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World Poetry Portfolio #72: Annelisa Addolorato

World Poetry Portfolio, edited by Sudeep Sen in association with ATLAS Magazine

Sudeep Sen's World Poetry Portfolio - Annelisa AddoloratoAnnelisa Addolorato is an Italian writer, poet and translator. Having grown up and studying in Italy and Spain, she writes both in Italian and Spanish. Her first two bilingual poetry books published in Spain are: Mariposas y falenas-Farfalle e falene and La palabra ‘lasca’ o la reconstrucción de Pompeya-La parola ‘lasca’ o la ricostruzione di Pompei. Her third poetry book is titled, My Voice Seeks You (Cross-Cultural Communication, New York, 2013). She has given poetry readings in Italy, Spain, Israel, India, and Venezuela. She has also published two books on poetry (La parola danzante, on Octavio Paz and, Viaje entre palabras on Clara Janés), several articles, essays and translations on poetry, literature, aestetics, contemporary Hispanism. Her poetical works are available in anthologies both on-line and in-print in Italian, Spanish, English, Arabic, Turkish, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, German. She also has several video poems available online. She has taught at the universities of Milan and Pavia for nine years. In 2011 and 2012 she taught Spanish Language at ISPI (Milan) at the Master in Diplomacy. She has always been active in the fields of ecology and protection of human rights, and has collaborated with various associations and NGOs. She currently works as a volunteer with a cooperative of Southern Italy and fair trade. She likes Chinese martials arts. More info at  She is now working on a new project: and collaborating with the new League of Italian Poetry Slam (LIPS).

Translated into English by Maria Bennett & Bill Wolak

[from the bilingual book, My Voice Seeks You, Cross-Cultural Communications (New York 2013)]



Laus Pompeii


Sisters in name and in origin,
the two Pompeiis are held by the memory
of their destinies
Rotten and transfigured by fire and by lava,
the Pompeii of the south
breathes in its colors
Rotten and transfigured

by the fog and the indifferent ice,

the Pompeii of the north
revives, tenacious dame of the periphery.


In the Theater – ‘Navel of Black Earth’


The actors were rehearsing.
Wearing their comedy masks,

the protagonists took a while

to realize the imminent tragedy.

Wounds, cuts, scars
In the subtle wings of the soul

Until your name can become a wound
if the voice grows tired of saying this
or still does not belong to the body,

nor the face If you

do not recognize some dominion
over what you see

Broken mirrors defiant mercury

spilled out in lines still without shape

Wasted land,
in an obscure leap.
With the taste of a cathartic

urge in an invisible spring.



The voice sings low


and does not know the path
of destiny

Its fruits
are for everyone

But they are hidden

Unarmed horsemen

look for its roots without

knowing where the secret

of a full and deep voice is born.



Clarisse and Eraserhead

     for Robert Musil and David Lynch


To die, between the ashes

of a time unlived but imagined.
The slow hallucination,

layer of virgin earth left

to wither in a sterile hope

of invisible lands
The crazy man did not see

his son or his soul
but the monstrous sacrificial lamb
The crazy woman did not see

the fire about to destroy

her insides, but the temple of her salvation
They went on erasing their footprints
They went on kissing their nightmares
Looking for a way to invent

the mirror of their destructions

They began to believe

in their obstinate power over the lava

Proud, they thought they were the ones

who had lit the volcano

They had left

the encrusted jails of their minds
in order to breathe in their triumph
It was just before totally giving in

to the fire and delirium
while all the world was fleeing,

coming closer was

the implacable ocean,
coming beneath Pompeii

with its magmatic sea,

the last fresh air and frenetic
collective movement
around them awakened them from the dream

Recognizing suddenly
in the desperate but

beautiful human faces terrorized

by the other citizens
that they must also set off
on their fluid race
with time

The fixed stare upon the hourglass

painted on their hands is broken
and on the walls of their invisible jail,

in the dynamic fury towards salvation,

they began to run towards the sea,

away from mud and liquid ash

that began to seep between their feet.



In the Violet Sea


To carve
out of myself silver lagoons

of silk
your changing profile

The emaciated shell of dreams that burn

Each resignation lost the leaving flourishes



Dream of the word ‘water’


Lifts the earth in an amethyst song

Slicing the horizon in a flight
of frost

This word
that falls in the lake

If you don’t see it it melts
more in the well

If you don’t stop it
This is the only way we will breathe again.




     for my friend, Giovanna P.


At each corner you stop
at the edge of collapse

you return a wave

without bitterness
to the root of your breath

Anchored only to your smile,
I remember your
ironic tenderness

You were looking at the fabric

of the world sharing its
gossamer texture
The scorpion of memory

Sends forth the white heron

of the common day

The paper wing of the cicada

cuts through the air

Spilling out the poem

into your hands

Framed in moments and breath
The ritual countryside

of your face which,

all thought and flat plain,

is shaped into dawn
with the touch of strange lips to profane time

As the ancient olive tree refreshes your sleep.





The sweet privilege
of having seen

your face without a mask
The fighter has been distracted

and let it fall
One moment
Only for a while,
but enough
to glimpse
this dazzling light
without a stain
nor will
Beneath the mask
of colors
there is a face
that shines
And is true

To fight
– it’s clear,
it’s infinitely
logical –
it’s safer,
more correct, consistent, even

including all this
it’s simply
what you have to do

And we have to admire and learn

from so much balance

that same man
without a mask,
finally, is the mere curve of his smile.



First Flamenco Poem

or L’Atalante, homage to Jean Vigo-Soleá


In the water of musical quavers

we went down to the grotto,

where notes and chords
of music were still floating,

stone ships,

painful smiles.
The water had still risen,
in calmed and inexorable

resistance to a pure
but unchangeable air
Filling mirrors and corners
with its lightness
brief and soft

The vaults,
of dark stone,

sharp-pointed and flat red bricks,
sheltered the cave of memories

Artful voices
and dense with round passions

submerged themselves
in corollas of waiting

And we went to the grotto,
to harvest clear dawns

As the waters continued flowing

in vertical lines,
like steel arrows,
Pointed at our ears

and at our skin,
liquid resonant caresses rock the questions
to and fro

Their souls still could swim

naked and strong,
in the ethereal harmonic dance

Those necklaces
of fine drops
had washed away
the iron bars of reason

“Slip slowly”
said the song
“into my hands of music”

“Let yourself be embraced

by the crystalline rivers
of my newly-born passion”

The stones of the walls
were the only shapes
that kept back the overflow

of that deep well of the voice

“Forget everything

and we will resume the dance
that starts at the intersection of our gazes”

In silence

Without hurry,
with unarmed blue steps,
the distilled honey
running from the open mouth
of the guitar
reached those who, with ritual
had come
to listen to and follow the song
giving shape to the rounded movements

of mutural abandon
Damaging air and earth
in solar cracks,
unexpected guests

gentle whispers

Knot of flesh and voice,
a hand that was one hundred hands

saluted us,
pressing ours,
almost invisible,
returning the body

to its breath.

The whisper
and the low scream of matter

which beats and opens to the world

“Don’t forget
– ever –
the flesh of the world”

The mature flow
of their voices

without wrinkles,

invisible light
that crosses
the intertwined

circles of the years,

sap and wood chains
of those human trees

The song,
the lucid story beside the ancients.

Threading the paths
and the roads
Now free from the burden

of rough stone

Silhouettes foreign to time,

old children
and ancestors asleep
in the cradle of today

Voice, pomegranate

and breath

Before the afternoon breaks

Before the threshold and the void

Before your door
you breathe in silence

Before the rope
your neck of a hunted deer trembles,

still prepared to flee again

Before our eyes,
beneath the veil,
the weak empire of all feeling

The solid mirror
where all lovers see each other

recognize each other
and which they drink from
is made of water.
In its image
is the decision of the anchor

We go down to the grotto

to offer ourselves
mute and singing,
to the waves

and to the whirlwind of the instant

Boats of silk pass,
still without cargo.
still tired from suffering cold. In pursuit
of white-hot quiet.



Flying Daggers

The sinuous and exact movement
the gentle yet firm response
to gestures,
demanded by the discipline in question

– Peripheral vision but

the concentrated silence,
all presence uninterfered with
An encounter
suspended and clear
Loyal, unexpected, punctual.
It is the dance of the echo
under the sunlight:
in front of all the world.
To hold yourself back and then go ahead.
All in good time.
In the mirror.
Multiplying stars
in the other’s gaze.
Recognizing challenges

as if they were roses about to bloom.

At the right time
When it is.
White shadow and dark light
give birth and love without end.


* * *


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