Rinaldo Caddeo
Siren's Song:
Selected Poetry and Prose, 1989—2009

Translated by Adria Bernardi
Illustrations by Salvatore Carbone

Paperback, 283 pages.
ISBN 978-0-9823849-1-6


Author Bio | Reviews | Read Selection

Available through Small Press Distribution


was born in 1952 in Milan, where he resides and teaches in a technical institute. He has published four collections of poetry (Le fionde del gioco e del vuoto, Narciso, Calendario di sabbia, Dialogo con l'ombra), one collection of short-short stories (La lingua del camaleonte), and one of aphorisms (Etimologia del caos). Piccola Biblioeca di Odissea has published his short story Apocalisse 2009.

His prizes for poetry are "Romagna" for Narciso in 1989, and "Delta Poesia" for Calendario di sabbia in 1998. He is author of critical essays, book reviews, short stories, aphorisms, translations and poetry published in numerous literary magazines. He is an associate editor of the biannual La mosca di Milano.

Siren's Song: Selected Poetry and Prose 1989-2009 is selected from La lingua del camaleonte (Manni Editore, 2002), Narciso (Forum/ Quinta Generazione, 1989), Calendario di sabbia (NCE, 1997), and I mostri (new unpublished poetry).

Translator Adria Bernardi is the author of two novels, Openwork and The Day Laid on the Altar; a collection of short stories, In the Gathering Woods; and an oral history, Houses with Names: The Italian Immigrants of Highwood, Illinois. She was awarded the 2007 Raiziss/de Palchi Fellowship by the American Academy of Poets to complete Small Talk: Poetry of Raffaello Baldini.

Top of page



"A beautiful investigation of the alternative to life and death, into the truth of tragicality, of understanding hard won, and of thought illuminated. A poetry for brain shocks, visions and encounters with elemental emblems of time and being: the moth, the bat, the infant, the statue, the tree, the hare, the leaf, the wind. One reads "Siren's Song," "Foreigners," "The Wild Beast," and many other poems, with particular joy."
~ Giorgio Barberi-Squarotti

"This is an articulate reflection upon the theme of form: I'm thinking about works such as Pompeii or Hiroshima, all playing with the idea of shade and calque, but also about the mournful couplets of Lightning, within the landscape of night, wild animals, fever."

~ Valerio Magrelli

"In the preface, Gabriela Fantato uses two terms that seem very apt in describing Caddeo's poetry: lightness and wit. The first of these two is implied by the peculiarity of the chosen theme, the second is suggested in the poet's capacity to set out the themes on a wide fan, replete with situations, metaphors, reflections, which, as we have seen, end up yielding a paradoxical substance to shadow." ~ Franco Romano

Top of page


Poet Rinaldo Caddeo


From La lengua del camaleonte /
The Chameleon's Tongue (2002)


Continuo a smarrire. Perdo almeno una cosa al giorno, anche di più. Ieri l'altro ho perso un golf. II mio golf rosso, puf, sparito nel nulla. Tutto perché ci continuo a pensare. L'ho cercato per ore. Niente da fare. Continuo a pensare a quel gatto nero. Ieri ho perso Ie chiavi di casa, forse per strada. Meno male che ne ho un' altra copia. Sono tornato sui miei passi, niente da fare. Non riesco a levarmelo dalla testa. E cosi ho smarrito penne, ombrelli, guanti, giacche, portafogli ... Tutto é cominciato quella volta: un gatto nero mi ha attraversato la strada. Ero in campagna, su di una strada sterrata lungo un fosso. Era l'inizio della sera. Ho rischiato di uscire fuori strada, di capottarmi. C'era ancora poco buio. In un secondo é apparso, in un secondo é scomparso. E' guizzato come lo schizzo impazzito di un' onda invisibile, scivolando silenzioso, furtivo e oscuro suI bianco della polvere secca, senza lasciare traccia.


I continue to misplace stuff. Lose at least one thing a day, even more. The day before yesterday I lost a pullover. My red pullover, poof, vanished into nothing. All because I'm still thinking about it. I searched hours. No go. I keep thinking about that black cat. Yesterday I lost the house keys, maybe on the street. Good thing I have another set. I retraced my steps. No go. I cannot get it out of my head. This is the same way I misplaced pens, umbrellas, jackets, wallets ... It all started up with one incident: a black cat crossed in front of me. I was in me country, walking on a dirt road that ran alongside a ditch. It was twilight. I tried to get out of its path, to go back the other direction. It wasn't that dark yet. One second it was there, the next second it was gone. It darted, like the frenetic splash of an invisible wave that then silently folds over, hidden, secretive, leaving no trace whatsoever on dry, white sand.

From Narciso / Narcissus (1989)


faranno domande
da non esitare

risposte vogliono
da non ascoltare

come gole del vento
corde scosse di vuoto

hanno becchi
senza tregua

se ti volti
non ci sono

sono dietro


they'll ask questions
without hesitating

they want answers
they don't listen to

they're like wind tunnels
ropes swinging inside the infinite pit

they have beaks
rapid-fire no ceasefire

if you turn
they aren't there

they're behind you

From I quattro elementi della natura /
The Four Elements of Nature (2008)


l'ho bendata
le ho dato da bere

e da mangiare (era un piccolo
ferito un' ombra arruffata

sotto un' ala)
con lei sopra il letto

mi sono addormentato
nel pieno mi ha svegliato

delIa notte gli artigli nella carne
il becco nel mio petto


i bandaged it
i gave it something to drink

i gave it some food (it was a small
casualty a shadow in tangles

underneath a wing)
i fell asleep with it

on top of the bed
its fullness woke me up

in the night the talons in my flesh
the beak in my chest

Top of page

Catalog | About | Contact