“She was also reading writings of the Black Power movement; she was entirely tuned in to what was happening in the US. Her work is a part of American literary history, despite the fact that most people don’t know it.” My live conversation of November 2012 with Alessandro Cassin of the Primo Levi Center on […]
“La santità dei santi padri” (The Sanctity of the Holy Fathers): my essay published today at the Italian journal Alfabeta2 takes on the paradox and the recalcitrance of Amelia Rosselli’s place in literary history between a divided legacy of “holy fathers”: Pier Paolo Pasolini and the neo-avant-garde. Antonio Loreto’s recent study, “I Santi Padri di Amelia […]
That’s the name of my contribution to Boston Review’s forum on class and diction in contemporary poetry; it’s necessarily telegraphic, incomplete, and constrained in its terms, being pointed toward the necessity of response to Daniel Tiffany’s provocative “Cheap Signaling.” To sampling that debris. “I say [avec Glissant, Rosselli, & various others] that nothing is true […]
Is the message on the aqueduct that has become bench, carpet, stadium seat for these Romans. Thinking it in retrospect & somewhat belatedly true.
The Acqua Claudia, highest aqueduct of all, serving thus each quarter high and low of Rome, now backdrop straight out of Pasolini for the starring poppies & weekend runners of Cinecittà and Centocelle.
On the way to Santa Prassede, following the detour of buses, running into a truck whose emblem is a head inside a gear marked “San Precario” or “Saint Precarious”: A spirited, nearing joyous, parade against (re)becoming minds in flight: the demonstrations of precari, workers, researchers without security, enact their part of the “manifestazione continua” rising […]
The measured, fatigued ol Ez sez, syllables, as they’d say in Italian, to Pier Paolo Pasolini’s legible amusement & faint stupefaction: “Lei dice nazioni industrializzate e quindi culturalmente avanzate. È questo quindi che non mi va. Difficile per me rispondere a questa sola domanda perché non è solamente in Italia industrializzata dove ci sono nuovamente […]
53 million busted amphorae used to transport olive oil between Andalusia and Rome for the imperial populace to receive gratis, a kilo a day a head: hammered belly by belly to make a mountain of shards, or testae, dubbed Testaccio, 45 meters high. Abandoned, an eventual platform (1200-1400) for watching the Carnival of Rome then […]
To define xenoglossia (for the hoary Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry & Poetics): hovering in mind all week, the 12th-century Cupola of the Pentecost in St. Mark’s Basilica, abbagliante as the visual correlative of linguistic stupor, hemmed with coupled men and boys emanating from the holy spirit as silent murmurers of every language of earth at […]
From Hypersonnet, XI by Andrea Zanzotto, central section of Il Galateo in bosco or The Woodland Book of Manners: “a che e per chi di nota in nota illinguo/questo che non fu canto, eloquio, ciarla?” a stab at this canticle: “to what and for whom from illingual note to note/is this which wasn’t song, utterance, […]
As a cognitive construct, a field of play, distinction coming down to white on white on white in its more or less vulnerable shades, pinkening, even in the unforeseeable eyes that have arrived to you by paths most angularly destined, magnetic. As an architecture, carefully quartered crown of bloodlike sweet garden food, roof low enough […]