Italian Poetry on Stage


One of the questions I got after reading the poems was a simple «Why?», why this idea? Well, seeing that I am all but a laconic person, let’s start from the beginning.

The first time I took part to The poetry evening, «sketches of talent», last month, I went back home with a lot of good, positive and sparkling feelings. It was the perfect closure for my first day of work at school. I remember I was extremely tired (and fed up with the never-ending snow), yet I still had a lot of energy to drain. Kids are like that: they make you tired, yet at the same time they give you excitement and thrill. And love. Which I guess is but the trigger of excitement.

In spite of the fact that I couldn’t understand even 20% of the words of the poems and of the following discussion, as a whole, I felt completely involved into the evening. I guess such creative atmosphere would have sucked me in even if I was deaf! «For sure, the next time I would come back», I said to myself. And I did, but this time not only to listen; I wanted to be more active and give to the event not only my participation and appreciation, my full involvement and my clapping, but also some shades of myself, something Italian. Hence, the idea of translating some Italian poems from Italian to Russian and read them. Actually, to give the devil his due, the idea of translating some poems came from my friend Hanna’s advice as a way to improve my Russian when I was complaining for the umpteenth time about “how hard it is for me to learn this damn language”. Hence, followed my idea to read them at the Poetry Evening, to combine business with pleasure, as one goes.

What I did was to translate, almost literally, some Italian poems never translated before into Russian. I added a short explanation to side not only about the poems themselves but also about the authors’ life, in order to help Hanna choose the proper words. Discussing about them was the part I enjoyed the most, we ended up talking about the Silver Age, the role of the poets, the meaning of love, until we switched to our personal conception of love. Once we lost the thread of the conversation and, overwhelmed by too many words, shut the notebook and emptied our (soft) drinks.

Afterword we worked on the sound and on the rhythm.

I chose two of my favorite contemporary poets, Alda Merini and Pierpaolo Pasolini. The four poems we picked from Alda Merini deal mainly with love and with madness. This poetess (who died in 2004) spent many years moving from a psychiatric hospital to another. In spite of her chronic depression she always kept her inner eyes aware of her emotions, rather than of her mind. She deeply loved humanity and nature, universally, yet was obsessed by not being loved and by the threat of being abandoned.

Besides Alda Merini I chose a poem from Pierpaolo Pasolini, better known abroad as a moviemaker rather than as a writer or as a poet. His poem “Alla mia nazione” (“To my people” – “Моему народу”) was the most touching one, and actually the one who made a little bit my voice shake. In this poem he criticizes, using heavy and words of scorn and disdain, the attitude of his countrymen, the corruption, the injustice, the negligence and the laziness of his people. In the end, he even urges Italy to sink into its beautiful sea and set the world free from the shame it embodies.

Hanna read the Russian versions of the poems and I followed with the originals. Only for one of them, Merini’s “To a friend”, we traded places, I read in Russian and Hanna in Italian. We were so attuned that we casually wore the same colors! A satisfying cooperation, I would call it.



About actyveua

We are group of 11 EVS volunteers

Posted on March 30, 2013, in Francesca Leonardi. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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