In the weeks leading up to the start of the Neustadt Challenge, I plan highlighting many of the winners. First up is Giuseppe Ungaretti.
Monday, February 11, 2008
To learn more and/or join the Neustadt Challenge, which runs from May 1 - August 31, check out my post here.
Giuseppe Ungaretti (b. 1888, d. 1970)is the first person to receive the Neustadt Award. One of the foremost Italian poets of the 20th century, Giuseppe is best known for his work of poetry, L'allegria (Joy). This collection of poetry was influenced by the traumatic events he experienced as a soldier in World War I, of which the follow
ing is one example:
Hill Four, the 23rd of December 1915
An entire night
pinned down near
of broken teeth
facing the full moon
his bloated hands
I have written letters full of love
I have never been
attached to life
Giuseppe is said to be the founder of modernist hermeticism, an artistic trend that concentrated on extreme precision and intensity of language. His style was spare; he employed unconventional syntax, stressing the musical properties of the individual word and illuminating the power of a single striking image.
An English translation of his work, Selected Poems: A Bilingual edition, is available on Amazon, translated by Andrew Frisardi. The most respected translation of his work is Life of A Man, translated by Allen Mandelbaum (out of print).