All this talk of getting old
It’s getting me down my love
Like a cat in a bag, waiting to drown
This time I’m comin’ down
And I hope you’re thinking of me
As you lay down on your side
Now the drugs don’t work
They just make you worse
But I know I’ll see your face again
— The Verve, “The Drugs Don’t Work,” Urban Hymns (1997)
When I wrote this piece in December 2019, I could not have fathomed that a few months later all of the frantic movement of pre-COVID-19-Catania would come to a full halt: empty streets, closed bookstores, abandoned airports, deserted churches, no honking, no raging scooters, no hugging, no shoulder-tapping, and especially no kisses on the cheek. Christ’s blood and body at 100 Mbps. The playful title of this piece has now literally come to describe a real-life situation as the twelfth day of full national lockdown begins for me in Sicily: there are words, there’s death, and—echoing in our paranoid living rooms—there are songs played and sung from one balcony to another. We went from warp speed to Fred Flintstone’s foot car in a week’s time. And we can only run it to the nearest supermarket and back.
But the poetry has not stopped: my inbox, WhatsApp, and Facebook feed are clogged with sonnets, invitations to poetic hangouts, screenshots of favorite verses, virtual poetry slams, Zoom readings, and so on and so on. The silence is only material alright. Virtually, we are bombarded by pandemic noise. So overwhelming is the poetic output and the public opinion-gasming on social media that I am one step away from pulling the plug and committing digital suicide. But wait. No. As I reread the article and take a look at my friends’ poetry books on the shelf, I think maybe it all makes sense after all, as it usually does. Humans get sick and die. The WORD persists. Perhaps, as one of the poems cited below says, the worst does not exist, despite the current bitterness of solitude. Maybe this is the moment to get tied down to a kitchen chair and scream “we will be there,” “forever / somewhere.” Perhaps we are at a point of no return, perhaps the drugs don’t work, but at least we now have plenty of time to contemplate the nature of forever.
Heroin, LSD, cocaine, marijuana, mushrooms, ecstasy, amphetamines, opium, meth. Forget it. In the city that some used to call the Seattle of Italy, nowadays you can only overdose on poetry. The word, the almighty word, clogs the pores of young and not-so-young Catanese intellectuals, who live between bars in Via Gemmellaro and their day jobs at universities, schools, hospitals, and other “do-the-right-thing” institutions. Whether based in Milano or Roma or Bologna, sooner or later they all cuddle up on Catania’s promiscuous lap to discuss Pontiggia, Fiori, or Rondoni, Denis Johnson or Céline, Don Giussani or Bataille, Valentina Nappi or Laura Antonelli, the Sicilian frame drum (tamburo) or Uzeda (the band), to praise or scorn this or that new chapbook, congratulate and thank each other for collaborations, draft corrections, promotions, or reviews, with some slaps on the back and declarations of loyalty with a kiss per cheek (ohhh these endless kisses on the cheek—smack-smack, baci baci, left cheek first). These are followed by updates on marriage, kids, former lovers, priests, graduation parties, phallocentric feuds, and a couple of shoulda-woulda-couldas away from death by scooter—one huge stinky finger in the face of their Catholic god, the ring finger still duly tucked between pages of the bible.
Oh yeah, it’s Sicily all right. The Circe of all islands where the truest and eternally recurring death sentence was proclaimed by one of their very own, the Last Prince of Lampedusa, “for things to remain the same, everything must change,” (Il Gattopardo). And then there’s poetry. A lot of poetry. Chapbooks are handed over and exchanged like bribes, long dedications inscribed on first pages, shoulders patted in recognition/embarrassment/humility followed by not-so-humble hopes for far-off Nobel Prize nominations. Words, words, words (so much rhetoric and not enough persuasion, Michelstaedter would say). There is the Center for Contemporary Poetry of Catania, as well as various online platforms, like L’EstroVerso and its patron saint Grazia Calanna; ClanDestino and Davide Rondoni; Le Parole e le Cose2 (shoutout to Tommaso Di Dio); Leuké and the Pontiggia-Emmolo-Sichera triumvirate; or Critica Impura by badass brain Sonia Caporossi, regularly publishing and promoting their works. There’s a noisy conversation between Catania Bologna Milan and Rome that, if you’re into this kind of stuff, can make you feel hot, like something’s really brewing in the land of Elena Ferrante (Or is it all just smoke and ashes from Mount Etna, that cantankerous old fart?).
And who are all these kids anyways? What are they after? Who are they running from? Where to? Poetry is the fodder of the unpersuaded Michelstaedterians, of Pirandello’s superfluity, one might say. It is born either out of shortage or excess, stringing the contemporary poets of Catania into a cheerful Bergmanian dance of death. And I am writing this while listening to The Stooges, “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” with that unforgettable, delirious riff. Three chords: the word, the flesh, the melody—for my prejudiced critique that piles up bodies, body shapes, sympathies, and small ideological wars, neuroses, odors; fleeting impressions and deep deep incisions, scratched foreheads, voices high-pitched in anger or bliss, height, tasting buds, God, and other means of transportation from the perspective of someone who is not here to stay. Just hitching a ride.
And first on the road, scythe and pen in the hand, is Pietro Cagni with his white scooter and Adesso è tornare sempre (Now is to Return Forever, 2015), a discreet dirge written over a long syncopal period of mourning. Cagni’s very personal and concise poetry is one of lack (mancanza), shortage even, carefully playing with minimal variations on colloquial language and therefore not easy to translate. Sometimes I wonder whether he’s real or just a heteronym of Fernando Pessoa, an Alberto Caeiro perhaps. His verses are trying to make sense of the flight patterns of migratory birds by inspecting leftover plumes scattered across the family’s backyard lawn. But look, the poetic voice implores, feather between index finger and thumb—and then I’m not sure whether he wants to play Cowboys and Indians or is just asking for some ink. In any case, Cagni is the poet of the superficially observable, the sguardo of the eye, “non ci saremmo più visti alla fine,”: we would not see each other again in the end. He is drawn to and looking for epiphanies in the outward, momentary splendor of things, in a seldom smile, in the Schein:
le poche volte che ridi
del mondo tocco l’inferno
e la sua consolazione
se ti guardassi come ti guardo
io, che sono niente… se ti guardassi
come ti guarda Dio
moriresti di meraviglia
the few times you laugh
I touch the world’s hell
and its consolation
if you could see yourself the way I do
I, who am nothing… if you could see yourself
as God does
you would die of wonder
…the last four tender—and probably the book’s best—verses go. But mine is not a negative assessment: Adesso è tornare sempre is a first necessary step, a skeleton. It has the potential of becoming either a lifelong, poetic hamster wheel or a career-long, poetic refuge, a bullet-proof survival kit. Cagni’s next publication will show whether the first one was a caterpillar or a Lazarus, reinterpreted in the light of his real-life daughter’s birth. I see it as an incipient viewing of things as they appear in the dying light of a supernova. For this reason, the gaze of the lyrical “I” does not pierce through the surface (yet), and this is what leaves the poet frustrated and perplexed (but the plume…?) and the reader somewhere living between feelings of sympathy for the poet’s loss and admiration for the poems’ discreet grammar of mourning (Cowboys and Indians or ink?). There is a dead brother there, but what the poet evokes and is longing for is the sibling’s shape, the failed last embrace, a belly and a belt size (“la mia pancia, la cintura”), clothes left behind in a closet like the city of Bologna, the impending trip there to pick up the remains, and the anxiety it all provokes; This city, like a heavy piece of garment, like wearable grief: “Ho Bologna addosso,” a time-space continuum that can be translated in many ways, “I’ve got Bologna on me,” a fact; “Bologna’s on my mind,” faith; “Bologna’s on my bones,” fate; Playing with this one precious, pregnant verse (addosso—to have on, to wear, to have on top of oneself, to be bothered by, to have coming up, but also ad-osso, to the bone, on the bone). There is also a woman in Adesso è tornare sempre, but she’s all hair, ankles, and body weight (“rimangono le caviglie”); a simulacrum, a placeholder even. The answers, salvation, and synthesis seem to be right there behind the curtain, right around the corner, at the tip of the tongue, but the poet can’t find the hole in the net (Montale’s “maglia rotta nella rete”), or hell, maybe he’s found it but only to patch it up again: everything changes so that everything can remain the same, now is to return forever. Because he, the migratory bird, is not coming back (“tu non torni vero?”).
From this ride on Cagni’s old white scooter that barely makes it up Catania’s steep, steep Via Sangiuliano, you can hitch a ride on Gianluca Fùrnari’s flaming chariot for the next stretch of the poetic road. His Vangelo Elementare (Elementrary Gospel, 2015) was published when the poet was only twenty-two years old. Twenty-two years old, folks, and so close to heaven. “The Vangelo is a high rank within the ’Ndrangheta,’” Wikipedia says, exaggerating as usual, “a criminal organization in Calabria, Italy.” But vangelo also “literally means gospel.” Its apostle, Gianluca or John Luke, is the poeta del noi (the poet of us), and his Elementary Gospel a generational anthem. His writing transmits the same feeling as when, from 34,000 feet, you can see the curvature of the Earth. Gianluca gets caught up in a poem and forgets his backpack at the bar, forgets to pay for his sandwich, but he’s got his politics right. And it is an important and popular fact that he speaks Latin. He speaks it and takes trips to Oxford just to hold a manuscript in his hands. There’s death in his book, too. A father. But there is also light (a flaming chariot, as I said), a light that fills the reader with inexplicable joy from the very first verse on:
Il primo appuntamento fu alla luce
nell’ora della luce
il nostro primo nascere (il vedere)
fu quel manifestarsi nella luce
in nome della luce.
The first rendezvous was with light
at the hour of light
our first birth (the seeing)
was that manifesting oneself in the light
in the name of light.
Here’s the Schein again, but it is a joyful splendor (lieto annuncio, “joyful annunciation”) that clasps its palms around us (ci teneva tutti). We’re safe (noi). It’s all good (per noi). People die, go, leave, disappear, dissolve, hurt, decompose, haunt, forget, but we are all in this together (tutti). It can seem like the chant of a Greek choir, but I hear Gustav Holst’s “Neptune,” the spectral voices reaching the reader from behind a door left open just enough to illuminate her with hope without the danger of going blind. After all, Seraphim we are not. I read through the verbs in first person plural—and I do not know my peers—I do not know their dates of birth nor the timbre of their mothers’ voices, but their joys and sorrows are mine. It feels a lot like the days when I, born in Tito’s Yugoslavia, marched with the pioneers. But instead of ideology, when reading Fùrnari, my chest fills up with eucalyptus air and I’m there in the “we were, we fell, we waited, we expected, we could, we climbed, we played, we do, we will declare, we will be (‘eravamo, siamo caduti, ci teneva, aspettavamo, potevamo, scalavamo, giochiamo, facciamo, dichareremo, ci saremo’)” in the entire progression from past tense to future. Gianluca is a sibling found for me and for a generation that lives in the aftermath of Everything. “Do not ask of us the word,” Montale had asked, “[n]on chiederci la parola,” and Fùrnari responds: “[n]on chiudete gli occhi” (do not shut your eyes), because “it will be ours, at the end, the word / that will unlock the gates to all events…We will be there,” Fùrnari menaces the disillusionment of the past and the lethargy of the present, and then he throws an entirely new poetics of light, action, and the word at us—delicately, dexterously:
Occorreranno tecnici del canto
quando ogni altro mestiere avrà fallito,
profili certi, competenze liriche
per rimettere a nuovo la sostanza‚
così risponderemo noi all’annuncio,
ridaremo contegno ad ogni cosa
prima di seppellirla—neve, amori,
il mondo dopo averlo fatto lucido;
ma fissando il collasso, congelando
noi stessi dentro l’opera di luce.
Song technicians will be needed
when all other professions will have failed,
determined profiles, lyrical competences
to make substance as good as new again,
it is we who will respond to the add,
we will dignify everything again
before burying it—snow, loves,
words—we will leave
the world after having enlightened it;
but fixating the collapse, freezing
ourselves up inside the work of light.
From the flaming chariot, it is time to walk at a human pace (a misura d’uomo) and for that I have Pietro Russo’s A questa vertigine (To This Vertigo, 2016), a stroll up and down Via Etnea by way of Via Caronda (or was it Fifth Avenue?). With Russo—Catania’s neurotic Metastasio—I take a stroll down Central Park. With him it’s New York or Berlin, but it’s all the same anyways, for he calls me “baby,” yes just like that in English, and it is so appropriate to the point that I’ve been mistaken for his lover, enemy, or muse. But truly I’ve always been and remained a Gertrude Stein, short hair and all. It is not easy to write about difficult men of broad culture who know about cinema and secondary literature, men who read the Mondadori catalogue of recent publications while eating (sweet) breakfast, or men who write about their children. But Russo’s geographical coordinates? Those I can write about, and they are three in count: Via Etnea, Via Caronda, Piazza Dante. Like Kant, who never left Königsberg, his physical world is circumscribed.
Russo’s is a poetry of places, geometrical figures, lines, and shapes. Things and people in A questa vertigine have edges and corners to them (careful not to fall off). They become imbalanced at times and are traversed by nails or divided by concrete walls. He is not a poet of the round, the fluffy, the embraceable—but of sequences, timetables, “00:00,” “in the eighty-ninth minute [al minuto ottantanove],” equations, millimeters, axes, kilometers, margins, and straight white lines, followed by chronometers and walks from cathedral to mountain, “angular stones [pietra angolare],” divided halves, light years, and those who, from afar, look at the “last flames of supernovas [ultimi fuochi delle supernove].” We look at skyscrapers as if they were concrete sequoias or mutant chocolate bars. But children are the true, sober architects of the world in Russo’s book:
Con movimenti rapsodici
dissemini il giorno di cubi, triangoli
e altre forme; è tempo, questo, per te
di quadrature mai viste. La concentrazione
che si muove nello sguardo, e persiste
è di chi non gioca
a dadi, spinge orizzonti e pianeti
oltre le leggi. Non importano le basi
se nella mia mano hai visto già la torre
e decisa, leggendomi gli occhi,
“sì, ce la faccio. È possibile” dici.
With rhapsodic movements
you disseminate the day with cubes, triangles,
and other forms; this, for you, is the time
of a squaring never seen before. The concentration
that moves in the gaze and persists
belongs to those who do not play
dice, push horizons and planets
beyond the laws. The bases do not matter
if in my hand you have seen the tower already
and determined, reading my eyes,
“yes, I can make it. It is possible” you say.
Russo’s are pentatonic scales and four-note sequences that accompany the three-point shot at an NBA basketball game. He doesn’t leave his spatial coordinates and he wonders about time. Whether appropriate or approximate (opportuno o circa), is there ever such a thing as the right time? He wonders about the possibilities of accelerating an evening, “e faccia presto / più in fretta la sera.” Pensiero geometrico, I want to call it, “geometric thought”. It is life in an algorithm. But he insists on a child’s birth on a Good Friday as if God had anything to do with straight lines. But look at “Terminale” (terminal). The lyrical “I” is looking (again!) at timetables and destinations; he and his companion are clinging to the ground: careful not to lift off their feet or take flight, careful not to abandon the straight lines and cubes and triangles, “attenti / a non staccare i piedi da terra, non / prendere il volo per nessuna ragione.” The poet takes comfort in the reliable geometry of the world: conception, ultrasound, birth, pavements covered with Lego cubes. He is counting on it to make sense of the unpredictable, of the event, the kairós, to recover from the vertigo. No wonder I read this book three times; once at the port in Catania watching German cruise ships panting heavily like stranded whales, then on an Alitalia airplane bulleting across the Atlantic, and on the smelly, bouncing Chicago Red Line. I want to destabilize it, tear some pages out (for instance, that unforgivable hips-don’t-lie-moment: “il corpo / non finge [the body / pretends not].” I want to derail it, stain and crease it, cut the wrong wire; I want Etna to erupt, the bus to blow a tire; I want the plane to nosedive while I’m reading it, to feel that vertigo, to dwell in it. Because, folks, that’s life. And no geometric shape can account for its misery and bliss. And the poet knows it deep down inside, “Forgive me but / moments like those you can only recognize if you have seen, / if you truly know what it means to sin [[p]erdonatemi ma / attimi come quello li conosci se hai visto, / se davvero sai cos’è peccare],” he writes. If my voodoo holds, perhaps these moments are precisely what we’ll be reading about in Russo’s next book.
I don’t know what form of transportation to take with Naike Agata La Biunda. Maybe it is time to sit down for a moment. Once we shared a bench at Catania’s Glory Hole bar in Via Gemmellaro, and I gave her a good honest look in the eye. She is a Kim Gordon, although not blonde as her majestic name suggests (“la bionda”). Instead she boasts with her dark, unmistakably-Sicilian mane and the eyes of sage; a woman who knows before you even do. Hence the title of her book, Accogliere i tempi ascoltando (Welcome the Times by Listening, 2017). I don’t want to cast the first woman I am reading in Catania in the role of a bewitching creature, but there is something of a prophet or a shaman in Naike, something otherworldly that commands respect. It is a quality of people who have lived a lot, of people who had to grow up fast. So maybe it’s a bareback ride with her on one of the remaining wild Sicilian horses, “yellow teeth, eyes half open / the cold neighing breath that fogs / the air with steam [i denti gialli, i mezzi occhi / l’alito del nitrito intrizzito che appanna / di vapore l’aria].”
For the third time in a row, a book begins with a birth, the title of Naike’s first poem, “La nascita”. It already contains everything that’s been said and that will be said: the poet has to die, to lose her body, her shape, her geometry, her sex, and the furniture inside the house, the sense of right and wrong; the poet has to become an alphabetical being without organs (Deleuze comes to mind), which then and only then is ready to become a receptacle, to gather and welcome through the act of listening. The poet, in other words, is either an angel or a phonograph, divine or artificial. But what’s this? The angel—this new alphabetical being without organs—speaks no common human tongue! I can see the landscape portion before us from over the angel’s shoulders. With one hand, it is holding the horse’s mane, with the other, pointing at specters and things hanging on the wall. It recounts arguments on late night Catania streets, but is speaking its own dialect. Yet even the language of gods comes with subtitles. And I am relieved to understand that this angel is indeed a phonograph; it registers, listening and replaying what it has heard faithfully. It does not translate. It does not twist. And death is here again. Symbolic or real? It does not matter. A mother perhaps, a disease, or a consumed body, the angel is destined for paradise, losing itself in sofa pleats, fragmented in mirrors and minor details, “the details that you (do not) add / are the ones that resemble you still [sono i dettagli che (non) aggiungi / che somigliano ancora a te].” Similar to the reflection Dickens’s ghost of Christmas past provides, the angel is a mother, a daughter, a woman—the blood that connects them all—a Hans Zimmer soundtrack. Then there’s a change in gender, “and you will be fragile as glass / as you have never been before [e sarai fragile come vetro / e non lo sei mai stato],” a man who will be fragile as glass, as he never has been before; a man and his testament. A father? Parents? Gone. The poet wants the empty shell, the body without history and organs, a body that can cheat pain, disease, the past. A body without organs cannot suffer and perish. It is made out of letters and consecutive clauses. It persists. Logos: the only link between the living and the dead. And Naike’s seance is working. She’s got mother and father and siblings sitting with me on the sofa in my Chicago apartment, looking at Lake Michigan between the tall buildings in the front.
And I have to get off the road here, get a beer, book a flight, and say a few words about this genealogy of birth and death, the Bergmanian dance that connects these highly original and nimble-fingered poets of Catania (Cagni, Fùrnari, Russo, La Biunda) to one another and also sets them quite apart from their peers. Their poetry is dedicated to a premature loss of innocence, as if they’ve skipped adolescence altogether and gone straight up to death, marriage, emigration, religious dogma, and the burdens of responsibility, from diet coke to heroin, from the lullaby straight to Wagner. “The Lost Boys,”I want to say, “Neverland Poetry,” I’d name it, if it were inconsequential. But it’s not. It is dead serious. It is the poetry of people who had to grow up all of the sudden—become good fathers, sons, brothers, daughters, and women—poets who say “you are” before they could even say “I am”. I would have titled this article “Just Kids” had I only judged them by the constant need to socialize, live out their childhood dreams, and write exaggeratedly positive reviews of each others’ works. But the word, their poetry, is heavy, it is morphine, and they’d steal and go Cain-and-Abel on you in order to get a fresh supply. And it’s working. It feels, sometimes, like freedom.
“What fuel moves / this body that I did not want [[q]uale benzina / questo corpo che non ho voluto / muove…],” asks Naike without a question mark, and Cagni echoes it in all the writings he stages as a punk-approach to reading and writing poetry, but which are always about never getting the chance to be punks; prohibited from getting on that motorbike and never come back, to act without life-or-death consequence, to experience that feeling also known as freedom. Their poetry is about a leap of faith that cost them nothing less than their youth. “Sicilian Gothic” or “Sicilian Baroque” came to mind, but then “Words, Death, and Rock ‘n’ Roll” leaves more space for hope. What fuel moves this body that I did not want? Behind “the cheerful masks of the most fake ones / we, the scapegoats expiating for years / all the bitterness of solitude [le maschere allegre dei più finti / noi, i capri espiatori espianti da anni / tutto l’amaro della solitudine],” Naike brings it home, her shamanic chants bursting out of her book: fake joyful masks, sacrificial lambs, the bitterness of solitude.
But the worst does not exist (Il peggio, il peggio non esiste). There is hope. There is light. There is birth and rebirth. And there is the word. There are new loves and old Leonard Cohen songs. Women and men tied to Sicilian kitchen chairs, “They should tie me up / to a chair, when I see you / when I see you… [M’avvissiru ‘ncatinari / a na seggia, cuannu ti viru / cuannu ti viru…],” (La Biunda). “You are here [tu ci sei],” (Cagni); “we will be there,” (Fùrnari); “forever / somewhere [per sempre / da qualche parte],” (Russo). But the process of natural maturation is painful and long, many dawns need to come and go, many angels and song technicians to regain voices in strange tongues. The flesh needs to bleed, the circles to break, the books to burn, priests to die, for truth to come out:
Per dirsi la verità occorrono molte albe
e pagine da cui apprendere il suono
pensarsi Mosca e avanzare il piede
senza egoismo, stare appena
prima della siepe, o dietro una trincea
e osservare da distanze siderali
tutti gli esseri amati, tutte le opere
umane e naturali, tutto l’intangibile
e l’inimmaginabile. Per dirsi la verità
occorre prendersi cura dei pensieri
dal concepimento all’estinzione
lasciando che vivano ogni possibile
universo: scritto nei secoli
al di là del vetro o futuro.
To tell oneself the truth, many a dawn is due
and pages from which to learn sound
to think oneself Mosca* and step forward
without selfishness, to stay just before
the hedge or right behind a ditch
and observe from sidereal distances
all the beloved beings, all works
natural and human, all that is intangible
and unimaginable. To tell oneself the truth
it is necessary to take care of one’s thoughts
from conception to extinction
while letting them inhabit any possible
universe: written in the centuries
beyond the glass pane or the future.
— La Biunda
*“Mosca” (Fly) was the nickname of the wife of Eugenio Montale, Italian poet and Nobel Laureate
Fortunately, siamo / di passaggio, we’re just hitching a ride.
(Poetry translations by Ana Ilievska)
Ana Ilievska is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago. She completed her BA and MA in Romance Studies and Comparative Literature at the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen and Yale. Her dissertation and research focus on human-machine interactions in late nineteenth/early twentieth century novels. She is a trained musician and a once-upon-a-time poet in search of lost language. A Fulbright alumna, Ana has published essays on literature, Posthumanism, technology, noise, and ecocriticism, among others. She has taught at the University of Chicago and in Italy. Currently she is completing her dissertation, thanks to a Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowship, and is co-editing and translating a bilingual anthology of contemporary Sicilian poetry forthcoming with Italica Press.
Carmelo Tempio is a photographer and deputy director of the Troina Post Office. He lives in Regalbuto, in the center of Sicily. He has worked for many national and international events such as the OneDay Music Festival in Catania (2016-2018), the Fangs Festival (2015), the Cous Cous Fest in San Vito Lo Capo (2015), and several classical ballets at the Teatro Massimo Bellini of Catania and the Teatro di Messina. He collaborated with OUTsiders webzine (2014-2019) and has participated in many collective photo exhibitions, currently working on a Polaroid monograph. Two of his photographs were awarded second place and the critics’ prize at the ImpavidArte competition in Nicosia (2019).
Bergman, Ingmar. The Seventh Seal. Directed by Ingmar Bergman. AB Svensk Filmindustrie, 1957.
Cagni, Pietro. Adesso è tornare sempre. Catania: Le farfalle, 2015.
Fùrnari, Gianluca. Vangelo Elementare. Rimini: Raffaelli, 2015.
La Biunda, Naike Agata. Accogliere i tempi ascoltando. Faloppio: LietoColle, 2017.
Montale, Eugenio. Tutte le poesie. A cura di Giorgio Zampa. Milano: Arnaldo Mondatori, 1984.
Russo, Pietro. A questa vertigine. Ancona: italic, 2016.
Tomasi di Lampedusa, Giuseppe. Il Gattopardo. Milano: Feltrinelli, 1958.
The author would also like to thank Mr. Fulbright for supporting her with a research grant to Catania, Sicily, from 2018 to 2019 without which this article and many wonderful friendships and collaborations would not have been possible.