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Diadem

Poems by Marosa di Giorgio

Translated by Adam Giannelli

BOA Editions, 2012

Lannan Translation Selection Series, 2012

Shortlist, PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, 2013


Marosa di Giorgio has one of the most distinct and recognizable voices in Latin American letters. Her childhood in the countryside profoundly influenced her poems which all take place in the same imaginary landscape—a farm enveloped by gardens and orchards. The poems revolve around the life of a young girl, similar to the protagonist in Alice in Wonderland, who escapes from her mother and family to interact with the surrounding flora and fauna. Throughout her prose fragments, all things—dolls, foxes, butterflies, grandparents—intermingle through endless exchanges that result in both eroticism and brutality.

“The English word anthology depends on the Greek for flower: we collect into a bouquet. Adam Giannelli, by contrast, eloquently collects the small, intense, jewel-like prose-poems of Marosa di Giorgio and resets them into an elegant, rich diadem: not transitory flowers but harder, fiercer: gems of memory, whimsy, hope, and holiness.”

Stephen Tapscott

“In Marosa di Giorgio’s country, death suddenly floats by, so thin, wearing an organdy dress, and the foxes lie down at once with schoolgirls, and there are violets that tell tales and bells in the fields. A magnet, unflinchingly, testifies with each step to the sanctity of reality. And so, each friction becomes concord, each dearth, abundance. ‘Imperfection,’ wrote Yves Bonnefoy, ‘is the summit’—something this poet knows well and commemorates, while sprinkling over her verses ‘a mildly malignant herb to make the dish more enigmatic.’”

María Negroni

 
 

Praise

“Somehow in di Giorgio’s luminous, hypnotizing prose, each poem comes to seem like a carefully cast spell, a precise intoxication that lingers uneasily at the edge of consciousness. To read a poem by di Giorgio is to encounter the exquisite beauty of an exotic plant that may or may not prove lethal.”

G. C. Waldrop, Kenyon Review Online

“It is fortuitous, then, that Adam Gianelli’s compelling translations, which appear alongside the Spanish texts, capture many of the tonal and rhythmic nuances of the original poems, including two trademark features of di Giorgio’s style: idiosyncratic punctuation and unexpected shifts from prose to verse.”

Tony Leuzzi, Double Room

“These poems, or prose poems, are both unconventional and timeless, sharing the space of confusion and simplicity in the same breath.”

Rhys Nixon, HTML Giant

“A sensitive and poetically vibrant translation by Adam Giannelli provides a compelling context to experience the rich tapestry of [di Giorgio’s] work as it extends over a lifetime of writing in her distinct poetic idiom.”

Thomas Sanfilip, Rattle

“Di Giorgio’s work is well treated, and Giannelli has taken obvious care with his presentation.”

Patrick James Dunagan, New Pages