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 from the Artist’s Book Poetry— Paola Mancinelli

Jan 30, 2024 | Poetry | 0 comments



This passing of days around life
a childhood game
a feather dance among the whirlwinds.
One more wrinkle on the world and you laugh.
The white-haired trees, their thick roots.
And you move like the first step
you still listen to the rain falling on leaves,
the sky and its music.


Measure, what a massive claim.
You state the distance as if you could calculate
the digit that contains you.
An infinite number raised to the power of speaking:
this runs through your veins and counts the steps,
verse after verse.
The rhythm of breathing belongs to you,
a moment is a century.
And you still do not learn how big
the temporal bone is.


Search inside, in the white of bones
in the silence they release as they stretch.
In the surface of the skull, the vault of heaven,
the apex of the sacrum.


Nothing to do when all is silent,
there is nothing to do but listen.
The voice of air and heaven
the bud and its obstinacy,
the stem that rises, straight
like a spinal column,
and then the pollen, aerial love
that zigzagging travels.
Everything here is a feeling,
even the word kneels down
apologises for trying to tell it all.

One day you enter time and you are.
On that day, not another, you become.
In the depths of flesh you learn the sound of water.
You come from the liquid of your father.
You come into your mother’s liquid.
You listen to them. They listen to you move.
You do not know you are seen even before you enter the light.
You have the patience of the wise.
You form yourself according to nature, without haste,
bone by bone: human tissue in evolution.
How many eras have you already completed?
Everyone chooses a name for you.
They do not know that you know the languages of the world.


Also, read “Between Longings for what was and the Epiphanies of the Beyond: A Review of Hélène Cardona’s Life in Suspension” by Hiranya Mukherjee published in The Antonym:

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Paola Mancinelli

Paola Mancinelli

  1. Paola Mancinelli (Taranto, 1974). She is a teacher, poet and visual artist. Poems in the anthologies Sinfonìa de huellas, Un insieme di tracce. Sei poeti italiani, FormArti 2023, Taranto, citta della poesia, Macabor (2022), and Sud. Viaggio nella poesia delle donne (Volume Two), Macabor (2020). Poetry collection La resa del grazie, Giuliano Ladolfi Editore (2019), with a preface by Giovanna Rosadini, and artist’s book Poesia, tempo presente. La parola e il tempo, Print Me (2014). Poems published in Atelier, Versante ripido, Perìgeion, Farapoesia, Centro Cultural Tina Modotti, and Repubblica Bari in the La Bottega della Poesia column. She co-edited the anthology Postcards from Puglia for L’Erudita, Giulio Perrone Editore 2023 and the anthology of short stories La Puglia in vespa, Affiori editore, 2023. Special Jury Prize, 2nd Edition of the Premio Poesia Inedita Poeti Oggi 2022, First Prize, 9th Edition of the International Poetry Competition “Parasio – City of Imperia” 2022 and Grand Jury Prize, 29th Edition of the Premio Nazionale di Poesia Inedita “Ossi di seppia”. Member of the online editorial staff of Atelier magazine for which she edits the column Visual on the Twentieth Century.

Patrick Williamson


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