Valerio Magrelli

Instructions on How to Read a Newspaper
and Other Poems

Edited by Anthony Molino
Translated from the Italian by Riccardo Duranti,
Anamaría Crowe Serrano, Anthony Molino

With an introduction by Peter Hainsworth
and an afterword by Riccardo Duranti.


ISBN 0-9725271-7-6 (paper)
366 pages

OUT OF PRINT (at Chelsea Editions)
May be purchased through SPD Books

Description | Read Selection


VALERIO MAGRELLI, born in 1957, is recognized in Italy as one of the country's most imaginative, innovative and vision-altering poets. Abroad, he has been heralded by the Mexican poet Octavio Paz and by the Russian, Joseph Brodsky, both Nobel Prize winners, yet still remains insufficiently known to the English-speaking world. The present bilingual collection, combining selections from two works of the 1980s under the title Nearsights, together with the complete composition of 1999, Instructions on How to Read a Newspaper, strives to rectify this situation.

In his introduction, "On Reading Valerio Magrelli," Oxford Professor Peter Hainsworth describes the title work as "a striking, ambitious and indeed ingenious creation, evidence of a poetric strategy that daringly spearheads and remains at the forefront of Italian poetry today."


VALERIO MAGRELLI, born in Rome, is the author of five books of poetry, one book of prose, two plays, and critical studies of Dadism, Joseph Joubert and Paul Valèry. The winner of numerous prizes and honors, he is currently Professor of French Literature at the University of Cassino. His work has been translated into twelve languages.

ANAMARÍA CROWE SERRANO is Irish and lives in Dublin. She reads, translates and teaches in various languages. Among the poets she has translated are Seamus Heaney, Diego Valverde and Giovanna Sicari. Her own works include a collection of short stories in Italian, Dall'altra. parte (Leconte, 2003), a one-act play in Italian, L'interprete (Delta 3 Edizioni), and a collection of poetry in English, Femispheres (Shearsman, 2008).

RICCARDO DURANTI teaches English literature and translation at the University of Rome. In addition to translating the complete works of Raymond Carver into Italian, he writes poems and short stories. Among his published works are The Archer's Paradox (Many Press, 1993), L'affettuosa fantasia, poesie 1987-1997 (Aracne Editrice, 1998) and Made in Mompeo, haiku e immagini (with R. Bianchi Corbu Editore, 2007).

ANTHONY MOLINO is an American psychoanalyst and translator of Italian literature living in Vasto; he is widely published and distinguished in both fields. His other translations include Valerio Magrelli's The Contagion of Matter (Holmes & Meier, 2000), Lucio Mariani's Echoes of Memory (Wesleyan, 2003) and Antonio Porta's Kisses, Dreams and Other Infidelities (Xenos Books, 2004).





Data/Date | Titoli/Headlines | Esteri/World News
e venature/From Nature


Selections from Didascalie per la lettura di un giornale, translated by Riccardo Duranti & Anamaría Crowe Serrano:




Si comincia da qua,
luce di stella morta
giunta da un trapassato present.
Il suo oggi è lo ieri, luce-salma,
memoria di un oltretomba quotidiano.


This is where it starts,
with the light of a dead star
arriving from a past present perfect.
Its today is a yesterday, a corpse-light,
the memory of some daily afterlife.


Somo la spine
perstrappare la lana,
le schegge per tirare via la maglia,
pretesti per attrarre
l'attenzione tessile
del lettore, trabocchetti,
tagliole, e intanto l'occhio
è già caduto
nella pania del pezzo.


They are the thorns
for ripping off wool,
the splinters for pulling out the yarn,
pretexts for attracting
the textile attention
of the reader, trapdoors,
snares, and meanwhile the eye
has already fallen
prey to the article.


Euro, neo-metamorfosi,
mito nuovo di zecca
con una fanciulla rapita
dal suo bestiale amante
e tramutata in valuta
resa moneta vergine.

World News

the newly minted myth
in which a girl is abducted
by her bestial lover
and changed into currency
returned as virgin tender.

E venature / From Nature (1987), translated by Anthony Molino:

Ho spesso immaginato che gli sguardi
sopravvivano al'atto del verdere
come fossero aste,
tragitti misurati, lance
in una battaglia.
Allora penso che dentro una stanza
appena abbandonata
simili tratti debbano restare
qualche temp sospesi ed incrociati
nell'equilibrio del loro disegno
intatti e sovrapposti come I legni
dello shangai.

I've often imagined gazes
surviving the act of seeing
as if they were poles,
measured distances, lances
in battle.
Then I think of a room
just abandoned
where similar traces remain
for a time, suspended and intersecting
in the balance of their design
intact and overlapping, like


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