A PERSONAL ANTHOLOGY
New translations I’m making of some of my favourite Italian poems
Talking about Italian poems to friends here in China - where poetic tradition is much appreciated - I realise that many have been badly translated and others that I have enjoyed for many years have never even been translated into English. So the idea here is to gradually build a small anthology, usually one poem for each of thirty or so of the most interesting poets since the first poetry was written in the modern Italian language in the 13th century - notably at the court of the cultivated Emperor Frederick II. At the other end of the spectrum is a contemporary poet, Antonio Conte, who I have met.
It is a fairly random anthology of favourite poems, not an academic exercise, and I think of it as another blog. But I will make fresh or new translations so that they are readable to a contemporary audience - unlike many 18th and 19th century translations which are often as hard to understand as the originals.
The first one posted, for example, by Francesco Berni, is a brief 16th century satire which I have tried to make as colloquial and amusing as the original. Others, by the painter Michelangelo or the film director Pasolini for example, are more difficult but fascinating; the great Italian poets like Dante and Petrarch will be represented by shorter works like sonnets.
The Anthology is very much a work-in-progress, beginning in April 2016 and ending when it ends.
A minimum of biography and explanation will be given below each poem. More general information may easily found online nowadays.