(2023, New York Review Books)
The English poetry of
Amelia Rosselli (1930-1996)
With an introduction by
Barry Schwabsky, art critic and poet
Moderated by Ara H. Merjian, NYU
Follow the livestream here:
Amelia Rosselli is one of the great poets of postwar Italy, and recognized as such throughout Europe. She was also a musician and musicologist, close to John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen, and she waged a lifelong battle against depression. The child of Carlo Rosselli, a major figure in the resistance to Mussolini who was assassinated with his brother Nello in 1937, Rosselli grew up in exile and went to high school in Scarsdale, making her fluent in English. English poetry, especially the lyrics and sonnets of Shakespeare and the Elizabethans, became a prime reference for her own poetry, which mingles formal experimentation with memories of traditional forms to evoke the struggles of an embattled conscience.
Rosselli's English poems, some of which were published by John Ashbery in the 1960s, are a major part of her body of work and are invariably included in Italian editions of her collected works. Sleep, the title under which Rosselli herself gathered these poems, is the first publication of her haunting and utterly original English oeuvre by an English publisher, the NYRB.