Valerio Magrelli; Translated from the Italian by Jamie McKendrick
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
The renowned Italian poet Valerio Magrelli has forged a unique approach for exploring the subtleties of language, a poetry of perception that takes the measure of its own veerings, “the exact degree / of deviation.” His poems are histories of the inner life that turn into X-rays of the urban and the global, and press the intelligence into the service of the senses. Magrelli’s poems condense the abstract and the intensely physical, subjecting modern experience to a minute and naked scrutiny. Not since Eugenio Montale has a poet brought together in one voice so many strands of the Italian lyric tradition and handled them with such originality.
“Magrelli’s poetry is a soliloquy written with a pencil and small notebook, during the deepest and most silent hours of the night. It is a poetry that looks at itself, but at the sight of itself vanishes.” —Octavio Paz
“What a gift, this superb selection of work from the glorious, ingenious, and essential Valerio Magrelli. For the last twenty-five years, in poems, notebooks, fragments, dreams, daydreams, Magrelli has ardently pursued the metaphysics of the uncanny, where catching a glimpse, a trace, of one’s double, is the only way to find the way to one’s self. Like spirit-photographs which, after multiple exposures, make what appears to not exist visible, these poems find language between sleeping and waking, the manifest and the un-manifest, to draw us into that hushed zone where the other world in our world emerges. Each stunning poem is a darkroom in which this magic occurs, where the visitor in each of us shows up, is opened to light, and exposed. It is powerful, poignant, courageous work, and full of lambent joy.” —Jorie Graham
“Valerio Magrelli’s poetry quietly sneaks up on the reader; at first it often seems to be translucently simple, readily accessible. However, the simplicity is deceptively complex, and the accessibility soon demands a deeper, more intense engagement. Our ears, minds, and hearts are put to the task of receiving the perceptual and linguistic subtleties of his verse, and we are all the better for it. Vanishing Points is a marvelously wrought book of translations that opens the moving intelligence of a unique poetic voice to English-language readers. I, for one, am deeply grateful.” —Rebecca West
“Magrelli’s poems make me feel good because they are so smart. Aphoristic and quirky, they seem from another millennium. I eat them up like clusters of grapes, and when I’m done I want more. I love their wry modesty, their strange truisms, and their beautiful succinctness.” —Henri Cole