Valerio Magrelli (Rome, 1957) is the author of four poetry collections, for which he has won the Mondello Prize, the Viareggio Prize for poetry, and the Montale Prize. In November 2003 the Accademia dei Lincei awarded him the Premio Antonio Feltrinelli. A professor of French literature at the University of Cassino, he is also a frequent contributor to the cultural pages of several Italian dailies. His poems have been translated into English, French, Spanish and a number of other languages.
VALERIO MAGRELLI, now in his early forties, represents, to this reader at least, a new moment in Italian poetry. In the good-natured ease with which he shows off his mastery of the traditional tools of his trade, and the elegant way he lets the reader know he knows that writing is about writing, he advertises his membership in an international con-fraternity whose current English-language practi-tioners include Mark Strand and, especially, Paul Muldoon. Magrelli, a scholar of French literature and an experienced translator, is obsessed by the "translation" involved in all writing, and thus by language games that reveal the complex inner life of words;[…] Language itself is, naturally, one of this poet's prime subjects; Dante, he tells us, in a typically cheeky, inspired acrostic, is the "DNA of poETry," and the structure of his terza rima is the literary double-helix that contains "the future of the mother tongue" in the same way that the ur-poet's name magically incorporates life's ultimate building block. I know of no other Italian poet today who writes with such a capacious grasp of the enormous, still-to-be-discovered potentialities of the great treasure-house of Italian. Here is a writer whose energy and gifts open a doorway onto an expansive future.
"I used to read a great many Italian poets. Nowhere near as many in recent years-though I've seen things by a young poet that I like very much. His name is Magrelli."
"His poetry is a soliloquy written with a pencil and a small note-book, during the latest and most silent hours of the night. It's a poetry that looks at itself, but at the sight of its thought, vanishes."
“Confirming the praise already received as one of the higher and more reliable expressions of the poesia nuova, Valerio Magrelli is now being recognized in realms outside those usually associated with poetry. Federico Fellini comes to mind, walking through Rome, saying, ‘You just can’t ignore reading Magrelli.’”
"Molino's translations of Valerio Magrelli's poetry bring to English-speaking readers some of the most astounding verse to be found in contemporary Italian letters. Here, a great deal of precious cargo has made it intact to the shores of the English-speaking world, and we are enriched by the arrival of such rich, strange, and new matter."
REBECCA WEST. Professor of Italian and Cinema/Media Studies, The University of Chicago
The pen slides
Evenings, when the light dims
I sit at the movies, convalescing
I've often imagined gazes
That matter can provoke contagion
On the name of a D.D.R. compact , which in German means "satellite"
Lesson in meter
Ora serrata retinae (Feltrinelli, 1980) Premio Mondello
Nature e Venature (Mondadori, 1987) Premio Viareggio
Esercizi di tiptologia (Mondadori, 1992) Premio Montale
Poesie e altre poesie (1980-1992) (Einaudi, 1996)
Didascalie per la lettura di un giornale (Einaudi, 1999)
More about Valerio Magrelli’s poetry