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Selected Poems (Italian Edition) (Italian) Paperback – April 1, 2004

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Selected Poems (Italian Edition) + A Major Selection of the Poetry of Giuseppe Ungaretti: A Bilingual Edition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (April 1, 2004)
  • Language: Italian
  • ISBN-10: 0374528926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374528928
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #762,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This edition, well-translated and annotated by poet-essayist Frisardi, brings the modernist achievement of Ungaretti (1888-1970) to light. Most searing here are the WWI poems, "Up in the light vault/ the spell is broken// And I plummet into myself// And go dark in my nest."
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The eldest and many say finest modern Italian poet, Ungaretti (1888-1970) was born to Tuscan parents in Alexandria. Hence, he was at once a birthright heir of the Renaissance and the child of a quintessentially international city within sight of an ancient culture's desert-bound remains; lush Tuscan hills and empty Egyptian desert are his poetry's mental as well as physical landscapes. He saw action in WW I, endured a dear friend's suicide in Paris, and participated in the postwar birth of modernist French and Italian poetry and art. He eventually settled in Rome, decamping only for an academic appointment in Brazil, during which first his brother and then his nine-year-old son died. With so much tragedy in a life lived largely in a crucible of twentieth-century calamity, that he wrote frequently about death is unsurprising, nor is it wonderful that he became engaged in a profoundly tenuous search for God. His spare poetry, beautiful in two languages in this edition, is the difficult but deeply engaging and affecting record of his quest. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By T. McGohey on July 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
While I would like to thank the previous reviewer for alerting me to the different translations of Ungaretti, I must respectfully disagree with his comparison of the Frisardi and Mandelbaum versions. Before deciding which to buy, I checked both out of library and read several poems side by side. Although they are indeed much different in approach, I did not find Frisardi "wooden" or too literal; in fact, between the two, I found just the opposite -- Mandelbaum over literal and, in comparison to Frisardi, somewhat wooden. Here's a comparison from "June":

Mandelbaum: "Poised / upon the ringing / slabs / of air you will be / like a panther."

Frisardi: "You'll be / like a / panther / balanced / on the shrill / panels of air."

I don't know Italian either, but based on the facing Italian original, it appears that Mandelbaum is attempting, at least at the syntactical level, to be more literal, whereas Frisardi is using a more flowing prosaic line -- that is, in many of F's versions, his lines, if strung together, form a clean line of prose. Whether this choice violates the original too much, I'll leave to others who know the language to decide. I would just comment that at times, F's flowing rhythm, compared to M's more elliptical style, seems to make certain poems more accessible, and by that I don't mean just "easier" to read. For example, from the same poem:

Mandelbaum: "Then calm again / I shall see / in the bituminous horizon / of your irises the dying / pupils"

Frisardi: "Then at peace again / I'll see / my pupils die / on the bitumen horizon / of our irises"

The lack of a clear pronoun reference in M. makes you pause a bit to wonder exactly whose pupil is dying; F. makes this point explicit.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jeff on January 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
If a reader's first exposure to Giuseppe Ungaretti is Frisardi's translation, I ask that he or she please refrain from judging Ungaretti's work until first reading his earlier translators, particularly Frederick Jones and Allen Mandelbaum. Those earlier works render more eloquent and evocative translations than Frisardi's, which, unfortunately, comes out a bit too wooden, and is perhaps over-literal. I must admit that I cannot read Italian, so I do not know which English translation is more faithful to the original Italian (no easy task -- as I understand it -- even for linguists). In addition, Frederick Jones' and Allen Mandelbaum's books are likely out-of-print and may have to be ordered through inter-library loan (but it would be well worth it to pursue them).
Why, then, do I still rate Frisardi's work 5 stars? As a long-time student and reader of Ungaretti I see the value of Frisardi's work in his commentary on Ungaretti's poetics and life, and in his translation of Ungaretti's own commentary on his poetry. Thus, his notes at the end are a valuable contribution to the scholarly literature on this great Italian poet. Hence, I fully recommend Frisardi's book. It's only other detriment -- which is admittedly a bit petty -- is the book's cover: it makes one feel as if he or she is drowning in an algae-ridden pond.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm so pleased to have found this poet. His poetry is exactly what I needed; beautiful, evocative, spare, and precise.

Born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1888 (d. 1970), Ungaretti lived an interesting life during interesting times, all of which is reflected in his writing in the best possible ways. His parents moved from Italy so his father could work on the Suez Canal. His father died on the Canal when Ungaretti was just a boy. His mother stayed and ran the family bakery in Alexandria. He attended school in Alexandria, not leaving Egypt until well into his teens for higher education, curious about Italy, the land of his forebears.

An ordinary soldier in the Great War, he lived constantly in trenches. He became a part of the artisitc community in Paris of the early 1900's, that boasted Modigliani, Picasso, Soutine, Braque, and their cohorts. He lectured in South America where he lost his son in 1939. He was professor at Harvard, Amherst, and several NYC institutions.

His poetry speaks of death and loss and the human struggle to survive the worst, to acknowledge life in all its faces. His war poetry is tragic and wonderful. He never recovered from the death of his son. It colors all his poetry after '39.

This is a bilingual edition, the only way to read poetry written by non-English speaking writers.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard on January 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Everything as I desired. Well within time, well packaged. Very impressed with the service. There is nothing more that I could have wished for.
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