“When reading her poems, prose poems, narratives and personal essays, we are compelled to face up to the hypothesis that our true home is not, or not only, the here-and-now. And that our true form, or at least one of our true forms, is equally the previous one and the next one, both of which we can attempt to picture. This is why death, when it is invoked by Mancinelli, is not morbid, tragic, or dramatic. Non-being can be viewed as an “origin.” So can non-hereness and non-nowness, that is, our prior and future “non-presence” in time and space as we know them. Personally, and not just as the translator of her clearsighted and deep-probing prose and poetry, I would like to say that Mancinelli’s writings have helped me to open my own eyes to “the invisible” in a different way. Whatever intimidating darkness might have initially “inscribed” the words in her body, these texts often have a luminous and calming effect. “Staying close to the origin,” she observes in “The Invisible as the Facing Page,” “leaving room for the invisible as the facing page. Every time we hold a pen we must remember this ancient branch with which we wrote as children, when we were translating from the invisible (our own body, our presence, was a recent translation from the invisible).”
Fiction. Poetry. Essays. Translation.
John Taylor was born in Des Moines in 1952. He has lived in France since 1977. Among his many translations of French, Italian, and Modern Greek literature are books by Philippe Jaccottet, Jacques Dupin, José-Flore Tappy, Pierre Voélin, Pierre Chappuis, Pierre-Albert Jourdan, Catherine Colomb, Lorenzo Calogero, Alfredo de Palchi, Elias Petropoulos, and Elias Papadimitrakopoulos. For Black Square Editions, he has translated Jaccottet's PONGE, PASTURES, PRAIRIES (2021). He is the author of several volumes of short prose and poetry, most recently THE DARK BRIGHTNESS (Xenos Books, 2017), Grassy Stairways (The MadHat Press, 2017), REMEMBRANCE OF WATER & TWENTY-FIVE TREES (The Bitter Oleander Press, 2018), and a "double book" coauthored with the Swiss poet Pierre Chappuis, A Notebook of Clouds & A Notebook of Ridges (The Fortnightly Review Press, 2018). His first two books, The Presence of Things Past (Story Line Press, 1992) and Mysteries of the Body and the Mind (Story Line Press, 1998), were republished in new editions by Red Hen Press in 2020.
Franca Mancinelli was born in Fano, Italy, in 1981. She is widely considered to be one of the most compelling new poetic voices in Italian poetry. Her poems and prose poems have been translated into English by John Taylor and published at The Bitter Oleander Press: THE LITTLE BOOK OF PASSAGE (2018), AT AN HOURS' SLEEP FROM HERE (2019), as well as a volume gathering her prose narratives and personal essays, THE BUTTERFLY CEMETERY (2021). The Italian original of the present volume, Tutti gli occhi che ho aperto (Marcos y Marcos, 2020), has won two national prizes: the Europa in Versi Prize and the San Vito al Tagliamento Prize. With this translation, ALL THE EYES THAT I HAVE OPENED, nearly all of Mancinelli's writing to date has become available in English. Taylor and Mancinelli also carry on a dialogue about literary, philosophical, and spiritual issues: the first part was published in the special feature, on her writing, in the Autumn 2019 issue of the Bitter Oleander; a second part appeared online in Hopscotch Translation (July 2021); and a third part, which was originally broadcast on Trafika Europe Radio, was published in Eurolitkrant (April 2022). Mancinelli has been selected for the ongoing European poetry project "Versopolis," was the Chair Poet in Residence (Calcutta, India) in January-February 2019, and participated in the European program "Refest: Images and Words on Refugee Routes" in February 2018. Her writing is also featured in the project "Non solo muse: panorama della poesia italiana dal 1970 a oggi,"?coordinated by Adele Bardazzi and Roberto Binetti at the University of Oxford. Her work has been translated into fifteen languages.