JCU Celebrates the Genius of Roman Poet Giuseppe Gioachino Belli

Giuseppe Gioachino Belli Reading Group

Left to right, Franco Onorati, Eugenio Ragni , Michael Sullivan, Moira Egan, and Riccardo Duranti

On January 25th JCU celebrated the genius of Giuseppe Gioachino Belli with a reading of ten of his better-known poems. Written in 19th century ‘Romanesco,’ the dialect of the working class in Rome, Belli captured the life of the ordinary man through his satirical comments on subjects such as love, violence, sex, religion and family. The event was opened by Moira Egan, poet and professor of English at JCU, who introduced the guest speakers: Professor Eugenio Ragni of the Centro Studi G. G. Belli and renowned translator Riccardo Duranti. Each of Belli’s works was introduced and read in the original by Franco Onorati of the Centro Studi G. G. Belli. This was followed by Michael Sullivan reading his own translations of the poems, which employ the use of various English and Irish dialects, including London Cockney slang, to mirror Belli’s own use of local vernacular. The evening was a humorous and intriguing blend of Italian and British culture as the poems’ play on words brought images of each to life.