Tempo: Excursions in 21st Century Italian Poetry edited by Luca Paci (Parthian Books)

Tears in the Fence

The first thing to say is what a beautiful production this book is, and a 300+ page hardback for £15 is a bargain. The second thing is that this is my kind of anthology: it doesn’t make outrageous claims for itself, there’s no bullshit about Italian poetry being the new rock & roll, just a wide-ranging sample of what is going on, with each of the 22 authors given a brief introduction and enough pages for a decent selection of their work.

Most of these authors are new to me. I am one of the readers Paci mentions in his Introduction, who knows the usual few Italian poets (Montale, Buffalino, Quasimodo, Ungaretti), although I have got Jamie McKendrick’s Faber anthology on my shelves. It’s clear I’ve been missing out, although I don’t like everything included here. And whilst I don’t read or speak much Italian, even I can see from…

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