Saturday, 3 July 2010

Italian Poetry

The rest of my family's bilingual, and I really should be better than I am at Italian. I have some Italian poetry books, and sometimes have magazine subscriptions. I've now created a Letteratura Italiana page to give me more practise. Here are some random observations about the Italian poety scene

  • Italians are more into dialect poetry
  • Whereas we have Larkin, they have people like Montale
  • Their scene isn't so different from ours, of course, though I don't think they have anything corresponding to our "Poetry Society"
  • Some publisher or other often publishes a poetry annual with essays, poems, trends, etc. It's useful.
  • Some of their singer-songwriters are decent poets

Sometimes my familiarity with poetry means that I can cope with an Italian poem better than many Italians can, but much of the time I miss a lot even if I understand the vocabulary - allusions to Dante (there are many) are the least of my problems.

"La nuova poesia modernista italiana", just out, by Giorgio Linguaglossa looks at the last 30 years of Italian poetry, looking for trends and developments, finding only styles of stagnation. I've not read the book, but it's provoked online discussion, much of which sounds familiar. Here are some quotes by various people (my defective translations)

  • The new poetry retreads the unsolved contradictions of the late 1900s
  • The new poetry tries to problematize that which was unproblematized by the imitative, acritical culture of post-experimentism and minimalism. But it's a problematization that doesn't take account of the defeat of poetic language by the narrative/declarative language of global media
  • In poetry nowadays, objects remain mute. Accumulating or minimalising them won't help
  • There should be a poetry moratorium so that poetry, currently in a state of liquifaction, has time to condense into a truer objective correlative. I'd like all poets to abstain from indiscriminate use of the generic metaphorical language that's invaded our methods of communication - newspapers especially
  • I know poets who offer me favours in exchange for favours, the favour in my case being that I publish them. I don't feel scandalised by this because there doesn't exist a world of poetry separate from the poetry community. But what does irritate me is when the same poets lecture me on poetry morals ... Regarding Luigi Manzi's suggested moratorium on publishing modern poetry books, frankly I think many publishers (me included) would be in favour

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