Patrizia Cavalli; Edited by Gini Alhadeff
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
At last, an ample English-language selection of one of contemporary poetry’s most vibrant voices
Any hall she has ever read her poetry in is invariably filled to the gills. Women like her, girls like her, and men like her, too. In Italy, Patrizia Cavalli is as beloved as Wistawa Szymborska is in Poland, and if Italy were Japan she’d be designated a national treasure. The Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben said of Cavalli that she has written “the most intensely ‘ethical’ poetry in Italian literature of the twentieth century.” One could add that it is, easily, also the most sensual and comical. Though Cavalli has been widely translated into German, French, and Spanish, My Poems Won’t Change the World is her first substantial American anthology.
The book is made up of poems from Cavalli’s collections published by Einaudi from 1974 to 2006, now freshly translated by an illustrious group of American poets, some of them already familiar with her work: Mark Strand, Jorie Graham, Jonathan Galassi, Rosanna Warren, Geoffrey Brock, J. D. McClatchy, and David Shapiro. Gini Alhadeff’s translations, which make up half the book, are the result of a five-year collaboration with Cavalli.
This edition includes the original Italian language poems alongside the English translation.
“Like Emerson, Patrizia Cavalli says the same thing over and over, and each time it is amazingly fresh and surprising. The world does change, in the telling.” —John Ashbery
“Reading Patrizia Cavalli is nothing short of ecstasy. She conjures the witty eroticism of Catullus, the purity of haiku. She articulates, with disarming precision, the instabilty, the absurdity, the exquisite anguish of love. Perhaps her poems can't change the world, but they have changed my life.” —Jhumpa Lahiri, author of The Namesake and Interpreter of Maladies
“From the first time I read Patrizia Cavalli's work—over 20 years ago—I was struck by how fresh and original her poems were. No one else could weave so much humanity in so few lines—alternately funny, savage, heartbreaking, and painfully wise. She earns the rarest compliment for a poet—she is irresistible.” —Dana Gioia, author of Can Poetry Matter? and Pity the Beautiful
Praise for Patrizia Cavalli:
“Her style is hard-bitten, on the edge. The circumstances of a poem, although private, are never merely personal, they reach out to larger, more abiding and vulnerable realities.” —J. D. McClatchy