A vital reconstruction of Italian Futurist poet Ardengo Soffici’s visual poetics, presented for the first time in English in Olivia E. Sears’s exacting translations.
With a foreword by Marjorie Perloff.
With unexpected lyricism, buzzing between the entropic and the erotic, Soffici’s unrelenting poems manifest his milieu’s fascination with the metropolis. Guillaume Apollinaire called it “very important work, rich in fresh beauties.” This facsimile-style edition—with a foreword by Marjorie Perloff, helpful annotations, and an informative afterword by the translator—offers a glimpse into the vibrant early avant-garde, when modernity held tremendous promise.
Poetry. Translation. Italian Studies.
“A very important work, rich in fresh beauties.” — Guillaume Apollinaire
“Sears’s translation is superb. It is exciting to meet a new writer, so wonderfully introduced to us by Marjorie Perloff’s excellent preface. Brava!” — Mary Ann Caws, editor of the Yale Anthology of Twentieth-Century French Poetry
“Ardengo Soffici’s Franco-Italian Futurist poetry will leave you shaken and stirred like that first martini of the afternoon. And Olivia Sears’s translation will make you see stars (as Soffici hits you upside the head) as well as heart-breaking wonders in the streets of Paris, Florence, and Rome: ‘Delight electric breath molecules expanding with the air along the geometry of open houses.’” — James Brook, translator of A Blaze in a Desert: Selected Poems by Victor Serge
“Bonus points to Sears and the editorial and design crew at World Poetry Books for recreating the fonts used by Soffici, which are especially crucial to this part of the book, and which Soffici threw himself into with gusto.” — Tom Bowden, Book and Beat The Backroom
“These are poems from the ‘modern’ world—one now as vanished and remote as the Baroque and Classical realms had been for the Futurists. The excitement over electricity—still novel in its infiltration of urban life—radio, cinema, automobiles and cigarettes—is palpable. With their unruly combinations of display and text fonts, these graphic poems are the quintessence of Futurist chaotic energy. This splendid typo-translation does not just preserve their impact, it revives their verve and vitality.” — Johanna Drucker, ABCs
"This new translation gives readers of English a collection that pullulates with a Futurist poet’s literary sensitivities and refulgent poetical descants, ones often more sophisticated than those for which Futurismo is commonly known."
—Albe Harlow, The Hopkins Review
Intro & Translations @ HyperallergicTranslation and Audio Recording @ Kenyon ReviewMicro-Conversation about Soffici with the translator @ Kenyon ReviewExcerpts @ Jubilat 32Review @ ABCsReview @ Book and Beat The BackroomReview @ The Hopkins Review
Ardengo Soffici (1879-1964) was an Italian painter, poet, and art critic associated with Florentine Futurism. Years spent in Parisian artistic circles spurred Soffici to champion an artistic renewal in Italy, introducing French impressionism and cubism and a vibrant magazine culture.
Olivia E. Sears is a translator of Italian poetry and prose, specializing in avant-garde women writers. She founded the Center for the Art of Translation and the journal Two Lines, where she served as editor for twelve years.