We over here in Hot Hot Bella Italia are very pleased to pass on the news that our friend and poet-we-like-to-translate MASSIMO GEZZI has won the category "Poesia Giovane" of the Cetonaverde Prize for 2009. We are very happy for Massimo.
This year's winner of the Premio Cetonaverde for lifetime achievement in poetry was Seamus Heaney. The prize is a biennial, very prestigious affair, decided upon by a committee of writers, editors, and journalists (many wearing multiple hats of course). The pictures were taken by Damiano in 2007, when he was accompanying Mark Strand, who won that year's prize. So we're talking some good company!
Good company deserves good poetry: below the jump you'll find a couple of Massimo's poems, in translation.
The land is heavy with memory:
from the buildings on the coast you can count
the clear outlines of the hills, to the west,
and the years that flow do not change
the landscape, the retina gets tired
by the light or by the half-cone of shadow
we’ve been watching forever—voices of birds
change with the seasons; the lights that brighten
the semidark hollow between home
and sea-front, a corridor of Balkan
snows and dawns, change with the years.
There is wisdom in this
stasis of the land, in the silent
resolution of things that remain.
Even in the weight that ages
one’s features there is wisdom: men
pass, they surrender to space,
and in doing so they realize
that passing is the only way
to be in this world. It is incredible,
everything will survive us: the tilled
land will lose all its looks and will
persist as a blur, like grandpa’s car
left outdoors and hiding in its headlights
two wasps’ nests and the morning glories
creeping in from the vegetable garden
intertwining its wheels to the clearing,
claiming it for themselves.
Venus, in front of the sun
The materiality of existence
is certain: on floors or under beds
the clumps of dust hide
the tiniest organisms, which, in the microscope,
show their shields or other carbon components,
the same as diamonds, pencils,
and the radioactive isotope C14, which allows
us to date the undatable—
therefore, if I look at Venus
like a beauty spot blotting the dazzling
surface of the sun, I think about how
finite the infinite is, and vice versa,
about how many divisions by two
are allowed by the one, the mite
the atom the quark.
POEMS BY MASSIMO GEZZI
English versions by Damiano Abeni and Moira Egan
APPEARED IN _JOURNAL OF ITALIAN TRANSLATION_ (SPRING 2008)