Friday, September 10, 2010

the straw which comes apart

by Ivano Fermini.

An excellent publication from Oystercatcher Press. This pamphlet contains translations of poems by Italian poet Ivano Fermini (1948-2004) by poet and translator Ian Seed. The text includes the Italian original, which must have been tricky to translate, requiring a good knowledge of the language. At first reading, the poems are baffling, but appealing. Fermini reads like Tom Raworth, but with less Pop Art and more surrealism. However, there are, as Ian Seed pointed out to me, connections within the poems which reveal themselves gadually. Here's the poem 'carnival':


on the horizon not even
was I mute but you held the pearls
and they gather around a thunderclap
the small eagle will carry the rags
I haven't added up the waves
only fire with eyes the headstones
passing among men
the tears with a great rise and fall


I feel nothing but minced
air and strawberries
inside my eye
the confusion of furrows
packed with iron
up to the cone which hangs them
even we didn't trample on
the smile
which at the swing of the pendulum
I pulled back into my belly
a land of dead
carefully begins and it's fire
more than - the hands having been torn from the body -
I don't know the clouds

Ian Seed says:

"in 'carneval' the connections [are], by association, between 'pearls', 'sea/waves', 'headstones' ( perhaps the towering waves?) and 'the tears with a great rise and fall'.
I was so fascinated by Fermini because of the mixture of intense lyricism and disturbing qualities, and all the tenous connections. "

Interesting work, and well worth a visit to Oystercatcher's site (and a click on the Payal buttons).

1 comment:

Marisa said...

I like this kind of bafflement. Oystercatcher Press was well worth a look.