Milo De Angelis, born in 1951, is one of the most important living Italian poets. With this volume, Susan Stewart and Patrizio Ceccagnoli bring to English readers for the first time a facing-page edition of his most recent work: his book-length elegy, Theme of Farewell, and the subsequent poems of That Wandering in the Darkness of Courtyards. These two books form a sequence narrating the illness and premature death, in 2003, of the poet’s wife, the writer Giovanna Sicari, a celebrated poet in her own right; they also trace De Angelis’s turn from grief, through time, back to the world. Immediate, perceptive, and woven from the fabric of everyday life in contemporary Milan, the poems never depart from universal human emotions of despair and awakening. Throughout his long career, De Angelis has renewed lyric poetry with the sheer intensity of his forms and insights, and the volumes offered here have won some of the most important Italian literary awards, including the coveted Premio Viareggio.
These inexorable and beautifully crafted translations will be of interest to scholars of contemporary Italian literature, students of contemporary poetry and literary translation, and those who work in comparative literature. Above all, they are bound to speak to any reader in search of a poet writing at the height of his powers of expression.
University of Chicago Press; December 2014
- ISBN: 9780226016207
- Read online, or download in secure PDF format
- Title: Theme of Farewell and After-Poems
- Author: Milo De Angelis; Susan Stewart (ed.); Patrizio Ceccagnoli (ed.); Susan Stewart (trans.); Patrizio Ceccagnoli (trans.)
Imprint: University of Chicago Press
In The Press
“This careful work by Susan Stewart and Patrizio Ceccagnoli is the most capacious English rendering so far of this major contemporary Italian poet. One is able to follow the poetic and spiritual journey of Milo De Angelis as revealed in his passage from a gently eloquent tone to a more urgent language (perhaps precipitated by a lacerating personal loss). To be sure, the poet remains faithful to his distinguished elaboration of the post-symbolist heritage, such as the phrase repetitions with an emotional tinge, certain softly surreal images (“And you will fly across the courtyard / while someone you don’t know leans / from the balcony with asphalt in his hands”), and well-rounded, quotable lines placed at strategic points (“in the secret clamor where they return”). But in the poetic development documented by this important volume, the Milanese poet—exploring his particular city-within-the-city—enters more and more deeply into a courageous exploration of self and past, resulting in a new opening to the world.”
— Paolo Valesio, Columbia University
“Milo De Angelis is surely among the most important Italian poets of our day, and this supple and subtle translation of his two most recent books is a gratifying event. These are poems of dense abstraction and rugged lyricism, and they come to life in grief, amid the asphalt of the poet’s native city, Milan. Susan Stewart and Patrizio Ceccagnoli have done a terrific job of bringing them to America.”
— Geoffrey Brock, editor of The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Italian Poetry: An Anthology
“The translation is remarkable and adroit. . . . De Angelis’s voice is heard in both languages. There is music, and perhaps more—a distance that allows echoes to linger and resonate.”
— Words Without Borders
About The Author
Milo De Angelis is the author of eight collections of poetry and two volumes of essays and is the translator of numerous works of European philosophy and criticism. The poet Susan Stewart is the Avalon Foundation University Professor in the Humanities at Princeton University. Her most recent books are Red Rover and The Poet’s Freedom, both published by the University of Chicago Press. Patrizio Ceccagnoli teaches Italian at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.