InVerse - Italian Poets in Translation Returns to JCU

Franca Mancinelli at InVerse

Franca Mancinelli (photo by Elisa Aceri)

John Cabot University presented the tenth edition of InVerse – Italian Poets in Translation on April 20, 2022, in the Aula Magna Regina. Founded in 2005 by JCU professors Brunella AntomariniBerenice Cocciolillo, and Rosa Filardi, the InVerse festival has become a forum where the JCU community and guests can listen to a variety of voices in contemporary Italian poetry, which is also read in English translation.

This year’s festival included the presentation of the 2021 edition of the InVerse anthology, published by JCU Press and dedicated to the memory of beloved John Cabot University Head Librarian Elisabetta Morani.

In welcoming everyone to the event, JCU’s Dean of Academic Affairs Carlos Dews said, “I attended the first edition of InVerse when I first arrived at JCU and I remember thinking, ‘I think I’m in the right place, a university that values literature, poetry, and translation.”

Carlo Boassa at InVerse

Carlo Boassa and Brunella Antomarini (photo by Dino Ignani)

“We believe that in times like these when there is a war going on in Europe, it’s more important than ever to build bridges between cultures. We think that supporting poetry and the translation of poetry is a wonderful way to do that,” said Professor Cocciolillo. Professor Antomarini talked about the importance of translators, who show the limits of meaning through their struggle to render poetic vision, exporting language instead of arms, and keeping the Italian language alive in English. In this regard, Antomarini quoted from Italian author Erri De Luca:

Language is my clothing, what I wear to enter someone’s home, it’s where my faint voice is suspended, it’s my music, a celebration. It is the Italian language; nobody in the world knows it except us, no country across the sea, only us, a heap of unhappy and blissful folk, squeezed between hills and coasts. I love this outfit made of the Italian language, I love its dialects, its precision and its variety, its ability to change register with a single word.         Erri De Luca, Altre prove di risposta

InVerse 2021 features poetry by Vincenzo Bagnoli, Carlo Boassa, Chandra Livia Candiani, Gianni D’Elia, Donatella Della Ratta, Fabio Donalisio, Franca Mancinelli, Nefeli Misuraca, Renata Morresi, Fabio Orecchini, Ginevra Sanfelice Lilli, Fabrizio Sani, Jonida Prifti, Tiziana Scarpa, Beppe Sebaste, Cesare Viviani, and Giovanna Cristina Vivinetto.

This edition’s translations are by Tom Bailey, Berenice Cocciolillo, Allison Grimaldi-Donahue, Sean Mark, Jennifer Panek, Gabriele Poole, Riccardo Pugliese, Andrew Rutt, Elena Buia Rutt, James Schwarten, Lauren Sunstein, and Kay Wallace.

Many of the poets and translators were present in person and others participated online. JCU Professors Alessandra Grego and Stefano Arnone also lent their voices as readers this year.