Literature, Poetry, Reviews

Found in translation

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Another review from the Times Literary Supplement: in the January 4 edition Peter Hainsworth takes on two recent translations of twentieth century Italian poetry, The Selected Poetry and Prose of Andrea Zanzotto and The Selected Poetry and Prose of Vittorio Sereni—both are the first substantial translations of these masters of Italian poetry for English speaking audiences.
In the review Hainsworth delivers an enthusiastic appraisal of the two works:

Sereni and Zanzotto … embraced negatives and contradictions more wholeheartedly and more energetically than … the poets of the previous generation.… The result in both cases is a particularly adventurous and exciting body of work, constantly in evolution, sometimes (especially in the case of Zanzotto) on the edge of flamboyant avant-gardism, but somehow generally able to keep its poetic balance. What also gives both poets and others of their generation substance is the fact that they have something to say. Sereni’s mature poetry is constantly probing issues of commitment, choice and understanding, often through a multiplicity of voices, criss-crossing and overlaying each other, with back references to his favorite poets or his own previous work.… They represent and enact the often dramatic confrontation of differing, often irreconcilable viewpoints and constantly changing perspectives.
Zanzotto’s dizzying changes of tack and tone between nonsense, parody, and high literariness are similarly rooted in the sense of things being impossible to pin down in words, but take on concrete urgency through being clustered around a host of contemporary issues (ranging from war and environmental degradation to school teaching and lunar exploration).

Find out more about the work of these two remarkable poets on the UCP website:

The Selected Poetry and Prose of Andrea Zanzotto: A Bilingual Edition

The Selected Poetry and Prose of Vittorio Sereni: A Bilingual Edition