The Guest in the Wood: A Selection of Poems 2004-2007

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9780988478763: The Guest in the Wood: A Selection of Poems 2004-2007
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WINNER OF THE 2014 BEST TRANSLATED BOOK AWARD. Translated from the Italian by Diana Thow, Sarah Stickney, and Eugene Ostashevsky. Introduction by Angelina Oberdan. THE GUEST IN THE WOOD offers selections from L'ospite / The Guest (2004) and Nel Bosco / Into the Wood (2007). Cryptic, searching, probing, these are innovative poems of the mysteries of the body, of everyday life, of mortality. In the preface, Angelina Oberdan compares Biagini's concise diction to Emily Dickinson, her lines to Kay Ryan, her terseness to Ellen Bryant Voight. Oberdan writes that in her intense interaction with contemporary American poets, many of whom she has translated into Italian, Biagini "started to feel the responsibility to write about the taboo or what makes us uncomfortable."

"There's masochism and martyrdom as in family life and love gone weary. Domestic images of food, kitchenware, ironing board, are laced with the threat of violence in which the poet might eat her guest, or be eaten. Maps lead nowhere. Yet anyone reading these surreal poems will find in them a mirror. For are we not each lost? Are we not each entrapped? Are we not each fearfully mortal? Of our inescapable human situation, Biagini has created, as if under a spell, a rare and compelling beauty." Alicia Ostriker

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About the Author:

Elisa Biagini, born in Florence in 1970, earned her PhD at Rutgers University and taught Italian at Rutgers, Columbia University and New York University. Her poetry has appeared in numerous Italian and American journals, such as Poesia, Linea d'ombra and Lungfull. She has six collections of poetry in Italian, of which the most recent is Nell'osso/Into the Bone (Damocle, 2012). Her poetry has been translated into a dozen languages, and she has translated American poets into Italian for the anthology Nuovi Poeti Americani (Einaudi, 2006). Elisa Biagini lives in Florence and teaches creative writing, literature and art history in Italy and abroad. She collaborates with musicians, artists and choreographers, and participates in poetry workshops and festivals in Europe and places as far away as Hong Kong.

Review:

There's masochism and martyrdom as in family life and love gone weary. Domestic images of food, kitchenware, ironing board, are laced with the threat of violence in which the poet might eat her guest, or be eaten. Maps lead nowhere. Yet anyone reading these surreal poems will find in them a mirror. For are we not each lost? Are we not each entrapped? Are we not each fearfully mortal? Of our inescapable human situation, Biagini has created, as if under a spell, a rare and compelling beauty. --Alicia Ostriker

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