Poetry from Amelia Rosselli translated by Maurizio Brancaleoni

Older Italian woman with short black hair, brown eyes, and a black and white stripy pullover sweatshirt.
Amelia Rosselli
Three Poems by Amelia Rosselli 
Translated into English by Maurizio Brancaleoni

A sordid light from behind a cloud
the bedroom
her pain
the green mugginess of the tram driver
the forgotten bigoted son.

As all the things I told you
obsequiousness puts the accent on preponderance
I am sonless and fatherless
they are forgotten fathers and sons.


Una luce sordida di dietro un nuvolo
la stanza da letto
il suo dolore
la verde afa del tranviere
il figlio bigotto scordato.

Come tutte le cose che ti dissi
l’ossequio pone l’accento sulla preponderanza
io sono senza figlio e senza padre
loro sono padri e figli scordati.

Sleep pounds
hard on the door
my eyes lie
toyes on the ground.

I’m alive as a dead
person can be eager!

You are to blame
for getting by
with axe strokes
envelupsetting me.

You murdered my heart
and the mind tinkers
to survive

without a heart!


Il sonno picchia
duro sulla porta
i miei occhi giacciono
ballocchi in terra.

Sono viva come può
un morto essere desideroso!

È colpa di te
che ti arrangi
a colpi di scure

Mi hai assassinato il cuore
e la mente s’arrabatta
per sopravvivere

senza cuore!

Through the sky
passing in its gondolas
through doors
far from the source
the words ran away, astounded
without noises of love.

Bully down the street replaces friendship.


Pel cielo che
nelle sue gondole passava
per porte
lontane dalla sorgente
le parole scappavano, esterrefatte
senza rumori d’amore.

Bullo per strada sostituisce amicizia.

Amelia Rosselli (1930-1996) is considered one of the most important Italian poets of the past century. Born in Paris, she had to flee to Switzerland and then to the U.S. after the murder of her father and her uncle at the hands of Fascist militias. Back in Italy in the late 40s, in 1950 she settled in Rome, where she would spend the rest of her life. While her early literary experiments were in French and English, most of her poetic output was in an Italian studded with slips, portmanteaus and loanwords. The poems presented here are all from “Appunti sparsi e persi” (“Scattered and Lost Notes”) republished by Garzanti this year.

Maurizio Brancaleoni is a writer and translator. He received his Master’s Degree in Language and Translation Studies from Sapienza University of Rome in 2018, but he has been translating at least since 2012. In recent years he localized the prose and poetry of manifold authors, among which Thomas Wolfe, Adrian C. Louis, Justin Phillip Reed, Jean Toomer, Dylan Thomas, Herman Melville, Marina Pizzi and Scipione/Gino Bonichi. More poems by Amelia Rosselli in English translation can be found here.

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