Please join translator Deborah Woodard for the book launch of her newest Amelia Rosselli translation, Obtuse Diary (Entre Ríos Books, 2018).
Obtuse Diary is a collection of “rational” prose experiments by one of Italy’s most distinctive post-modern poets. These three early texts (1954-1968) by Amelia Rosselli reveal an “unintentional unity” through juxtapositions of form, languages, and syntactic structure. Neither a diary nor an autobiography, the texts are deeply personal, awkward and startling.
“The three texts reveal that experimenting in prose is what attracts me: it is equally true and likely that more can be said in prose than in poetry, which is often mannerist or decorative.”—Amelia Rosselli
Tonight’s reading will both in English and Italian.
Take a listen to sections of the text at Entre Ríos Soundcloud (an audio download comes with the book):https://soundcloud.com/user-
Deborah Woodard lives in Seattle. She holds an MFA from the University of California at Irvine and a PhD from the University of Washington. She is the author of two collections of poetry, Plato’s Bad Horse (Bear Star Press, 2006) and Borrowed Tales (Stockport Flats, 2012), and three chapbooks, including Hunter Mnemonics (hemel press, 2008), illustrated by artist Heide Hinrichs. Her collection of playlets, No Finis: Triangle Testimonies, 1911, with illustrations by John Burgess, is forthcoming from Ravenna Press. She has translated the poetry of Amelia Rosselli in The Dragonfly: A Selection of Poems: 1953–1981 (Chelsea Editions, 2009) with Giuseppe Leporace and Hospital Series (New Directions, 2015) with Roberta Antognini and Giuseppe Leporace. She teaches hybrid literature and creative writing classes at Hugo House.
A trilingual writer, who described herself as “a poet of exploration,” Amelia Rosselli has only recently been recognized as one of the major European poets of the twentieth century. Born in Paris in 1930, she was the daughter of the martyred antifascist philosopher Carlo Rosselli and the British political activist Marion Cave. Raised in exile, in France, Switzerland, England and New York — in her interviews, Rosselli remembers her years in the US with great fondness — she finally settled in Italy after the war, first in Florence and then in Rome. Except for a year she spent in London in the mid-seventies, Rosselli never left Rome, where she took her own life in 1996. The tragedy of her father’s death and the loss of her mother when she was only nineteen were central to Rosselli, defining her writings in many different ways: from her “trilingual language” and cosmopolite upbringing — though she thought of herself more as a refugee — to her political engagement and deep social consciousness. Rosselli was the author of eight collections of poetry (one, Sleep, in English), a translator of Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath among others, and an accomplished musicologist and musician who played the violin, the piano and the organ. Obtuse Diary, Rosselli’s only work in prose, was published in its present format in 1990.