Poetry, Memory, Politics, and Irony: A Conversation with Valerio Magrelli

Clicca qui per la traduzione in Italiano

Valerio Magrelli, Professor of French Studies at the Roma Tre University, is one of the most acclaimed Italian poets, a successful writer of fiction and non-fiction, a well-known scholar, and a refined translator. His books of poetry include Ora serrata retinae (Feltrinelli: 1980), Nature e venature (Mondadori: 1987), Esercizi di tiptologia (Mondadori: 1992), Poesie e altre poesie (Einaudi: 1996, collected poems); Didascalie per la lettura di un giornale (Einaudi: 1999), Disturbi del sistema binario (Einaudi: 2006), Il sangue amaro (Einaudi: 2014), Le cavie (Einaudi: 2018, his latest collected poems), and Exfanzia (Einaudi: 2022). He has translated many French authors into Italian (Rostand, Rousseau, Mallarmé, Valéry, Debussy, Verlaine, Barthes, and others) and has translated from English and Spanish as well. Amongst his works in prose, we can mention: Nel condominio di carne (Einaudi: 2003), La vicevita. Treni e viaggi in treno (Laterza: 2009), Addio al calcio. Novanta racconti da un minuto (Einaudi: 2010), RomaMagica e velenosa. Roma nel racconto degli scrittori stranieri (Laterza: 2010), Geologia di un padre (Einaudi: 2013), Sopruso: istruzioni per l’uso (Einaudi: 2019). He is an accomplished scholar of French literature and culture, and his works touch especially upon Joseph Joubert, the Dada movement, Francis Ponge, Michaux, and Paul Valéry. He has received many prestigious literary awards and prizes including the Mondello (1980); the Viareggio (1987), the Librex Montale (1992), the Brancati (1999), the City of Napoli (2004), the Selezione Campiello (2013), the Super Mondello (2013), the Bagutta (2014), as well as the Antonio Feltrinelli Prize presented by the Italian National Academy (the “Lincei”). In 1996, he received the National Translation Award, conferred by the President of the Italian Republic.

Magrelli talks about changes and continuity of his own poetics; of the relationship between poetic translation and lyric production; of the link between existentialism and political commitment, between irony, self-irony, and nostalgia; of the emotional and creative status associated to a paternal figure –as a son and as a father himself; of the ability (or lack of) of interpreting the context in which we live.