Gian Mario Villalta was born in Visinale di Pasiano (Pordenone) in 1959. After receiving his Laurea degree in literature at the University of Bologna with a thesis on the rhetoric of the literary and philosophical text, he made his poetic debut in the magazine Alfabeta in 1986.
Subsequently his texts were published in numerous reviews and anthologies, and translated into French, English, Dutch, Slovenian and Serbian. Villalta is the author of numerous critical works and essays published in many reviews (including Baldus, Diverse Lingue, Tratt, Poetiche, Studi di Estetica, and Testo a Fronte) and collections. A poet, fiction writer, critic and playwright, Gian Mario Villalta lives and works in Pordenone where he is the coordinator and artistic director of the literary festival Pordenonelegge and of many other events in Friuli and northeast Italy.
Villalta’s poetic quest begins in the wake of the rebirth and rediscovery of dialect poetry (in his case a strange and calibrated mixture of Venetian and Friulano), but he also branches out into the sphere of ‘traditional’ Italian. Attention to language (so profoundly linked to a sense of identity and belonging) is intertwined in an indissoluble way with an interest in the theme of time and the relationship between past and present. This idea of time is often tied to the disintegration of our own sense of identity.
Villalta’s poetry describes reality in a simple and precise way. As the author himself affirms, “I have abandoned the work of colouring reality through metaphors or something that could seem like the mind’s contribution to visible reality. What I would like to do, I don’t know if I manage but I try, is to let things enter me so deeply that I can simply say how they are. Technically it works through simplifications, passages and exclusions like in all art forms, with rules to respect that are born of a basic idea: let reality pass, let it enter into the movements of the body, into the way of seeing things, and try to give it a form. It is often a very simple form: we have had in the past century very high level poetry that did the opposite, but in my opinion we can’t go down that road any longer.”
More about Villalta’s poetry
Some questions about poetry
Villalta on “Rhythm” and “The Voice of Poetry”
Previously unpublished notes of Villalta on rhythm and voice.
Gian Mario Villalta on self-translation.
Critics’ notes on Villalta
Notes by Andrea Zanzotto, Franco Fortini and Emanuele Trevi.
Poetry in dialect:
Altro che storie!, Campanotto, Udine, 1988. Written in his hometown dialect. Was awarded with the S. Vito Prize.
Vose de Vose/Voce di voci, Campanotto, Udine, 1995. A collection of poetry in the Venetian-Friulano dialect of Visinale, with a preface by Giovanni Tesio. Was awarded with the Lanciano Prize.
L’ass ingrevà de la tera/L’asse storto della terra, in “Cinque poeti in dialetto veneto”, In forma di parole, III, 1998. With a note by Andrea Zanzotto.
Poetry in Italian:
L’erba in Tasca, Scheiwiller, Milan, 1992. With a critical note by Franco Fortini. Was awarded with the Laura Nobile Prize, Siena.
Malcerti animali, in Poesia Contemporanea, Terzo Quaderno Italiano, Guerini e Associati, Milan, 1992. With a note by Stefano Dal Bianco.
Nel buio degli alberi, Circolo culturale di Meduno, Osoppo (Udine), 2001. Preface by Emanuele Trevi.
Un dolore riconoscente, Editori Associati (Transeuropa), Milan 2000. Short stories.
Tuo figlio, Mondadori, Milan, 2004. Novel, awarded with the Vittorini Prize.
La costanza del vocativo. Lettura della “trilogia” di Andrea Zanzotto: Il Galateo in Bosco, Fosfeni, Idioma, Guerini e Associati, Milan 1992.
La mimesis è finita. Il concetto di mimesi da Aristotele a Paul Ricoeur, Mucchi, Modena 1996.
Andrea Zanzotto, Le Poesie e Prose Scelte, “I Meridiani” Mondadori, Milan, 1999. Edited by Stefano Dal Bianco and Gian Mario Villalta.
Andrea Zanzotto, Scritti sulla letteratura, Mondatori, Milan, 2001. Edited by Gian Mario Villalta.
The literary festival in Pordenone.