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Articles tagged "Italian Literature"

“Frantumaglia” by Elena Ferrante

Originally published by Edizioni E/O in Italian in 2003 and then progressively augmented with new material in subsequent editions, Elena Ferrante’s Frantumaglia features short notes and meditations by Ferrante, carefully selected correspondence between Ferrante and her publishers, as well as a variety of interviews with both Italian journalists and members of the international press. As Sandra Ozzola––one of the publishers of the edition––informs readers, this...

Repetition & Difference: Translating Gabriella Kuruvilla’s “Barbie”

Jamie Richards’s translation of Gabriella Kuruvilla’s story “Barbie” appears in the September 2016 issue: There Is No Map: The New Italian(s). “Repetition is truly that which disguises itself in constituting itself, that which constitutes itself only by disguising itself. It is not underneath the masks, but is formed from one mask to another, as though from one distinctive point to another, from one privileged instant to another, with and within the...

The Many Voices of Lina Prosa’s “Lampedusa Snow”

Image: The Italian Alps, photographed by Andrew Raimondi, 2015. Wikimedia Commons. Allison Grimaldi-Donahue and Nerina Cocchi’s translation of Lina Prosa’s “Lampedusa Snow” appears in the September 2016 issue of Words without Borders: There Is No Map—The New Italian(s). Translation is a dialogue, a conversation. For a while I believed the conversation was between me, the translator, and the author. Then I realized it was a polyphonic chorus of...

The Thoughtful Traveler: On Giampiero Neri’s Poetry

Image: Lake Annone in Lombardy, Italy, near to where Giampiero Neri grew up. Wikimedia Commons. Martha Cooley and Antonio Romani’s translations of Giampiero Neri’s prose-poems appear in the August 2016 issue: There Is No Map: The New Italian(s). Martha and Antonio will speak about their translations at Words Without Borders’s September 20 event in New York City. Giampiero Neri’s Poesie 1960-2005 (Poems 1960-2005) is a container into...

There Is No Map: The New Italian(s)

People who don’t know me assume, looking at me, that I don’t know Italian. When I speak to them in Italian, when I ask for something . . . they say, puzzled, ‘I don’t understand.’ It’s always the same response, the same scowl. As if my Italian were another language. —Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words What is migration? The word itself immediately brings up a concatenation of issues: immigration, emigration, flights both voluntary and forced. Can one...

Barbie

Milanese journalist Gabriella Kuruvilla touches on the dynamics of motherhood and assimilation. I did it again today. I woke up, made breakfast, watched them eat and drink, bathed and dressed them, took them to school, returned home, got my sari, sandals, lipstick, kohl, makeup remover, rings, bangles, wrap, and Barbie. I put it all in my bag and went out. I always choose a different café on the long route from Lambrate to Bovisa. I prefer to walk, despite the time it takes....

Two Untitled Prose Poems

Italian poet Giampiero Neri reflects on solitude and exile. It may seem odd that an episode recounted in a poem, as mere information, lends itself to being misunderstood. The episode is the Homeric one about the island of the Feaci and the misunderstanding is their so-called hospitality, by now almost proverbial. Dashed on the shore by the waves, miraculously safe, Ulysses is helped by Nausicaa, but must meet the Feaci and first of all their king Alcinoo. The prospect is dangerous and...

Listening to Silence

Indian–born writer Laila Wadia writes a letter to her newborn son. I love draping myself in words, wearing metaphors, allegory, irony—but since you entered my life, my love, my favorite outfit is a silk cloak, the color of a fiery sunset, made entirely of silence. The soft folds make room for my thoughts, thoughts of a woman, a migrant, a mother, to flow through the warm, liquid womb, where language melts and becomes a primordial soup, and the only sound is the smile of the...

From “Goldfish Don’t Live in Puddles”

Marco Truzzi dives into the daily life of a boy living in a Romani camp. What’s the point of stars If you don’t want to see? —Romani proverb My father stopped being a gypsy in the spring of 1987. As for the hows and whys that led to his decision—or, according to his point of view, how this simply happened to him—we’ll get to that later. For the time being, all you need to know is that my father stopped being a gypsy when I was seven years old and he was...

Three Poems from “Tattoos”

German–born Eva Taylor considers the process of inhabiting a new land and a new language. Kleidleid...

From “Lampedusa Snow”

Playwright Lina Prosa follows an African refugee in Italy’s Alpine north. To an actor with powerful lungs, who is able to act in high altitudes with little oxygen. The reality. The source: the news. An African migrant, after having arrived in Lampedusa, is brought to a shelter in the Orobie Alps. He stays there for months waiting for his request for political asylum to be processed. The theater/one actor: The actor is seated on a chair. Next to him is an open refrigerator. The...

Cous Cous Klan

Algerian–born Tahar Lamri blends strands from Italian, Arabic, German, and other Mediterranean cultures in his story of “an immobile traveler, eternally traveling” in present-day Italy. My name is simply Samir. I am the fortieth direct descendant of Shams al-Din Abu 'Abdallah Muhammad ibn 'Abdallah ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn Yusuf al-Lawati al-Tanji Ibn Battûta Ibn Hamid Al Ghazi, known simply as Ibn Battuta, born in Tangier in 1304 and died in Marrakesh...

I am leaving you Europe

In the following poem, Hajdari evokes Halil, the mythic character of the cycle of Albanian epic narrative poems (the Albanian Songs of the Frontier Warriors); Jutbina, a borderland between Albania and ex-Yugoslavia; and Bjeshkët e Nëmuna: the Cursed Mountains, as the northern Albanian Alps are called. I am leaving you Europe, corrupt old whore. Your ruins no longer enchant me, your mirrors and abysses have misled my exile, wounded my wretched body of the East in front of false...

Italy and the Literature of Immigration

Journalist and literary critic Francesco Durante looks at migration from two angles: that of immigrant writers adopting Italian and that of native–born Italians who leave for other shores. 1. Italy is a country with an extremely variegated and troubled history. We’re accustomed to thinking that Italy possesses a distinct and unmistakable identity, but when we do so we overlook the elementary consideration that Italy has only existed as a single, united country for a...

The True Story of “Faccetta Nera”

“I was on a TV talk show the other day, and something curious happened.” Those are the opening words of a Facebook post that Maryan Ismail, an Italo-Somali political activist, published recently. The curious thing that happened occurred in a television studio. Maryan, who is a longtime political activist working in Milan, has made up her mind to express her defiance of racism by speaking openly everywhere she can, including on TV. Of course, she doesn’t talk about...

Fact, Act, Phenomenon: On Translating \“Un fatto umano\”

When I first picked up Manfredi Giffone’s Un fatto umano, excerpted in Words without Borders as A Human Act, I expected nothing more than a violent diversion similar to the Godfather or Scarface. In fact, the book approaches the mafia from the opposite end, focusing on the corrosive effects wrought by organized crime on all aspects of civic culture, plumbing the nature of heroism under despotism and demonstrating, through the brutal rise of Totò Riina’s Corleonese mafia...

Scandal

This excerpt comes from Aldo Nove's recent novel, All the Light of the World, about the life of St. Francis of Assisi (San Francesco), largely as seen through the eyes of his nephew, Piccardo. The excerpt includes three non-sequential chapters from Part One, titled “Scandal.” As Aldo Nove writes in his note to the novel, "The existence of Piccardo is documented, but we know almost nothing about him. He appears in thirteenth-century Assisi notary...

From the Archives: Spring Comes to the Mountains

In this endless winter, when spring seems distant as the sun, we turn to Mario Rigoni Stern's luminous "Spring," beautifully translated by Gregory Conti, from our March 2007 issue. Rigoni Stern opens with his childhood memories of winter's end in the Italian mountains—"in the month of March, when the thaw opened up the passes"—and the keen anticipation of spring; with his grandfather he writes a postcard: "To the Head of the Black Swifts | Alexandria, Egypt, Africa:...

from “Morti di Sonno”

Image description

If one of those things explodes, the city’ll blow up too.


From the Translator: Titling \“Tana\”

I’m very grateful to the editors of Words Without Borders for letting me discuss my translation of Giulio Mozzi’s “Tana.” This gives me the chance to discuss my failure. Several years back, when I first met with Mozzi in Padua about his collection Questo è il giardino (This is the Garden), he told me that with “Tana,” a story named for its female protagonist, I should find an English name that also means “burrow,” as this is what...

Tana

The rain began that morning. Tana was coming home from school. Thursday afternoons they had sewing class, and now on the bus, she realized this was the first day she'd left school in the dark. It would go on like this for months. It was cold out, raining, and the bus, jammed with boys and girls, with students, was steaming hot. The windows were fogged up; someone had managed to pry one open, and Tana, already sweaty, was freezing. She thought: I might get sick, stay home a week. She...

Horst

I’m thirty-nine. I’m a chemist, graduate of the university of ****. For the last twelve years I’ve been working as a lab technician for a pharmaceutical company. Practically speaking, I’m a hired hand, because the creative part of our work all belongs to our bosses, the illustrious professors and scientists who design our research programs according to the needs of the company. Among the eggheads who work with us there’s even a Nobel Prize winner who...

The City and the Writer: In Florence with Elisa Biagini

If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains.                                                —Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities       Can you describe the mood of Florence as you feel/see it? Quoting the Italian...

Moving Like Geckos

I study him while he smokes, lying back, arm behind his head. I watch him release the smoke, breathe it back in and out, thinner now. He’s focused on something in the room but I can’t tell what, maybe my family photos—my mother, my father, the twins—or maybe the cubist still-life painting Donatella gave me. Or maybe he’s not looking at anything at all, just as high as his eyes can reach in this room that’s only twenty meters square. I study him, study...

Making a Scene

When I was little I watched a lot of movies, because my mother was always making shirts, my father was painting his pictures to sell, and so to let them work in peace, my grandmother, my mother’s mother, would take us to the Stadium movie house and keep us there, me and my brothers, for two movies back-to-back, the four o’clock and the six o’clock shows. I really liked watching my mother cut along the line to the paper pattern pinned to the cloth, and I liked it even...

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