Alfredo de Palchi
Translated from the Italian by John Taylor
Xenos Books in collaboration
with Chelsea Editions.
Bilingual. 121 pages, $15.
Author Biography | Read Selection
Available through Small Press Distribution
ALFREDO DE PALCHI (1926-2020), recently deceased, was one of the major Italian poets of the last century and the beginning of the present century. He was born in Legnano, near Verona. As a teenager in World War II Italy, he was grabbed by self-proclaimed authorities, charged with a murder and thrown into prison. There he was tortured, but refused to confess. A fellow prisoner told him about François Villon, and he scratched his first poem on the wall of his cell. He spent the years of 1945-1951 in prison. In 1955 the Court of Assizes in Venice cleared him of charges, and after sojourns in Paris and Barcelona he came to America. Continuing to publish in his native tongue in Italy, he published bilingual editions of his work in New York with deft English translations, first by Isidore Salomon, then by Sonia Raiziss, and lastly by John Taylor. More than any other person in America, he faithfully promoted Italian poetry and prose, both with the New York journal Chelsea, which he ran from 1960 to 2007, and with his non-profit publishing house Chelsea Editions, which remained active up to the time of his death in August from leukemia.
His first poetry collection, Sessioni con l'analista [Sessions with My Analyst], appeared in 1967 with Mondadori and won immediate acclaim. In the United States, following Sessions, he published exclusively with Xenos Books: The Scorpion's Dark Dance (1993), Anonymous Constellation (1997), Addictive Aversions (1999), Nihil (2017), The Aesthetics of Equilibrium (2019) and now Terminal Events. He issued his collected works in 2013 with Chelsea Editions under the title Paradigm: New and Selected Poems 1947-2009.
De Palchi's work has been widely analyzed by critics and fellow poets, notably in A Life Gambled in Poetry: Homage to Alfredo de Palchi (Gradiva Publications, 2011); Guiseppe Panella's The Poetry of Alfredo de Palchi: An Interview and Three Essays (Chelsea Editions, 2013); Plinio Perilli's Il cuore animale. Vita/romanzo e poesia/messaggio di Alfredo de Palchi [The Animal Heart. /Life/Fiction and Poetry/The Message of Alfredo de Palchi] (Imperìa, 2016); and Giorgio Linguaglossa's La poesia di Alfredo de Palchi (Edizioni Projetto Cultura, 2017), and several special issues of journals.
JOHN TAYLOR is an American writer, critic and translator who lives in France. He has previously translated de Palchi's Nihil (2017) and The Aesthetics of Equilibrium (2019). His translation of the Italian poet Lorenzo Calogero, An Orchid Shining in the Hand: Selected Poems 1932-1960, appeared in 2015. He has also translated two books by Franca Mancinelli, The Little Book of Passage (2018) and At an Hour's Sleep from Here (2020), both by Bitter Oleander Press. Besides these Italian projects, Taylor has translated many French poets: Philippe Jaccottet, Jacques Dupin, Pierre-Albert Jourdan, José-Flore Tappy, Louis Calaferte, Catherine Colomb and Pierre Chappuis. His critical essays on European literature were published consecutively in five volumes by Transaction Publishers. He is the author of several volumes of prose and poetry, three of which have been published by Xenos Books: The Apocalypse Tapestries (2004), Now the Summer Came to Pass (e-book 2012) and The Dark Brightness (2017). His personal website: http://johntaylor-author.com/en/about-johntaylor/
The great Italian poet, Alfredo de Palchi, died in August of this year at age 93 after a long, defiant and mocking poetical battle with "Lady Leukemia." Translator John Taylor previously wrote: "Amazing Alfredo de Palchi! Ever since the turn of the century, which also coincides with his increasing and serious health problems, the hard-working and very determined Italian poet continues to aim his frank and fierce poetry at endings, not to mention apocalypses. Although this theme is also present in his early work, it nonetheless now stands in greater contrast to another key theme that runs through his previous writing: the search for and examination of the origin, the first principle, or the first cause... the whole scope of a lifetime for this poet whose passion for living, writing poetry, and publishing work by other poets has deeply impressed all of us who have had the chance of working with him and knowing him well."
Terminal Events ends a life in poetry well planned: it presents an imagined discourse with poet Eugenio Montale, a fanciful and self-deprecatory autobiography, and a liberation of the planet Earth from the cruelty of man, with de Palchi's characteristic rage against violence, glorification of Mother Nature and love of freedom much in evidence.
Personal website: http://www.alfredodepalchi.com/
Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfredo_de_Palchi
From Terminal Events, p. 73
On November 13, 2008, the power of my open heart depends on the surgery soothsayer... with skillful hands he extracts a bad omen to graft a pigskin valve that I wouldn't have accepted if I had been awake ... the choice of a valve or silence was the soothsayer's scientific intuition... for years blood has gurgled in my throat and gushes out through my nose every morning right on time... my heart is upset by the pig's heart...
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