Bilingual edition of post-war Italian writer Amelia Rosselli
La Libellula (The Dragonfly) is Amelia Rosselli’s acknowledged first major work and contains all the elements of her mature vision: trilingual wordplay, musicality, and political engagement. With its vertiginous propulsion and rotational structure, this single-long poem, a canto, hovers on the edge of the surreal, where meaning continually multiplies and then negates. The reader must engage her work as she instructs — intuitively. Her inventive refraction of Italian literary tradition sought a more authentic liberation, “in all the nation’s life, in all the dismal / boroughs, in all the putridous world, exists / just one me, exists just one you, — exists charity.” Now recognized as one of the most significant voices of post war Europe, her visceral writing challenges the constriction of language as not only a fascist legacy but also as a critique of the banality and materialism of reconstruction. Our bilingual edition includes an audio download of selections read in Italian and English by translator Deborah Woodard and actor Riccardo Pieri.
A trilingual writer who described herself as "a poet of exploration," Amelia Rosselli has only recently been recognized as one of the major European poets of the twentieth century. Born in Paris in 1930, she was the daughter of the martyred antifascist philosopher Carlo Rosselli and the British political activist Marion Cave. Raised in exile, in France, Switzerland, England, and the United States - in interviews, Rosselli remembers her years in the US with great fondness. She finally settled in Italy after the war, first in Florence and then in Rome. Except for a year she spent in London in the mid-seventies, Rosselli never left Rome, where she took her own life in 1996. The tragedy of her father's death and the loss of her mother when she was only nineteen were central to Rosselli, defining her in many different ways: from her "trilingual language" and cosmopolitan upbringing - though she thought of herself more as a refugee - to her political engagement and deep social consciousness. Rosselli was the author of seven collections of poetry (one, Sleep, in English), a translator of Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath, among others, and an accomplished musicologist and musician who played the violin, the piano, and the organ.
Deborah Woodard holds an MFA from the University of California, Irvine, and a PhD from the University of Washington. She is the author of Plato's Bad Horse (Bear Star Press, 2006), Borrowed Tales (Stockport Flats, 2012), and No Finis: Triangle Testimonies, 1911 (Ravenna Press, 2018). Her chapbook Hunter Mnemonics (hemel press, 2008) was illustrated by artist Heide Hinrichs. She has translated Amelia Rosselli with Giuseppe Leporace in The Dragonfly: A Selection of Poems: 1953 - 1981 (Chelsea Editions, 2009) and with Roberta Antognini in Hospital Series (New Directions, 2015) and Obtuse Diary (Entre Ríos Books, 2018). Woodard teaches at Hugo House in Seattle and co-curates the reading series Margin Shift.
Roberta Antognini is originally from Canton Ticino in Switzerland, where she currently resides, and has a Laurea in the history of Italian language from the Università Cattolica di Milano, Italy, and a PhD in Italian literature from New York University. She is Associate Professor Emerita of Italian Studies at Vassar College, where she taught for over twenty years, and a member of the Committee of the Fondazione Bassani. Her research interests lie in the Middle Ages, Renaissance and twentieth-century Italian literature, and literary translation. She is the author of a monograph on Petrarch's letters, Il progetto autobiografico delle Familiares di Petrarca (LED, 2008), and co-editor of the collection of essays Poscritto a Giorgio Bassani (LED, 2012). In collaboration with Deborah Woodard, she has translated into English Amelia Rosselli's collections Hospital Series (New Directions, 2015) and Obtuse Diary (Entre Ríos Books, 2018). After retiring she has continued to read and write and, above all, translate poetry. Presently she is co-translating with Deborah Woodard another collection by Amelia Rosselli, Documento (Document), and with Peter Robinson Giorgio Bassani's poems, In rima e senza (In Rhyme And Without) (Agincourt Press, forthcoming 2023).