Cristina Annino

Chronic Hearing:
Selected Poems 1977—2012

Translated by Adria Bernardi




Paperback, 373 pages
ISBN 978-0-0884787-9-4

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Available through Small Press Distribution


Artist, poetess, short-story teller and one-time novelist, CRISTINA ANNINO (nèe Fratini) was born in Arezzo, Italy, studied at the University of Florence and wrote her dissertation on the Peruvian poet César Vallejo. Having begun to write poetry in childhood, she gravitated toward avant-garde circles in the 1960s, such as Gruppo '70, and lived and studied in Spain. Her first collection of poetry, Non me lo dire, non posso crederci / Don't tell me, I can't believe it, was published in 1969 with a preface by Eugenio Miccini. Her next, published in 1977, was Ritratto di un Amico Paziente / Portrait of a Friend Patient. The third, L'Udito Cronico / Chronic Hearing, lends its title to the present volume, which contains selections from seven collections. Madrid won the Premio di Poesia Pozzale Luigi Russo in 1988; Magnificat won the Premio Lorenzo Montano in 2010. Her most recent volume of poetry, Chanson Turca, was published in 2012. She lives and works in Rome.

In her introduction, translator ADRIA BERNARDI distills the essence of Annino's poetry from her colorful imagery, dazzling language and complex landscapes: "It's this poet's lot in life to hear too well, too keenly, too precisely—to hear amplified what others hear at lower, livable decibels, to hear what is for others, perhaps, is not audible at all—it is her lot in life to hear a sound—a hiss, for example—in a kind of shape, with an acoustic dimension—a hallway, for example—with its own measurable level of intensity, and to link it to its source—a cat, for example."

ADRIA BERNARDI's previous translation for Chelsea Editions was Chernobylove—the Day after the Wind: Selected Poems 2008-2010 by Francesca Pellegrino. In 2007 she received the Raiziss/de Palchi Translation Award to complete Small Talk, a translation of poetry by Raffaello Baldini in the romagnole dialect.


The first reading keeps us on the page as if it's magnetized...

~ Nadia Augustoni

Unconstrained by the desire to theorize a message, Cristina Annino allows the content of her poems to simply blossom, free. And it is precisely in these moments that an elegiac and philosophic tone emerges, entrusted to key verses that have a sudden, surprise effect, like when one takes a breath after a period of apnea. This is the author's striking intuition that grants the reader her sharp and unforgettable observations in verse, from which all the rest becomes illuminated, making Annino one of the preeminent and most contemporary Italian poets.

~ Allesandro Polcri





From L'Udito Cronico / Chronic Hearing



Poetess Cristina Annino


From L'Udito Cronico / Chronic Hearing

La casa del folle

Entro piano nella casa del folle;
no apro le persiane, no tolgo la polvere.
Arrivo alla sua camera che ancora dorme
nel mattino troppa aria per occhii
di dolente marrone pallido. Guardo
la nuca rigida e il corpo che no sente
neppure il pigiama.
Mi siedo accanto e gli porto l'asfalto
ripolendolo dal romore, dall'odore del mese,
dal peso della gente.
Cerco di non affollarlo di niente;
il suo corpo vuoto è una stanza: sogni
vi soffiano dentro bolle di vecchio dolore.
La ragione cos' è? Arrivo qui e mi stendo
al piece del suo letto come a una pianta
ed entra dentro di me, dal folle, quasi
fune elettrica, una bianca, stanca,
atroce vitalità.

The Madhouse

I'm careful when entering the madhouse;
I don't raise the blinds, I don't get rid of the dust.
I get to his room where he's still sleeping
in the morning too much air let in for sorrowful
clear brown eyes. I look at
the stiffened neck and the body that doesn't feel
even the pajamas.
I sit down beside him and bring him asphalt
cleansing it of sound, of the month's odor,
of the weight of people.
I try not to crowd him with nothing;
his empty body is a room; dreams,
bubbles of old grief exhale there inside.
Rational. What's that? I'm here and I lie down
at the foot of his bed like a plant
and it enters inside me, from insanity, almost
an electrical wire, a white, worn-out
excruciating vitality.

From Casa d'Aquila / House of the Eagle:
Ottentto per madre / Octet for Mother

Si fa sabbia così

Si fa sabbia così, si sfalda
al vento di casa mia. Accusa
altre cose deboli, la cecità, per
esempio. Io non so
cosa dire quando siede su me come
fossi cemento. Oppure
vola, ci credo, va via, si stende
altissimamente e in largo. La
guardo con quella
paura dei nani per un monumento.

How She's Turning into Sand

How she's turning into sand, it flakes off
in the wind in my house. She denounces
other weak things, blindness, for
example. I don't know
what to say when she sits on me as if
I were cement. Or else
she flies, I believe this, she's gone, she extends
far and wide and way up into the air. I look
at her with that fear
dwarves have for a monument.

From Magnificat

Moriranno le passioni nostre

Moriranno le passioni, nostre
criniere, passando
per strada coi colli
pesanti di lana, agili
gambe in avanti, dietro, di
lato. Le
guarderemo stupefacenti - almeno
come la vedo io - in questa
serata che sembra
mammina d'Europa. Tristi
e tonali, accese. Mai
vissuto un
tempo più madre di questo
ricordo di loro, care, nate
eterne, scolo del
mondo magari ma forse
vere, il
meglio di noi chissà, gregarie
communque nella volata.

Our Passions Are Going to Die

Our passions will die, our
manes, travelling
through the streets, necks
thick with wool, nimble
front ahead, behind,
sideways. We'll
look at them stupefied - at least
that's how I see it - on this
evening that feels like
little mamma of Europe. Sad
and tonal. Lit. Never
lived a
time more mother to this
memory of them, so dear, eternally
born, weep hole of the
world but maybe even
real, the
best of us who knows, gregarious
in any event in the flight.

Personal website:

Interview January 2013 with Luigi Carotenuto:

Reading and discussion on You Tube with Maurizio Cucchi:


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