Poetry. Fiction. Translated by John Taylor. Alfredo de Palchi, in his 93rd year, has produced another stunning book after the cosmic obliteration of NIHIL (Xenos Books, 2017). As in that book, THE AESTHETICS OF EQUILIBRIUM leaps from a realistic setting into a fantastic panorama, this time revealed in sixty-four prose poems arranged in four sections. "The Fall" presents the author losing his balance, falling backward on the sidewalk, breaking his hip and feeling his "animal heart" and "porcine valves" respond to a life threat. "Destination Apocalypse" throws the reader back into the lush forests of Africa after the reptilian extinctions of the Jurassic, where mammals originate and a vicious herbivore-carnivore emerges. From primitive Ardipithecus to sophisticated Homo sapiens, prehistoric man passes in review, killing all the other creatures and raping the Earth. In "The Genesis of My Death," the story of this new species and his assault on feline forms splits the consciousness of the author into narrator and lion point of view. All themes, including medical and religious, converge in the last section, "The Anthropoid," which damns the anomaly for his pretense of divinity and his lust for blood.
Alfredo de Palchi (1926-2020) was one of the major Italian poets of the last century and the beginning of the present century. He was born in Legnano, near Verona. As a teenager in World War II Italy, he was grabbed by self- proclaimed authorities, charged with a murder and thrown into prison. There he was tortured, but refused to confess. A fellow prisoner told him about François Villon, and he scratched his first poem on the wall of his cell. He spent the years of 1945-1951 in prison. In 1955 the Court of Assizes in Venice cleared him of charges, and after sojourns in Paris and Barcelona he came to America. Continuing to publish in his native tongue in Italy, he published bilingual editions of his work in New York with deft English translations, first by Isidore Salomon, then by Sonia Raiziss, and lastly by John Taylor. More than any other person in America, he faithfully promoted Italian poetry and prose, both with the New York journal Chelsea, which he ran from 1960 to 2007, and with his non-profit publishing house Chelsea Editions, which remained active up to the time of his death in August from leukemia. His first poetry collection, Sessioni con l'analista [Sessions with My Analyst], appeared in 1967 with Mondadori and won immediate acclaim. In the United States, following Sessions, he published exclusively with Xenos Books: THE SCORPION'S DARK DANCE (1993), ANONYMOUS CONSTELLATION (1997), ADDICTIVE AVERSIONS (1999), NIHIL (2017), THE AESTHETICS OF EQUILIBRIUM (2019) and now TERMINAL EVENTS (2020). He issued his collected works in 2013 with Chelsea Editions under the title PARADIGM: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS 1947-2009. Author City: NEW YORK, NY USA
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.