This class will focus on the poetry, poetics, and politics of one of the most challenging figures in European postwar verse culture: Amelia Rosselli, a polyglot poet, translator, musician, and musicologist born shortly after her activist father’s escape from the prison island of Lipari and seven years before his assassination upon order of the Italian Fascist regime. We will read and listen to selections (in translation) from several of her books, including Bellicose Variations, Hospital Series, Sleep, Document, and Impromptu, and—following some introduction by way of historical backdrop—open the floor for discussion of curiosities, vexations, and/or disclosures opened up by the poetry (and/or its translation). Possible topics to be encountered, depending on the interests and commitments of participants, include: the aftermath of modernism; “metrical spaces” and the relation between poetic form, rhythm, and space (including the opening of the field); relations between the “new music,” poetry, and postwar abstraction; polylingualism; barbarism; minor literature; poetics of dislocation and deterritorialization; politically devoted first-wave conceptualism; Fascism and the Italian Resistance; liberal socialism (Carlo and Nello Rosselli’s movement of “Justice and Liberty”); Italian leftist movements; the “years of lead”; documentary poetics; the Neo-Avant-Garde; global feminism and “feminine writing”; poetry and performance; translation as performance; and above all, the generative impossibility of translation and necessity for audacity therein. No knowledge of Italian will be necessary, though it would enrich the dialogue for some linguistic cross-currents to be present in the room. Those enrolled will receive some electronic selections but are encouraged to check out Locomotrix: Selected Poetry and Prose of Amelia Rosselli (U of Chicago P, 2012) beforehand if possible.
(photo of Amelia Rosselli courtesy of Dino Ignani https://www.facebook.com/jen.scappettone)