Friday, December 31, 2010

Ada Negri’s The Book of Mara

This December Italica Press published two dual-language volumes by one of Italy’s most important twentieth-century poets, Ada Negri. Both are translated, with an introduction and bibliography, by Maria A. Costantini. The first, The Book of Marareflects Negri’s tormented love affair with a man whose life was cut short by premature death. It is, in essence, one long poem arising from a woman’s most intimate space  — a most passionate expression of love, loss and redemption. Written in 1919 with unusual frankness, especially in view of Italian society of the time, Il Libro di Mara is considered the high point of Negri’s poetic work.

Through metrical and formal execution, The Book of Mara demonstrates the originality of her verse, which opens up to a more personal dimension — almost prose-like. Her verse is impressionistic, almost mystical, spanned with bristling lyrics, sudden igniting bursts and visionary flashes.

Italica Press has published this edition in both hardcover and paperback editions, and will soon make it available for the Kindle and other handhelds.

1 comment :

  1. "The Book of Mara," translated by Maria Costantini is truly a monumental achievement. As evidenced in this work, Ms. Costantini is a brilliant scholar who, by reflecting back on poetry written a century ago, brings to life a creation the celebrated Italian poet Ada Negri would be very proud of; spiritually speaking, is proud of. The translations are lovingly faithful to the original, yet give a renewed meaning to Negri's profound words in a light that now expands and reaches out in English to multiple readers. Ms. Costantini’s translations represent the crossing from one language, culture, and passage of one time period to another beautifully, bringing to a deeper level of understanding the universal experience of loving. The poems mirror the heart of any woman (or man), anywhere, anytime, who has loved and lost. The poems are so rhythmically intriguing and filled with passion you will not want to put the book down until reading the final word of the final sentence.