Poetry. Bilingual Edition. Translated from the Italian by Carla Billiteri. Finalist for the 2015 National Translation Award in Poetry. AMNESIA OF THE MOVEMENT OF CLOUDS & OF RED AND BLACK VERSE, two books published in a single volume, is the first full-length English translation of work by contemporary Sicilian poet Maria Attanasio. Drawing on her training as a philosopher and deep reader of German Expressionist and French Surrealist poetry, her visionary work dwells on contemporary selfhood in a technologically driven age, reflecting how such selfhood is set against the desolate political and existential void of a new century, one she describes as "the god of...indifference,""the great amnesia." Attanasio's landscapes are as dreamlike as they are realistic, darkened by poverty, death, inequality and illegal immigration, carved by a sculptural language that seeks to uncover the historical and political strata of everyday life.
"These spiked, analytic lyrics are coiled against the turbulence of everyday life: talismans of acidic cognition against a culture that rewards forgetting. In this bilingual edition of two books of Maria Attanasio, Carla Bilitteri hews to the poet's knotted chiaroscuro, giving us a labyrinthine series of viscerally charged, haunted studies."—Charles Bernstein
"'Flash of pomegranate / flame of malvasia / in a globalized stanza / red of poesia / Darkness now, a moment ago I was Maria.' Two sharp, glinting collections of poetry from Sicilian poet Maria Attanasio appear in English for the first time, in a lucid and haunting translation by translator and critic Carla Billitieri. The chances Billitieri takes as a translator are constantly poised to remind us of Attanasio's inquiry into sound, memory, loss, and the results in English echo and linger. The translator has also included a substantial introduction to Attanasio's poetics in this beautiful edition by Litmus Press, and her translations are followed by endnotes that elucidate many layers of this complex and unsettling poetry."—Erica Mena
"Carla Billitteri's confident translations of AMNESIA OF THE MOVEMENT OF CLOUDS & OF RED AND BLACK VERSE, two of Maria Attanasio's most recent collections of poetry, offer English language readers the verses of a poet whose eyes see the sound of verse and feel its dispersal. The expression of impermanence communicated by these poems is balanced by the acuity of a language that is poetic exactly because it is amnesiatic. The pairing of AMNESIA and OF RED AND BLACK VERSE sheds light onto our daily struggles with sense, memory, perception, and 'disobedient writing' in translations that complement the originals."—Pasquale Verdicchio
"Attanasio's poems are succinct but wide-ranging condensations, and these inventive versions by Carla Billitteri are welcome additions to the body of contemporary Italian poetry in English."—Geoffrey Brock
author siteChris Mansel @ Galatea ResurrectsBarbara Hoffert @ Library JournalErica Mena @ ALTA blogJohn Keene @ J’s TheaterMaria Attanasio @ PennSoundFeature @ Jacket 2
Born in Caltagirone, Italy, in 1943—where she still lives, writes her books, and teaches philosophy—Attanasio is the author of five collections of poetry and four works of historical fiction. Her latest work, Il Falsario di Caltagirone, has been the recipient of the prestigious Premio Vittorini. An ironic, often visionary, intensely political poet, Attanasio sees her poetry as a form of "vertical writing" ("scrittura verticale"), a definition that well describes her dense, intellectually rigorous and demanding poetic style, a style influenced by the German Expressionists (Gottfried Benn, Georg Trakl), the French Surrealists (Louis Aragon, Paul Éluard), and the leftist Italian avant-gardes of the twentieth century (Giorgio Caproni, Franco Fortini. Alfonso Gatti, Giancarlo Majorino, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Amalia Rosselli). Author City: Sicily ITA
Carla Billitteri was born and educated in Italy, and holds a PhD from the Poetics Program at the University of Buffalo. She is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Maine and a member of the editorial collective of the National Poetry Foundation. She has been active as a translator of contemporary Italian poetry since 1995, with work in Aufgabe, Boundary2, How2, Fascicle, and Rif/t. An edition of her translations from Alda Merini's aphorisms, I Am a Furious Little Bee, was published by Hooke Press in 2008. She is also the author of a critical study, Language and the Renewal of Society in Walt Whitman, Laura (Riding) Jackson and Charles Olson (Palgrave, 2009), and of numerous essays on English- and Italian-language poetry.Author City: USA