Poets of the Italian Diaspora: A Bilingual Anthology

Poets of the Italian Diaspora: A Bilingual Anthology

Poets of the Italian Diaspora: A Bilingual Anthology

Poets of the Italian Diaspora: A Bilingual Anthology

Synopsis

In the century between 1870 and 1970, about twenty-seven million migrants left Italy to work and live abroad. As a result, the worldwide Italian diaspora reportedly numbers more than sixty million people. Until now, however, there has not been an anthology devoted to the literature of the Italian diaspora that places it in a global context. This landmark volume presents a truly international selection of works by more than seventy Italian-language poets who are writing in countries from Australia to Venezuela. Their poetry is collected here into eleven geographical regions. The history and current state of Italian-language poetry in each region receives a critical overview by a knowledgeable scholar, who also introduces each poet and provides a bibliography of his or her work. All poems appear on facing pages in both Italian and English.Poets of the Italian Diaspora is part of a long-range project, by the editors and contributors, to expand the boundaries of the Italian literary canon.

Excerpt

Italian poetry in the twentieth century in Argentina is intimately connected with immigration. Millions of foreigners settled there throughout the 1950s. From Italy, people rarely arrived who represented that other spirit of its consummate civilization and of its perennial art, which it nurtures and takes care of.

In general, the people who landed in the most southerly seaport in South America were poor and at times not well educated. According to Dino Campana, the orphic poet from Marradi, Italians went to Argentina because “it was easier to make a living there.” Thus the verses of the five poets presented in this section are gifts of the labor of life; they all made a living, or got by, by performing the most humble tasks. And they discovered their poetic vocations along the way: Alfredo Bufano while shining shoes in the streets of Buenos Aires and later working in a bookstore; Antonio Aliberti while working in his barber shop and dreaming of the island where he could not grow up nor ever return; the antifascist Severino Di Giovanni as a gardener and flower seller before becoming an editor running articles against the organization of power and private ownership at his own newspaper. With his anarchist friends, he began to put into practice the theories of his Russian idol, Mikhail Bakunin, and those of his precursors, theorists and pre-anarchist philosophers such as William Godwin and Proudhon, as well as others who contributed to the doctrine, including Reclus, Grave, and Tolstoy. Di Giovanni’s anarchism, according to Oscar D’Angelo, “foresaw a horizontal social structure and a social development without violence, but in order to create this anarchist society, violence was necessary. Violence was necessary only to obtain a just society without violence: violence to construct a society without violence, a society without social classes, violence to fight violence.” As such, Osvaldo Bayer, Di Giovanni’s biographer, was able to designate him “the idealist of violence.”

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