The Reappearing Pheasant
An Introduction to Contemporary Italian Poetry by
Welcoming remarks by Stefano Albertini (NYU)
Thirty years after The Disappearing Pheasant - a series of events on contemporary Italian poetry that took place at Casa Italiana during its first year of existence - Prof. Luigi Ballerini, poet, literary critic, and the first Director of Casa Italiana presents a new iteration of the project that will span the upcoming semesters and will feature lectures, seminars, readings, performances, exhibits, and much more. As a preview, Ballerini is giving this lecture entitled The Reappearing Pheasant that will lay the groundwork for all that is to come in the near future.
Poetry has always come in many forms and shapes and served different purposes. A radical and, quite possibly, irreversible shift occurred in the second half of the Nineteenth Century when the art of poetry began to de-pragmatize and to concern itself mainly with the creation of messages whose cognitive and emotional powers were rooted in the material ingredients and the orchestration of its linguistic medium. The message could only surface if the readers contributed to its manifestation. What is explicitly declared by Arthur Rimbaud, and technically analyzed by such linguists as Roman Jakobson, had been intuited by Giacomo Leopardi who, in his Zibaldone, declared the ancient Greek language deployed by Homer was, preposterous as it may sound, an insuperable point of departure to which Poetry ought to return or at least try to recreate. Examples focusing on both the dictatorial power of language and the role of the reader, are drawn from Guido Cavalcanti, Dante Alighieri, Gabriele D’Annunzio, Emily Dickinson, Ezra Pound, Antonella Anedda, Giuseppe Ungaretti, Wallace Stevens, Amelia Rosselli.