Observations / Osservazioni (2018)

Jack Ross, ed.: Poetry NZ Yearbook 2018 (March 2018)

Books and Magazines in brief:

Claudio Pasi. Observations: Poems / Osservazione: Poesie. Trans. Tim Smith & Marco Sonzogni. ISBN 978-0-9941345-4-7. Seraph Press Translation Series No. 2. Wellington: Seraph Press, 2016. RRP $25. 40 pp.

Claudio Pasi: Observations / Osservazione (2016)

This is a truly remarkable collection of lyrics, in translation, by Italian poet Claudio Pasi. At times the poems attain an almost Mandelstam-like grace and precision, as in the last lines of the poem ‘Angor’:
a stone that presses against my chest
and takes my breath away. The ambulance
accelerates. Aerials, treetops, clouds,
chimney stacks fly past the window.
In his foreword to the book, Alessandro Fo remarks that ‘No text by Pasi is ever gratuitous or irrelevant.’ It’s hard to imagine making a more meaningful tribute to any poet. Even in so brief a compass as this, though, one has to admit the justice of his words. As Fo goes on to say:
Pasi’s poetics are characterised by an empathetic and moving attention to the little things – the mini-dramas – of life: those ‘normal’ but dramatic events in the day-to-day happenings of a person, family, or community.
The poems included here, in subtle and nuanced versions by graduate student Tim Smith (with the help of Marco Sonzogni) don’t shy away from the big issues, either: Fascism, the Second World War, and even (of particular interest to me, I must confess) the probable fate of Marcantonio Raimondi, Pietro Aretino’s collaborator on that most notorious of 16th century pornographic books I Modi [The Positions].<


Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2018. ISBN 978-0-9941473-3-2 (March 2018): 333.

[241 wds]

Poetry NZ Yearbook 2017

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