wrote of life under fascism, military defeat and imprisonment, the Italian economic miracle and cold war in Europe, and the resurgence of extreme right-wing politics, as well as the roles played by love and friendship in the survival of humanity. An equally esteemed prose writer, his pieces on the contradictions of war and the complex purpose of poetry and the arts in society are seminal contributions to Italian literature.
The first substantial translation of Serenis work published anywhere in the world, The Selected Poetry and Prose of Vittorio Sereni is a unique guide to this classic twentieth-century poet. This bilingual edition collects the most representative poems from Serenis oeuvre, as well as a selection of prose works that extends the themes of his poetry. The book also contains examples of Serenis short fiction, published here in English for the first time. With a full chronology, commentary, bibliography, and learned introduction by distinguished British poet and scholar Peter Robinson, The Selected Poetry and Prose of Vittorio Sereni is the only authorized rendering of Serenis verse in English.
"Translations of [Sereni] have tended to be sporadic and difficult to come by. The University of Chicago Press has now produced lavish hardback anthologies...with generous portions, in English and Italian, of all of the many collections of verse, plus (in English only) selections from their prose writings.... Sereniand#160;deserve[s] to beand#160;much better known outsideand#160;Italy...the translations are always serviceable and at times of high quality."
"Perryman and Robinsons scholarly edition, which has been twenty-five years in the making, includes an introduction (from Robinson), chronology, illustrations, copious notes and a bibliography, all beautifully packaged by Chicago Press at a snip. Both texts offer faithful translations down to punctuation and line breaks, but they never falter as poems, with the same restrained and careful diction found in Robinsons own poetry....Perryman and Robinson have done us a great service in making such a rich selection of Vittorio Serenis work available to the English speaking public."
"For the first time in English, we have an authorised translation which gives due consideration to his corpus, selecting from among his four collections the most representative poems and from his prose those pieces which extend the poetry's themes and concerns. Together, they present a complex portrait, reflective of the poet's search for a way of being in the world, a mode of existence and of writing which would be an appropriate response to the weight of a personal experience intertwined with that of his country and Europe in the twentieth century. "and#8212;Maria-Daniella Dick, PN Review
"Translations of [Sereni] have tended to be sporadic and difficult to come by. The University of Chicago Press has now produced lavish hardback anthologies...with generous portions, in English and Italian, of all of the manin collections of verse, plus (in English only) selections from their prose wiritings.... Sereni deserve[s] to be much better known outside Italy...the translations are always serviceable at at times of high quality."-Peter Hainsworth, Times literary Supplement (Peter Hainsworth, Times Literary Supplement, Jan 4 2008 )
"Many excellent Italian poets of the 20th century are less well known to English-speaking readers than they should be, and Sereni has long been one of the most egregious cases of undeserved neglect. This beautifully produced bilingual edition of his poems and prose should do much to correct this long standing critical oversight. Robinson and Perryman are experienced translators of Italian poetry, and they worked closely with Sereni and his heirs over many years to produce renderings of his work that do justice to its emotional subtlety and finely discriminated linguistic coloration....A sensitive introduction by Robinson (himself a poet), a chronology of Sereni's life, thorough annotation of texts, and a comprehensive bibliography complete the volume, which will be a boon to those interested in Italian and comparative literature and modern poetry. Highly recommended."
"[Sereni] is an extraordinary evoker of both on-the-spot experience and the enduring presence of the past in memory. His stature as a major European war poet should grow rapidly with this volume. . . . Perryman and Robinson translate closely and accurately, and this monumental bilingual edition will be invaluable to students of Sereni."
“Pasolini is known as a filmmaker and political rebel, and for his tragic death, yet he was first and most importantly a poet. Sartarellis brilliant translations have at last made his searingly beautiful poetry available to English-language readers.”
“Sartarellis impeccable and inspired translations will be of incommensurable value to all students of Pasolinis oeuvre. This new English edition of Pasolinis poems is the most comprehensive and the most accurate version available in the Anglo-American world. Although Pasolini saw himself primarily as a poet, outside Italy his vast poetic production has not received the critical attention it certainly deserves. Sartarellis generous selection and his sincere dedication will enhance our understanding of one of the major European artists of the twentieth century.”
“The remarkable range of Pasolinis poetic achievements, which in myriad ways underpin his renowned work in cinema and fiction, is brilliantly represented in Sartarellis impressive bilingual edition. His translations convincingly convey Pasolinis densely woven, allusive poems, their musicality, passion, and lyricism. The touch of Sartarellis confident, sensitive hand, of a poet who is also a scholar, has brought a most welcome new edition of one of the most important literary and cultural figures of the twentieth century.”
"An accused blasphemer deeply devoted to Franciscan Catholicism, a Gramscian communist permanently expelled from the party, an avowed homosexual dedicated to the consensual sexual freedom of everyone, a champion of the local on a global scale, a neorealist of the imagination, and a radically innovative poet alienated from the existing practices of the avant-garde: Pasolini is not so much a figure of contradictions as he is a force against the incoherence hiding in every hypocrisy."
"This substantial bilingual edition of 76 poems, most drawn from seven major collections published in Italian between 1954 and 1971 and including some that appeared posthumously in 2003, is a welcome step toward redressing the damaging imbalance in the image of Pasolini conventionally offered to readers of English. Sartarelli's intelligent, stylish translations are accompanied by copious and helpful notes, a bibliography and filmography, and a spirited and very useful introduction. Wide-ranging, authoritative, and handsomely produced, Sartarelli's volume establishes itself immediately as by far the best selection of Pasolini's poetry available in English; its publication is a landmark in Pasolini studies. . . .
One of the most important Italian poets of the last century, Vittorio Sereni (1913andndash;83) wrote with a historical awareness unlike that of any of his contemporaries. A poet of both personal and political responsibility, his work sensitively explores life and#160;and#160;under fascism, military defeat and imprisonment, and the resurgence of extreme right-wing politics, as well as the roles played by love and friendship in the survival of humanity.The first substantial translation of Sereniandrsquo;s oeuvre published anywhere in the world, The Selected Poetry and Prose of Vittorio Sereni
is a unique guide to this twentieth-century poet. A bilingual edition, reissued in paperback for the poetandrsquo;s centenary, it collects Sereniandrsquo;s poems, criticism, and short fiction with a full chronology, commentary, bibliography, and learned introduction by British poet and scholar Peter Robinson.
Most people outside Italy know Pier Paolo Pasolini for his films, many of which began as literary worksArabian Nights
, The Gospel According to Matthew
, The Decameron
, and The Canterbury Tales
among them. What most people are not aware of is that he was primarily a poet, publishing nineteen books of poems during his lifetime, as well as a visual artist, novelist, playwright, and journalist. Half a dozen of these books have been excerpted and published in English over the years, but even if one were to read all of those, the wide range of poetic styles and subjects that occupied Pasolini during his lifetime would still elude the English-language reader.
For the first time, Anglophones will now be able to discover the many facets of this singular poet. Avoiding the tactics of the slim, idiosyncratic, and aesthetically or politically motivated volumes currently available in English, Stephen Sartarelli has chosen poems from every period of Pasolinis poetic oeuvre. In doing so, he gives English-language readers a more complete picture of the poet, whose verse ranged from short lyrics to longer poems and extended sequences, and whose themes ran not only to the moral, spiritual, and social spheres but also to the aesthetic and sexual, for which he is most known in the United States today. This volume shows how central poetry was to Pasolini, no matter what else he was doing in his creative life, and how poetry informed all of his work from the visual arts to his political essays to his films. Pier Paolo Pasolini was a poet of the cinema,” as James Ivory says in the books foreword, who left a trove of words on paper that can live on as the fast-deteriorating images he created on celluloid cannot.”
This generous selection of poems will be welcomed by poetry lovers and film buffs alike and will be an event in American letters.
About the Author
Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-75) was an Italian film director, writer, and intellectual.Stephen Sartarelli has translated widely from French and Italian, most recently works by Andrea Camilleri and Gabriele D'Annunzio. His translations have won numerous prizes, including the Raiziss-De Palchi Award of the Academy of American Poets for Songbook: Selected Poems of Umberto Saba and the John Florio Award of the UK Society of Authors for Prince of the Clouds by Gianni Riotta.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Pier Paolo Pasolini: A Life in Poetry
A Note on the Texts
I. Da La meglio gioventù (1954)
From The Best of Youth (The Friulian Poems)
Il nini muàrt / Dead Boy
David / David
Tornant al Paìs / Returning to the Village
Ciant da li Ciampanis / Song of the Bells
La domènia uliva / Olive Sunday
Dansa di Narcìs / Narcissus Dancing
Pastorela di Narcìs / Narcissus Pastourelle
Il dì de la me muàrt / The Day of My Death
Laris / Thieves
Conzèit / Envoi
II. Da Lusignolo della Chiesa Cattolica (1958)
From The Nightingale of the Catholic Church
Le Albe / Dawns
La Passione / The Passion
In Memoriam / In Memoriam
Litania / Litany
Lingua / Language
Un Cristo / A Christ
Memorie / Memories
Lex-vita / My Former Life
Ballata del delirio / Delirium Ballad
La scoperta di Marx / Discovering Marx
Poesiole notturne / Little Night Poems
III. Da IDiari (1950)
From The Diaries
Adulto? Maimai, come lesistenza” /Adult? Never, neverlike life itself”
Sarebbe così facile svelare”/It would be so easy to unveil”
Pieno di confidenza e di tepore”/Full of intimacy and warmth”
Chiusa la festa su una Roma sorda”/At holidays end, in a Rome deaf”
La piogga ha verniciato la terra”/Rain has varnished the earth”
Se qualcuno mi chiede” /Should anyone ask me”
Interrotto nel momento più limpido”/Interrupted at the clearest of moments”
Come in uno spasimo del pensiero” /As in a spasm of thought”
Correvo nel crepuscolo fangoso” / I was running in the muddy twilight”
IV. Da Le ceneri di Gramsci (1957) / From Gramscis Ashes
LAppennino / The Apennines
Le ceneri di Gramsci / Gramscis Ashes
Il pianto della scavatrice / The Cry of the Excavator
V. Da La Religione del mio tempo (1961) / From The Religion of My Time
La Ricchezza / Riches
Da La Religione del mio tempo / From The Religion of My Time
Appendice alla Religione”: Una luce / Appendix to The Religion of My Time”: A Light
Al principe / To the Prince
A Bertolucci / To Bertolucci
Alla mia nazione / To My Country
Frammento alla morte / To Death: A Fragment
La Rabbia / Rage
VI. Da Poesia in forma di rosa (1964) / From Poem in the Shape of a Rose
Da Poesie mondane” / from Worldly Poems”
23 aprile 1962/ April 23, 1962
25 aprile 1962 / April 25, 1962
10 giugno 1962 /June 10, 1962
12 giugno 1962 /June 12, 1962
Supplica a mia madre / Plea to My Mother
La persecuzione / Persecution
Una disperata vitalità / A Desperate Vitality
Marilyn / Marilyn
Profezia / Prophecy
VII. Da Trasumanar e organizzar (1971) / From Transhumanize and Organize
Richiesta di lavoro / Job Request
Preghiera su commissione / Commissioned Prayer
Uno dei tanti epiloghi / One of Many Epilogues
Canto civile / Civic Song
La strada delle puttane / The Whores Road
Versi del testamento / Lines from the Testament
La poesia della tradizione / The Poetry of Tradition
Atene / Athens
Timor di me? / Timor di me?
La presenza / Presence
Ossessione soteriologica / Soteriological Obsession
Appunto / Note
Gli ultimi sogni prima di morire / Last Dreams Before Dying
Introduzione / Introduction
Materiali per lIntroduzione / Materials for the Introduction
Altri materiali, c.s. / Other Materials (as above)
Il giardino dei pesci / The Garden of Fish
VIII. Last Poems
Da Lhobby del sonetto” / From The Sonnet Hobby”
 Qual è lidea felice che mi risveglia?”/
What happy thought wakes me today?”
 Perché mi fermi, a unora in cui ci si incontra” /
Why do you stop me, when by sad coincidence”
 Ascoltate, Signore, questa storia estiva.” /
Listen, Lord, to this summer story.”
 Non cera Ninetto, quando guardavo”
Ninetto wasnt there, when as a good”
 Volevo semplicemente dire”/ I wanted simply to say”
 Erano quasi le due di notteil vento” /
It was almost two in the morningthe wind”
 Cera nel mondonessuno lo sapeva”/
There was, in the worldthough nobody knew it ”
Castalia / Castalia
Saluto e augurio / Goodbye and Best Wishes
Selected Bibliography and Filmography
Index of Titles and First Lines