The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Italian Poetry: An Anthology Hardcover – Mar 27 2012
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“Geoffrey Brock, editor of the elegantly conceived FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Italian Poetry . . . does everything he can to force his readers to hear the translations he's assembled as English-language poems . . . The poems gathered in The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Italian Poetry are similarly adept performances in the English language . . . To read through the anthology, poet by poet, is to be struck immediately by the fact that over the last hundred years Italian poetry has not developed so much by successive generations . . . as within generations: everything seems to be happening at once . . . A few anthologies . . . are so thoughtfully conceived that the experience of reading them feels like the experience of reading an intricate novel; you don't want to skip anything, even if you know it well, because the pleasure lies in the buried narrative created by the anthologist's choices. The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Italian Poetry is such an anthology. Dip into it, if you like; look for a particular poet, listen for a particular translator. But for the most rewarding experience, read the whole book slowly, page by page.” ―James Longenbach, The Nation
“To edit an anthology of modern poetry in translation is no easy task: not only must individual poets and poems from a broad time period be selected, but the editor must also find available translations of enduring quality. Geoffrey Brock resourcefully resolves the challenge in part by doing his own translations of a significant number of poems, a job for which he meets the criteria set in his translator's note--‘translators must also be poets'--by being himself an accomplished translator and poet. He has also assembled an unusually varied group of translators who are themselves practicing poets, including already familiar names--Ezra Pound, Ted Hughes, W. S. Di Piero, and Jonathan Galassi--along with somewhat less familiar ones, such as Susan Stewart, Rina Ferrarelli, and Alan Williamson. Additionally, Brock invigorates the collection by presenting established poets like Pavese, Penna, and Pasolini alongside less-established poets like Alfredo de Palchi or virtually unknown ones like Saturno Montanari. The result is a book with a dazzlingly eclectic sweep, a collection with authoritative artistic breadth and an unusual tonal unity within individual poems . . . a rich anthology that will encourage rereading for years to come.” ―Rita Signorelli-Pappas, World Literature Today
“The rich harvest of modern Italian poetry includes the metaphysical . . . questing intellectualism . . . bittersweet odes . . . Also biting social commentary.” ―Benjamin Ivry, Newark Star-Ledger
“Even before it brought political revolutions, the twentieth century birthed literary revolutions throughout the West, if not, indeed, the world. The first and archetypal poetic movement, the Futurists, arose in Italy, reacting to the insufficient break with the past it descried in the work of two foremost poets, Giovanni Pascoli and Gabriele d'Annunzio, samplings of which begin this marvelous dual-language anthology. Representative Futurists' work follows, and then those of such other movements or groups as the worldweary Crepuscularists, the ‘difficult' Hermeticists, the linea lombarda poets, the Neorealists, the Neoavantgardists, and the Gruppa 63. Then, after 1968, editor Brock points out in the excellent introduction, there are no more movements, though at last women show up more than very occasionally in Italy's poetry and several poets elect to write in vanishing regional dialects. All along, poets who wrote outside the movements, including some of the very greatest--Umberto Saba, Dino Campana, Sandro Penna, Cesare Pavese--were also active. Appearing here in translations by Anglophone poets and translators of legendary status (Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, Samuel Beckett, James Merrill, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, William Weaver), they all seem brilliant, all quintessentially Italian in their resplendent gaiety, gusto, and, more often, haunting, umber somberness. This is the one big Italian poetry anthology for virtually all Anglophone libraries.” ―Ray Olson, Booklist
About the Author
Geoffrey Brock is the author of Weighing Light and the translator of numerous volumes from the Italian, including Cesare Pavese's Disaffections: Complete Poems 1930–1950. His awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the New York Public Library's Cullman Center. He teaches in the MFA Program in creative writing and translation at the University of Arkansas.