Department of Modern Languages Presents Stiletto Killer by Alexis Rhone Fancher

On June 15, 2023, the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and the Institute for Creative Writing and Literary Translation at John Cabot University presented Stiletto Killer, an anthology of poetry by American poet and photographer Alexis Rhone Fancher, translated into Italian and published by Ensemble (2022).

Stiletto Killer includes poems from five collections by Rhone Fancher. In her work, the author documents her own bold and frank relationship with sex and claims the right to pleasure with defiance. However, in these texts, which can be considered short stories in verse, there is also another strong theme treated in an innovative way: mourning the death of her 20-year-old son by using writing to repair grief. The book, set in and around Los Angeles, a city that is itself a protagonist, is a cross-section of dramatic places and situations: a molestation suffered at an early age, a femicide, or, in the poem that gives name to the anthology, the reaction of a woman who kills her abusive partner with a stiletto heel.

Alexis Rhone Fancher

The volume is edited by Maria Adelaide Basile. Translations are by the Monteverdelegge Translation Workshop (M.A. Basile, Marta Izzi, Giselda Mantegazza, Fiorenza Mormile, Paola Maioli, Anna Maria Rava, Anna Maria. Robustelli, Jane Wilkinson).

In the method followed by the Translation Workshop, each text is translated by each participant on his or her own. It is then discussed and fine-tuned by the group in weekly meetings. In this way, all of the members feel equally responsible for and proud of the final result.

After a welcome by Professor Federica Capoferri from the Department of Modern Languages and Literature, each translator presented and read one poem in Italian. The author, who was present in live streaming, read the original English and answered questions from the audience.

Rhone Fancher even sang one poem, “Accustomed to Dead Kids,” to the tune of Lerner & Loewe’s Accustomed to Her Face from the 1956 musical My Fair Lady. The poem is a heartfelt plea against the proliferation of guns in American schools.


I’ve grown accustomed to dead kids,
they almost make the day begin.
I’ve grown accustomed to the latest
locked down campus on TV,

the thoughts, the prayers,
the no one really cares

are second nature to me now,
like breathing out and breathing in.

I’ve grown accustomed to the sound of
gunfire zinging through the air,

the kid who shoots his classmates in his
impotent despair.

I’ve grown accustomed to their screams,
the ending of their dreams,
accustomed to dead kids.