Francesca Pellegrino

Chernobylove
The Day after the Wind
Selected Poems 2008-2010

Selected, edited & translated by Adria Bernardi

 


Paperback, 283 pages
ISBN 978-0-9884787-7-0
$20

 

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FRANCESCA PELLEGRINO was born in Taranto, Italy, where she currently lives. Her works include a chapbook, L'Enunciato/ Enunciation (Libraria Padovana Editrice), published in the series Donne in poesia in 2008, Dimentico sempre di dare l'acqua ai sogni / I Always Forget to Water the Dreams (Kimerik 2009) and Niente di personale / Nothing Personal (Samiszdat 2009). Chernobylove II giorno dopo il vent appeared in 2010 (Kimerik). Selections from all four of these works are included in the present Chelsea collection. Her work has appeared in various literary magazines, including La Clessidra (Joker Editore) and La Mosca di Milano (La Vita Felice); translations of her poems by Emanuele di Pasquale have appeared in Journal of Italian Translation and Gradiva. In 2011, she organized a poetry exhibition, Sezioni, as well as a multimedia exhibition, Naturamorta live, in Grottaglie, Taranto. She is a coordinator of the literary magazine LibrAria.

ADRIA BERNARDI received the 2007 Raiziss/de Palchi Translation Award of the American Academy of Poets for Small Talk, a translation of poetry written in the romagnole dialect by the Italian poet Raffaello Baldini. She has also translated Siren's Song, prose and poetry of Rinaldo Caddeo; Adventures in Africa, a work of nonfiction by Gianni Celati; and the poetry of Italian screenwriter Tonino Guerra in the collection Abandoned Places. She is the author of the novels Openwork (Southern Methodist University Press, 2007) and The Day Laid on the Altar (University Press of New England, 1999), which was awarded the Bakeless Fiction Prize, and a collection of short stories, In the Gathering Woods, (winner of the Drue Heinz Prize, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000). She is also the author of an oral history, Houses with Names: The Italian Immigrants of Highwood, Illinois (University of Illinois Press, 2000). She has taught at the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.


"Remarkable for a compression of form and the multiplicity of meanings that emanates from those few short lines, the poems of Francesca Pellegrino survey and inhabit a terrain that is contemporary Italy – its excesses and its silences, as well as the internal and external pressures, particularly those upon women, of those who live internal lives while actively navigating an external, contemporary world. Each collection reflects and has traveled in tandem with a course of a wider cultural crisis; on one level we can read these poems as externalized versions of today's headlines – the economic and financial crises of Italy and the corruption of its institutions."

~ from the Translator's Note by Adria Bernardi



REVIEWS

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"Direct, ironic, ferocious; possessing the terse and flexible musculature of those who practice jiu jitsu."

~ Alfredo de Palchi

"If you look at each single word, you'll find a flinch in it, a sudden nervous twitch that makes it new and gives it a forcefulness all its own."

~ Gianmario Lucini

"Francesca Pellegrino's poetry gives voice to the things great-and-small that, even in absentia, delineate existence and its not-always luminous outlines."

~ Teresa Ferri


"Francesca Pellegrino continues along an introspective course – from that which was, to that which is – self-investigating and tirelessly delving deeper."

~ Raimondo Venturiello




 

Selections

From Chernobylove:
The Day After the Wind

 

 

Poetess Francesca Pellegrino

 

From Dimentico sempre di dare l'acqua ai sogni /
I Always Forget to Water the Dreams

Stars

Siamo quello che siamo
macerie di decenza.
Alla fine
c'è soltanto un unico sole
e ogni tanto qualche pianeta
qualche piccolo stupidissimo pianeta
che ci si illumina e
s'improvvisa stella .o poeta.
Del resto
anche Hitler suonava il violino.

Stars

We are what we are
respectable stone heaps.
In the end
there's only one sun
and every so often some planet
some small stupid planet
that illuminates us and
extemporizes into star .o poet.
As for the rest
even Hitler played the violin.


From Chernobylove - II giorno dopo il vent /
Chernobylove: The Day After the Wind

Chanel n. 5

Non sono soltanto rimasta
io son anche il resto di ieri
quando sembrava tutto troppo facile.
Di contro, poi
I baci hanno dismesso le labbra
e se ne stanno appesi all'invisibile.
Irriverenti. Immaginando
il profumo degli scheletri
dopo le tempeste.

Chanel No. 5

I am not only what lingers
I am also what remains of a yesterday
when it all seemed too easy.
By contrast, afterwards
kisses shed lips
and remained suspended in air. Invisible.
Edgy. Imagining
the perfume of skeletons
following tempests.

Simmenthal

Il giro
è lo stesso di sempre:
arrivo fino alla fine del giorno
e torno indietro.
In mezzo ci sta la solita farmacia
un negozio di scarpe
ed il macellaio – che si chiederà ormai
che fine abbia fatto l'amore
dalle mie mani.
E intanto abbassa la saracinesca.

SPAM

It's always
the same routine:
I almost reach the end of the day
and start over.
In the middle,
there's the same pharmacy
a shoe store
and the butcher – who'll now wonder
how love turned out
in my hands
as he's lowering the shutter.

Alkaseltzer

Mi sembrava di stare sopra i vetri con le parole.
Per questo ho preferito tacere
masticando una chewingum arrotolata in tasca
contro la dimenticanza.
Inutile dire che dentro fosse guerra aperta
e che quel silenzio me lo ritrovavo in bocca
come qualcosa che non hai digerito bene
la sera prima e
che ti fa il cuore piccolo la mattina sugli occhi.

Alka-Seltzer

It seemed I was on glass with words.
For this reason I preferred to be remain silent
chewing a piece of gum wadded up in my pocket
so as not to forget.
There's no point in saying inside it was open war
and that I discovered that silence in my mouth
in the form of something you had not digested well
the previous evening and
which in the morning leaves your heart a miniature on the eyes.

Una guerra

C'è una bomba che può scoppiare
da un silenzio all'altro
improvvisamente
e non so se riuscirò a govenare
tutto quel buio, dopo. O quella luce.

A war

Between one silence and another
there's a bomb that can explode
unexpectedly
and I don't know if I will succeed in managing
all that darkness, afterwards. Or that light.

 

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