Unbound presents Amelia Rosselli

Unbound presents poets working with / on multilinguality. Meet the Italian poet Amelia Rosselli.

Amelia Rosselli was born in Paris in 1930 to an Italian father and an English mother who fled Italy. Rosselli was a poet, a musician and a musicologist, as well as a literary translator. She used multilingual writing widely in her work. Her highly experimental literary output includes verse and prose in English and French, as well as Italian. From 1952, Amelia writes poetry in three languages: first in English, Clothes to the Wind  (1952), than in Italian, Cantilena, poesie per Rocco Scotellaro (1953), and in French, Adolescence : Sanatorio, 1954. Her trilingual journal, Diario in Tre Lingue, 1955-1956, is written in three languages simultaneously. At the end of her life, she returns to Italian as her principal language. Her poetry collection Variazioni belliche, 1964, is written in Italian; however, she also uses English and French insertions in her writing.

Rosselli published eight poetry collections. Her work has been recently collected and published in Hospital Series (2015, translated by Roberta Antognini, Giuseppe Leporace and Deborah Woodard) and Locomotrix: Selected Poetry and Prose of Amelia Rosselli (2012, translated by Jennifer Scappettone). She also translated English poetry into Italian. Scholar and translator Lucia Re has described Rosselli as “anti-fascist, Jewish, multi-lingual, an experimental musician and a perennial exile, Amelia Rosselli is one of the great poets of the 20th century”. She died in 1966 in Rome by committing suicide.

(Source: Poetry Foundation; “Un « chaos linguistique » : les textes en français d’Amelia Rosselli” (1930-1996), Emilio Sciarrino)

[There’s something like pain in the room]
(by Amelia Rosselli)

from Documento (1966-73)

There’s something like pain in the room, and
it’s partly overcome: but the weight
of objects wins, their way of signifying
weight and loss.

There’s something like red in the tree, but it’s
the orange of the lampstand
bought in places I don’t want to remember
because they also carry weight.

Since I can know nothing of your hunger
the stylized fountains are
precise in their will
a destiny of people separated by oblique noise
can, when overturned, fall into place quite well.

(Unbound, 17/12/2017)

Unbound presents Invisible Cities (Le citta invisibili, 1972) by Italo Calvino

‘Unbound’ presents ‘Invisible Cities (Le Citta Invisibili,, 1972) by the Italian writer Italo Calvino.

“Beyond six rivers and three mountain ranges rises Zora, a city that no one, having seen it, can forget. But not because, like other memorable cities, it leaves an unusual image in your recollections. Zora has the quality of remaining in your memory point by point, in its succession of streets, of houses along the streets, and of doors and windows in the houses, though nothing in them possesses a special beauty or rarity. Zora’s secret lies in the way your gaze runs over patterns following one another as in a musical score where not a note can be altered or displaced”. (Cities and memory 4)

The novel refers to the travels of the explorer Marco Polo and his descriptions of cities he visited on his journey through Asia and in China. ‘Invisible Cities’ deconstructs an archetypal example of the travel literature genre, ‘The Travels of Marco Polo’ (13th century) which depicts Marco Polo’s journey across Asia and in Yuan Dynasty (Mongol Empire) China. A collection of fifty five fragments on memory, desire, loss, death, disappearance and language, the text can be best described as a long POEM IN PROSE; it is divided into nine sections without title, each of them interconnected and interwoven with the others through the theme of the cities. Each fragment in turn is a poetic reverie on the imagined and imaginary cities that the explorer passes through on his (internal and external) journey of discovery.

Unbound predstavlja ‘Nevidljivi gradovi’ (Le citta iinvisibili, 1972) talijanskog pisca Itala Calvina.

“S onu stranu šest rijeka i triju planinskih lanaca uzdiže se Zora, grad koji nitko od onih koji ga jednom ugledaju, ne može zaboraviti. Ne zato što bi poput drugih znamenitih gradova, ostavljao neuobičajenu sliku u sjecanju. Zora ima svojstvo da u sjećanju ostaje dio po dio, prema slijedu ulica i kuća duž ulica, kućnih vrata i prozora, premda u njima nema osobite ljepote ili rijetkosti. Njegova je tajna u načinu na koji pogled klizi po oblicima što nižu kao u glazbenoj partituri u kojoj se nijedna nota ne smije izmijeniti niti premjestiti.” (Gradovi i sjećanje 4)

Roman se odnosi na putovanja trgovca i istraživaoca Marka Pola i njegove opise gradova koje je posjetio na putu kroz Aziju i Kinu. ‘Nevidljivi gradovi’ dekonstruira arhetipski primjer žanra ‘travel literature’, ‘Putovanja Marka Pola’ (13. stoljeće), koji prikazuje put Marka Pola kroz Aziju i dinastiju Yuan (Mongolsko carstvo) u Kini. Tekst je sastavljen od pedeset pet fragmenata o sjećanju, želji, gubitku, smrti, nestanku i jeziku; može se najbolje opisati kao duga PJESMA U PROZI koja je podijeljena u devet dijelova bez naslova, međusobno povezanih tematikom gradova. Svaki fragment je osebujno pjesničko sanjarenje o zamišljenim gradovima koje putnik Marko Polo posjećuje na svom putovanju (samo)otkrivanja.

The ‘Unbound’ project, 28/02/2018

Chained, R.

As deep down as possible. He buried his emotions diving into it as deeply as. Into the deep sea. Taking every new day, every new night in. Clouds. The passage of time. Breathing in, breathing out. Diving in again, making his feelings for her his own, burying them deep down below the earth’s darkest layers this time. Below the sea. Remain strong. He must remain strong. Untouchable. Wounds, deep. Scars, invisible. ‘It’s alright. If I don’t think about her, my feelings will go away. She will become a faded memory’. A lie, he tries to convince himself of. But, he knows, dreams of it. Sweats. In repetition. Every day, she is transformed a little more into a lingering ghost in his subconscious. A spectre. Moving below his level of consciousness, she has transmuted into an unattainable ideal. A symbol of the feminine archetype for him. Not knowing this, he walks around without seeing, trapped in the veils of his own blindness. His heart, chained to her. He can’t shake it, shake her off. So, he pushes it further down. Deeper. Deep down as possible. To the earth’s core.


photo: Ryan Muirhead.


Mona’s maritime diary: 18

9/11/2016, 17:09 hrs. Light rain, 6 degrees Celsius, moderate Northwesterly wind
(13 miles per hour)

The riverbank is almost empty. I am in the familiar
presence of seagulls. It’s becoming darker, colder
every day… A teenager, wearing a dark sweater,
a baseball cap and a safety pin attached to the
front walks by. ‘A Love Supreme’ by Coltrane
breaks the silence. It’s coming from the teenager’s
sound system. A welcome invasion; jazz waves slide…
on the river surface… They shine. I smile, feel a few
raindrops falling down my face. I am free fire. Air.
Water. The river of jazz. Flowing, meandering between
the shores of memory and forgetting. Of us. Streams
of sound flow, merge… you, me, this river… in
counterpoint. A memory lands on my palm, softly.
I open my hand… a few jazz notes fly away.



Mona’s maritime diary: 30

Zagreb, 26/11/2016, 16:15 hrs, Cloudy, 9 degrees Celsius, Southwesterly breeze
(8 miles per hour).

I am down by the river’s bank. The tide is high, the Sava
river flows fast. The current is strong. Traces  of sand lie
on the edge of the bank, they’ve been washed away…
It’s the twilight hour, the hour between the dog and the wolf…
The place looks both strange and familiar. My teenage memories
of walks under the Old Bridge one early summer of 1989 emerge.
My hopes, my dreams, my younger self smile at me…
I am 51 tomorrow, yet I am still 17. My heart hasn’t aged.
But time passes differently now. Every moment counts…
A song interrupts the flow of the river; ‘Afro Blues’ by Takuya Kuroda.
The music is coming from the car park next to the river.
Notes of a blue afternoon slowly dissipate… November, the month
of fog in this city. Mist. Reverie, melancholia. Tomorrow marks
also the start of Advent week; it will cheer the city and its people up,
give them some light, warmth, hope in the darkness unfolding
in front of them until the spring arrives… The Old Bridge stands quiet.
To fight darkness, some build stronger bridges, some bring them down.
And some don’t do anything, not even crossing to the other side.
They observe and wait. They wait for the darkness to pass.