Poetry. Literary Nonfiction. Translated from the Italian, and with a preface by John Taylor. Alfredo de Palchi, NIHIL. A profound book of poetry and prose in which the author imaginatively floats down the river of his youth, the Adige, describing scenes of beauty and horror, and commenting upon them. Each section of NIHIL leads to more remote reaches of human experience and understanding."Alfredo, dearest Lion! NIHIL offers superb reading and delightfully makes the reader lose his or her existential bearings. Page after page, I feel as if I am dangling from a kind of Judgment and never propped up by the earth. As if the earth, the river, the same memories that have constituted the earth, the same Time that has made up the earth, were your jungle, your realm, whereas we had been sentenced to the perspective of an endless suspended punishment. The prose parts, which especially reveal your poetic craft, create an apocalyptic impression in which gentleness—barred from the human race, which does not even establish its own kingdom—ultimately falls only to those unhappy animals that you embrace one by one. The victims."—Cristina Annino
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 (b. 1952) has translated many key French, Italian, and Modern Greek poets, including, for The Bitter Oleander Press, books by Jacques Dupin, José- Flore Tappy, and Pierre Voélin. He is the author of several volumes of short prose and poetry, including IF NIGHT IS FALLING and REMEMBRANCE OF WATER & TWENTY-FIVE TREES.