Valentino Zeichen has lived in Rome since he was twelve, although he spent the greater part of his younger years hitchhiking around Europe and Africa. His first major publication, Area di rigore, dates from 1974. It was followed by several more, at intervals of four to five years.
Metafisica tascabile (Pocket-sized Metaphysics, 1998), has provided his selection for this year’s Poetry International festival. His latest collection, Ogni cosa a ogni cosa ha detto addio (All Things Said Goodbye To All Things), an ironical guide to Rome, may not be ready in time for the festival.
Zeichen, inveterate lounger as he is, picks much of his poetry up from the street, but for him the anecdote is not enough. His report of a flirt with a lovely tourist soon turns into a prayer to the unapproachable muse. Similarly, stories he finds on the science page of his newspaper, about cloning, molecular modification, the mechanistic world view, are no more than starting points, introductory metaphors for new quests for the essence of life. But he serves them up with tongue firmly in cheek. Zeichen is seen by many as a somewhat frivolous poet – the art of ‘light verse’ is still foreign to Italy – but he says he can live with that. He has his admirers, too.
[Valentino Zeichen took part in the Poetry International Festival Rotterdam 2000. This text was written on that occasion.]
Area di rigore (1974)
Pagine di gloria (1983)
Museo interiore (1987)
Metafisica tascabile (1997)