Beast of Joy
Edited by Anthony Molino
Translated by Anthony Molino and Cristina Viti
$20, 129 pages
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MARIANGELA GUALTIERI is regarded as one of Italy's most compelling and innovative voices. She was born in Cesena, Italy, in 1951, and trained as an architect. In 1983, she founded, together with Cesare Ronconi, the famed Teatro Valdoca, for which she serves as dramaturge. Long committed to cultivating the oral dimension of poetry and its communal, collective roots, she routinely bridges the realms of poetry and theater via her Valdoca projects, as best evidenced by the collection Fuoco centrale e altre poesie per il teatro (Einaudi, 2003) and the theatrical text in verse, Caino (Einaudi, 2011). Her books include: Antenata (Crocetti, 1992); Senza polvere senza peso (Einaudi, 2006); Paesaggio con fratello rotto (Luca Sossella Editore, 2007); Bestia di gioia (Einaudi,2010); Sermone ai cuccioli della mia specie (book and CD, Teatro Valdoca, 2012); and Le giovani parole (Einaudi, 2015). She has also collaborated on two art books: Donna che non impara (Emilio Mazzoli Gallery 2003) and photographer Guido Guidi's A Seneghe (Perda Sonadora Imprentas, 2012). Beast of Joy marks the first full-length publication of her work in English.
About the translators:
ANTHONY MOLINO is an American-born psychoanalyst and award-winning translator from the Italian. His translations include Antonio Porta's Kisses From Another Dream (City Lights Books, 1987), Melusine (Guernica Editions, 1992) and Kisses, Dreams & Other Infidelities (Xenos Books, 2004); Valerio Magrelli's Nearsights (Graywolf Press, 1991) and The Contagion of Matter (Holmes & Meier, 2000); Lucio Mariani's Echoes of Memory (Wesleyan Universiry Press, 2003) and Traces of Time (Open Letter Books,20l5); as well as two plays, Manlio Santanelli's Emergency Exit (with J. House, Xenos Books, 2000) and Eduardo De Filippo's The Nativity Scene (with P. Feinberg, Guernica Editions, 1997). For Chelsea Editions he has edited Magrelli's Instructions On How to Read a Newspaper and Other Poems (2008), which includes a re-issue of Nearsights. His most recent translation is The Diary of Kaspar Hauser by Paolo Febbraro (Negative Capability Press, 2016), for which he was awarded the 2018 Raiziss/De Palchi Book Prize. Also forthcorning from Negative Capability Press is his co-translation, with Gray Sutherland, of Luigia Sorrentino's Olympia.
CRISTINA VITI's recent translations include the first full English version of Elsa Morante's Il mondo salvato dai ragazzini (The World Saved by Kids, Seagull Books, 2016); excerpts from Carlo Emilio Gadda's Journals of War & Prison for the anthology No Man's Land (Serpent's Tail, 2014); and a collection by Albanian poet Gëzim Hajdari (Stigmata, Shearsman Books, 2016). Among earlier works are several volumes of translated poetry including Dino Campara: Selected Works (Survivors' Press, 2006) with the full text of the Orphic Songs, and Mariapia Veladiano's first novel A Life Apart (MacLehose Press, 2013), runner-up for the John Florio Prize). Other translations (including Amelia Rosselli, Clemente Rèbora, Erri De Luca) and/or her own poetry have been published in several reviews including Modern Poetry in Translation, Agenda, Asymptote and The White Review. Forthcoming work includes a translation of a volume of essays by the prominent Italian critic Furio Jesi,Time and Festivity (Seagull Books).
"Mariangela Gualtieri is widely admired in ltaly for her inspired and dynamic performances of her own poems and of those many masterpieces of the tradition that she carries by heart within her. With Beast of Joy, Anthony Molino and CristinaViti introduce English-language readers to a generous selection of her meditations on the many seasons of her life: here she celebrates with fear, wonder and an ever-present sense of jubilation, the gravity of age, the lightness of the clouds." ~ Susan Stewart
"Beast of Joy is a book that celebrates permanence: that which, in the throes of dissolution, echoes across time and demands of us the words whereby duration is made possible. In so doing, Gualtieri takes us into the very heart of nature and reveals its archetypes, supporting structures and foundations, all scripted in the vibrant palpitations of the lyrical force of her language." ~ Milo de Angelis
"Gualtieri has put on the clothes, or if you prefer, assumed the role of a female St. Francis, with a dedication that leaves no doubt regarding the urgency and depth of her poetry. The result is one of the most impassioned odes to the universe and to creation that one could hope to find in these days." ~ Professor Nicola Gardini, Oxford University
"Mariangela Gualtieri is a poet of great incandescence who writes with searing honesty and compassion. A veteran of the theater, Gualtieri possesses a voice that can be thunderous and oracular, but also painfully intimate. Beast of Joy is a beautifully translated introduction to one of Italy's finest contemporary poets." ~ Olivia E. Sears, founder of The Center for the Art of Translation
Selected poems from
Beast of Joy
Poetess Mariangela Gualtieri
benedico ogni centimetro d'Amore ogni
minima scheggia d'Amore
ogni venatura o mulinello d'Amore
ogni tavola e letto d'Amore,
che d'ognuno di noi alla catena
fa carne che risplende.
Amore che sei il mio destino
insegnami che tutto fallirà
se non mi inchino alla tua benedizione.
I bless every centimeter of Love every
wee sliver of Love
every inkling or eddy of Love
every table or bed of Love,
Love I bless
that makes of each of us on the chain
flesh that shines
Love, you who are my destiny
teach me that all will fail
if I do not bow to your blessing.
Gli altri sono troppi per me.
Ho un cuore eremita. Sono
impastata di silenzio e di vento.
Mi pento ogni volta che vado
lontano dal mio stare lento
nelle velocità della sera, nelle auto schizzate
di pianto. Col loro buio abitacolo.
E se sfreccio a volte
sulla modesta moto, è per cantare
a gola stesa l'ultimo del Paradiso,
fare il mio guizzo pericoloso
con tutto quel vento nel petto
seminare parole beate
nel panorama nervoso.
Others are too much for me.
I have a hermit heart. I am
kneaded in silence and wind.
I am ancient.
I regret every time
I stray from my slowness
into the speeds of night, into cars
streaked with tears. With their dark cubicles.
And if sometimes I dart off
on my scooter, it's to belt out
the last canto of Paradise
a dangerous dash
wind against my chest
to sow blessed words
across the nervous landscape.
Sento il tuo disordine
e lo comparo al mio. C'è
somiglianza. C'è lo stesso slabbro
di ferite identiche. C'è tutta la voglia
di un passo largo in una terra
sgombra che non troviamo.
Sento il tuo respiro schiacciato
lo sento somigliante
ti sento piano morire
come me che non controllo
l'accensione del sangue.
Anch'io cerco una libertà che mi
sbandieri, una falcata
perfetta, uno stacco d'uccello
dal suo ramo, quando si butta
improvviso e poi plana.
I can feel your disorder
and compare it to mine. There's
a resemblance. There's the same gash
of identical wounds. There's all the lust
for striding across an open
land we can't find.
I can feel your crushed breath
feel its resemblance
I can feel you slowly dying
like me who won't keep
the blood's ignition in check.
I too am looking for a freedom
that'd unfurl me like a flag, for a perfect
stride, the lift of a bird
off its branch, when it suddenly
dives and then glides.
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