Love Lessons

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-03-23
  • Publisher: Princeton Univ Pr
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Alda Merini is one of Italy's most important, and most beloved, living poets. She has won many of the major national literary prizes and has twice been nominated for the Nobel Prize--by the French Academy in 1996 and by Italian PEN in 2001. InLove Lessons, the distinguished American poet Susan Stewart brings us the largest and most comprehensive selection of Merini's poetry to appear in English. Complete with the original Italian on facing pages, a critical introduction, and explanatory notes, this collection gathers lyrics, meditations, and aphorisms that span fifty years, from Merini's first books of the 1950s to an unpublished poem from 2001. These accessible and moving poems reflect the experiences of a writer who, after beginning her career at the center of Italian Modernist circles when she was a teenager, went silent in her twenties, spending much of the next two decades in mental hospitals, only to reemerge in the 1970s to a full renewal of her gifts, an outpouring of new work, and great renown.Whether she is working in the briefest, most incisive lyric mode or the complex time schemes of longer meditations, Merini's deep knowledge of classical and Christian myth gives her work a universal, philosophical resonance, revealing what is at heart her tragic sense of life. At the same time, her ironic wit, delight in nature, and affection for her native Milan underlie even her most harrowing poems of suffering. In Stewart's skillful translations readers will discover a true sibyl of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Author Biography

Susan Stewart is the author of five books of poems, including "Red Rover" and "Columbarium", which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her other books include "Poetry and the Fate of the Senses", which won the Christian Gauss and Truman Capote prizes for literary criticism, and "The Open Studio: Essays on Art and Aesthetics". A former MacArthur Fellow, she is the Annan Professor of English at Princeton and a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Translator's Introductionp. 1
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Translator's Introductionp. 1
fromFiore Di Poesia: 1951-1997/Poetry's Flower
fromLa presenza di Orfeo / The Presence of Orpheus(1953) La presenza di Orfeo/The Presence of Orpheusp. 18
Sarograve; sola?/Will I Be Alone?p. 24
fromPaura di Dio/Fear of God(1955) Solo una mano d'angelo/Only an Angel's Handp. 26
Maria Egiziaca (Tintoretto)/Mary of Egypt (Tintoretto)p. 28
Pax/Peacep. 30
fromNozze romane/Roman Wedding(1955) Nozze romane/Roman Weddingp. 34
La Pietagrave;/The Pietagrave;p. 36
La Sibilla Cumana/The Cumaean Sibylp. 38
Quando l'angoscia/When the Anguishp. 40
fromTu sei Pietro/You Are Pietro(1961)
fromParte prima/The First Part Missione di Pietro/Peter's Missionp. 42
fromParte seconda/The Second Part Sogno/Dreamp. 44
Lirica antica/Antique Lyricp. 46
E piuacute; facile ancora/And It Would Be Even Easierp. 48
fromLa Terra Santa/The Holy Land(1984) Io ero un uccello/As for me, I used to be a birdp. 50
Tangenziale dell'ovest/Western Ring Roadp. 52
La luna s'apre nei giardini del manicomio/The moon unveils itself in the madhouse gardensp. 54
Il mio primo trafugamento di madre/My first mothertheftp. 56
fromPer Michele Pierri/For Michele Pierri(unpublished until 1991) Il canto dello sposo/The Song of the Groomp. 58
Elegia/Elegyp. 60
fromLa gazza ladra. Venti ritratti/The Thieving Magpie: Twenty Portraits(unpublished until 1991) Saffo/Sapphop. 62
Emily Dickinson/Emily Dickinsonp. 64
Plath/Plathp. 66
Alda Merini/Alda Merinip. 68
Il pastrano/The Overcoatp. 70
Il grembiule/The Apronp. 72
L'ospite/The Guestp. 74
fromLe satire della Ripa/Ripa's Satires(1983) Cesare amograve; Cleopatra/Caesar loved Cleopatrap. 76
fromLa palude di Manganelli o Il monarca del re/Manganelli's Quagmire or The King's Reign(1992) Otello/Othellop. 78
fromTitano amori interno/Colossal Inner Loves(1993) La sottoveste/The Slipp. 80
fromBallate non pagate/Penniless ballads(1995) Tornai allora a quella neve chiara/Then I went back to that bright snowp. 82
fromLa volpe e il sipario/The Fox and the Curtain(1997) Che insostenibile chiaroscuro/What unbearable chiaroscurop. 84
fromAforismi/Aphorisms(1997)p. 86
fromSuperba Egrave; La Notte/Superb is the Night(2000) Sulla noce di un'albicocca/On the pit of an apricotp. 92
La cosa piuacute; superba egrave; la notte/The most superb thing is the nightp. 94
La notte se non egrave; rapida/Night, if it is not swiftp. 96
C'era una fontana che dava albe/There was a fountain that offered dawnsp. 98
Naviglio che soccorri la mia carne/Naviglio that succors my fl eshp. 100
Ci sono i paradisi artifi ciali/There are artificial paradisesp. 102
Resti un ardente ulivo/Stay steady burning olive treep. 104
In morte di mia sorella/On the Death of My Sisterp. 106
O canto della neve chiuso dentro la fossa/Oh song of the snow stuck inside the ditchp. 108
Guerra/Warp. 110
Il Corvo/The Ravenp. 112
Il grido della morte/The Cry of Deathp. 116
Unpublished (composed 2001) Nella terra di Scozia/In the land of Scotlandp. 122
Notesp. 125
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