Friday, December 31, 2010

Ada Negri’s Songs of the Island

In December Italica Press published Songs of the Island, the second of two dual-language editions of one of Italy’s most important twentieth-century poets, Ada Negri.

Toward the end of March 1923, Negri enjoyed a brief holiday in Sicily and from there she went to the island of Capri, where she stayed for about a year and wrote I Canti dell’Isola/Songs of the Island. These poems are the result of the blinding light of the island, the ardor of a holiday both physical and spiritual. They embody “the magic of the tangible and the flashes of invisible reality,” and express the poet’s hour of quiet and reflection.

Via the impressionistic sweep of these images, the poet transports us with Capri’s explosion of light and color. Enchanted by pearls, amethyst and jade, the mythological sea of Ulysses, the unstoppable bleeding of poppies, climbing purple roses, and the castaways of dreams, the reader wants to be seduced, if only for a moment, by this world of the senses.

Songs of the Island is translated, with an introduction and bibliography, by Maria A. Costantini. Italica Press has published this edition in both hardcover and paperback editions, and will soon make it available for the Kindle and other handhelds.

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