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.

Poems by Valerio Grutt

Apr 9, 2022 | Poetry | 0 comments

Translated from the Italian by Patrick Williamson
From “A city called six o’clock in the morning” (Edizioni della Meridiana, 2009)

I’m hovering on the crooked balcony
and you come with your soul on your shoulder

you don’t know what to say
you come from where the birds play the lottery

with borrowed wings
come and say: there’s no time

I’ve already put the pasta in
my love.

*

I would make the dawn and sky lines
out of the marks left by the pillow
on your newly-awake face, wonder
as you emerge from sleep and come like birds
by day, your laughter is calling the good
by name, you lift up flower nets with your gaze.
Fire and borders, yellow evenings carry the breeze
of your breath, I feel you exist in the wind
that bends umbrellas, in the chest open
against the night that descends on you.
I want to be with you the wave that rises
and becomes cloud, be like the bright pollen
on the fields and light that frees the corners.

__

From “Give me your news and a kiss to everyone” (Interno Poesia, 2018)

Never forget you’re alive
even when the room sets
and voices become distant
even when the pain covers you
closes your face and halts
the film of the children, the few lovers.
You never forget that you’re here
where there is no death
and the show doesn’t leave you in peace.
The sun multiplies
beyond the mountains, new doors
opening in the eyes of meetings
and this heart of mine beats only
while your breath rises.

*

I’m on the brink of something happening
at the bus stop
the church could collapse
with its bell tower, the pizzeria sign
or the sky split open and show us
the spectacle finally
of an open paradise of lightning
and angels. I’ve got my phone in my hand
my mother could call me
or another voice that no longer exists.
I am sinking with my holed
Converse in the mud of the moment
and I’m waiting but maybe it’s already happened
the No. 14 come and gone, it’s gone already
all the enthusiasm.
Quake earth, move wind
so I may raise the cross
of being and finding, among these ruins,
the luminous fragments that composed
the splendour, among the rays.

*

The hands of those you love
are fountains of light
you hold them tightly as handles
in storms and falls.
The hands of those you love
are houses to shelter in
and pipes and tunnels and cables
where love runs
without stopping and branches
rise up and pierce
clouds and stars, they’re bread
and soups, and flights, ships.
The hands of those you love
not even death
takes them out of your hands.

*

My friends are strange people
and I don’t see them very often
they visit the day like iguanas
and at night they forget
where they’ve parked.
They do jobs they don’t understand
they always have their phones out
and in their eyes the eyes
of when they built houses
with sofa cushions.

To recognise each other we open shells
that make lightning flash,
we find them in our pockets without knowing it.

My friends laugh like water
and they broke a thousand screws to get here
they unscrewed the spiral of galaxies
drank beer with the angels
and they say it was an accident.
But I know that they came
to empty the pockets of tears
to show a heart that sings
from the balconies of sleep.

__

Photo credit: Dino Ignani

Valerio Grutt

Valerio Grutt

Valerio Grutt was born in Naples in 1983. He has published Una città chiamata le sei di mattina (Edizioni della Meridiana, 2009), Qualcuno dica buonanotte (Alla chiara fonte editore, 2013), the pamphlet Andiamo (Pulcinoelefante, 2013), Però qualcosa chiama – Poema del Cristo velato (Edizioni Alos, 2014), Dammi tue notizie e un bacio a tutti (Interno Poesia, 2018), Tutto l’amore nelle mani (VG, 2019) and L’amuleto – Appunti sul potere di guarigione della poesia (AnimaMundi, 2021). Some of his texts can be found in the collections Subway – Poeti italiani underground (Ed. Il saggiatore 2006), Centrale di Transito (Perrone Editore 2016) and Fuoco. Terra. Aria. Acqua (Terra d’ulivi 2017). Director of the Centre for Contemporary Poetry at the University of Bologna from 2013 to 2016. His research blends the fields of music and visual art, he creates performances and installations. He currently works with Interno Poesia, a blog and publishing house.

www.valeriogrutt.it

Patrick Williamson

Patrick Williamson

Patrick Williamson is an English poet and translator. Most recent poetry collections: Traversi (English-Italian, Samuele Editore, 2018), Beneficato (SE, 2015), Gifted (Corrupt Press, 2014), Nel Santuario (SE, 2013; Menzione speciale della Giuria in the XV Concorso Guido Gozzano, 2014). Editor and translator of The Parley Tree, Poets from French-speaking Africa and the Arab World (Arc Publications, 2012) and translator notably of Max Alhau (France), Tahar Bekri (Tunisia), Gilles Cyr (Quebec), as well as Italian poets Guido Cupani and Erri de Luca. Recent translations in Transference, Metamorphoses, The Tupelo Quarterly, and poems in The Black Bough, The Fortnightly Review notably. Longstanding collaborator with artists’ book publisher Transignum, member of the editorial committee of La Traductière, and founding member of transnational literary agency Linguafranca.

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