The Reappearing Pheasant [Part 2]
An Introduction to Contemporary Italian Poetry by
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 three lectures entitled The Reappearing Pheasant that will lay the groundwork for all that is to come in the near future. This is the second lecture.
In the late fifties and early sixties of the 20th century, Italy was visited upon by a veritable frenzy of innovations in all aspects of life and culture. Journals such as Officina and il Verri championed radically new aesthetics and inscribed thew writing and reading of poetry under the rubric of neo-experimentalism. From the ensuing debates there emerged the notion of research poetry the practice of which dominated Italian literary life throughout the early seventies when new political responsibilities seemed to have infected many poets with a sense of inadequacy. Judging from the number of publications, however, and the presence in them of stylistic features that would have been unthinkable prior to the work of Villa, Pagliarani, Sanguineti, Giuliani, Majorino, Costa, Spatola, and many others, the notion of a poetic crisis seems to be wholly misleading. Given the devastating, political turmoil and the parallel laborious, but unstoppable, social progress experienced by Italy in the seventies, it appears much more productive, and real, to speak not of a poetry in crisis but of poetry of the crisis: indeed a very rich and moving season that will be the subject of a third lectuire, to be broadcast in May.
Part 1 can be viewed here: