Orphic Songs

Orphic Songs

Orphic Songs

Orphic Songs

Synopsis

This vivid presentation of Campana demonstrates why Italian readers have cherished his poems since the first appearance of Canti Orfici in 1914. Charles Wright's translation, Jonathan Galassi's introduction, and, as afterword, Montale's thoughtful essay on Campana, identify the heart of this poet's achievement.

Excerpt

by Jonathan Galassi

Anyone who drives from Faenza to Florence —through the rich, flat farms of Romagna up into the wooded foothills of the Apennines which form a natural barrier with Tuscany, then across the stony yellow pastureland atop the old mountains themselves and down on into the valley of the Arno — will experience an essential component of Dino Campana’s poetry. He was born in Marradi, a small town wedged into the narrow valley of the Lamone River on the Faenza side of the divide (though the town belongs legally to the province of Florence). An incessant wanderer all his adult life, he made long walking trips in the historic and holy territory of the Casentino, the shell of mountains stretching north and west of Arezzo where the Arno begins. These places, along with the ancient cities of northern Italy — Florence, Bologna, Faenza, Genoa —are evoked with great sensual immediacy in the “musical, colored poetry” that constitutes one of the most radical and pure moments in modern Italian literature. In Campana’s work, the primal elements of his world—rock, wind, water, sky, sun, heat, night . . .

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