Bridge to Global Literature

Let’s all remember that more and more poetry gets lost without earnest attempts at translation.Read poetry here to get a glimpse of the rhythms and resonances of languages you don’t know.

From ‘Scalene Seasons’— Edoardo Olmi

Mar 20, 2023 | Poetry | 0 comments

Translated from the Italian by Anna Aresi  


Italian Poems by Edoardo Olmi

Image used for representation.



plague spreaders’ gossip

phase 1

we are banned from progress
terminally ill in a civilization
where drones announce spring equinoxes

Olympia’s escape live-streamed at Barbara D’Urso’s
in order to apply healthcare sharia
to liberated touching spaces.

we beg for one hour of yard time
to the sacrament of #IStayHome;
we smuggle looks and dog walks

hypochondriacs from presidential decrees/
in the defense of life and the weakest

with the social distancing of (r)existences
—in the Wuhan of the lower Po valley
Goliath surrendered to a thousandth of a micron—

we wear our window grates
trying not to inhale bugs;
around the yard
in fifty-four days. 

we push the partisan guerrilla to the end of the year
telling each other that nothing
will ever be the same again.

and yet the seasons sizzle
badgers run fast along via Pietrapiana,
dolphins go hunting around Venezia’s Lido.

bears stretch their legs on the Tonale Pass;
hippos in resorts
on the Indian Ocean beaches.

the world took a few years’ sabbatical;
science reduces us to particulate particles
in the interstitial spasms of modernity. 


(Elba Songs)


In Chiessi , the fish came from the sea in the morning
after the Costa del Sole sunsets,

where one makes love overhanging the Tyrrhenian Sea ,
dodging falling rocks from Capanne.

fishing competitions with the cormorants
while the Libeccio crushes their echoes against the rocks

and you understand why one can never see Corsica
from the French shores

—paths that climb up the vines,
smelling of oleander and juniper

among the prickly pears scattered over the terraces
that go up the ruins of San Bartolomeo

but once you take on the challenge,
it is you, alone, in front of the horizon

from the mountain ridges
even giants fell in love with it
and spend their epochs lost in the abyss

resting at their side. 


metropolis (urban quarts)

guard rails on all fours
where Borussia Dortmund is a gas station,
just the time for a God Save the Queen
and everything restarts, PC included.

streetlamps like ostriches
crack open our cities’ skulls:
too many useless thoughts
jamming their heads.

rolling shutters have more art than
Palazzo Vecchio’s Wi-FI,
for the modest price of two coffees;
hair is trees in October.

(were there something, or someone, to disown—
would you?) a moonlike many others
and the alley, more than the river,
must not be revealed.

the metropolis looks like it would never end—ever
from when we’ll be happy in December,
but we had more time to drink air
and look at the stars.

…everything restarts, PC included.
on a moon like many others—for the modest price of two coffees;
too many useless thoughts jamming their heads

at the bottom of the glass, a déjà-vu in a bar. 


December 21

hands of chapped oak trees
toasting the fall sales;
raising the glasses of white seasons,
each will tell their tale.

beech trees scatter to the wind
what little baldness was left on the ground—
it floats over a stream
tall as a bottle
between the banks
of gentrification.

Christmas lights up artificial leaves on fir trees,
turns them off intermittingly on the branches of a clearing;
it’s a supremacist god’s beach-ready rehearsal
in the still-life-academy of vanities—

the willow tree bows to a 12-month Canossa
in the panting solfeggio
of an Anima Mundi .

wait for the snow
to fall on your regrets

and enjoy the cold
like shyness—

February will tell you
if the snow survived.

starlings expand and contract
at the fireworks of the winter solstice

chromatic power, synchronic hunger
—the Sieve river , already full, watches sleepily

(but what are we doing here
in front of its magenta?

the colors of civilization
crumble against it).

much more poetry than in a Freccia tricolore

because of this, the Town has pronounced them illegal,
out of the dream, it then made a myriad of termites
in the blinding darkness of the highway. 

 Also, read four Bengali poems by Debarati Mitra, translated into English by Nandini Gupta, and published in The Antonym

During The Kiss & Other Poems— Debarati Mitra

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Edoardo Olmi was born in Florence (Italy) in 1984. He is the author of Il porcospino in pegaso (The Porcupine in Pegasus, 2010), R:exist-stance (2017), and Stagioni scalene (Scalene seasons, 2021). He won the Carver award (2011), the Premio Nabokov (2017), and the Il Delfino award (2021). His poems have appeared in several Italian and international journals and blogs, including Solstice and Neke, The New Zealand Journal of Translation Studies. His poetry has also been translated into Spanish by Alberto Blanco. Together with Marco Incardona, he is currently the editor of the Affluenti book series for Edizioni Ensemble.

Anna Aresi is a US-based Italian translator and educator. She works with English, Italian, and Russian. She has translated into Italian poets such as Ewa Chrusciel, Forrest Gander, and Ilya Kaminsky, and into English poets such as Mariangela Gualtieri, Laura Corraducci, and Valerio Grutt. In 2021, she was among the winners of the All-Russia State Library for Foreign Literature & The Institute for Literary Translation “Writers of the Silver Age about War” translation contest, with a poem by Anna Akhmatova. 


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