| Naples: Life, Death & Miracles
|There is recent (2015)
section called allegro
ma non troppo
-poetry by Giacomo Garzya
Giacomo GarzyaThe six poems presented here below in my English translation are excerpted from Campania Felix, a forthcoming book of poetry (pub. M. D'Auria, Naples, antic. 2014)* by Giacomo Garzya, poet, professor and my next-door neighbor! Other examples of his poetry have appeared in these pages here and here.
Campania Felix (Happy Campania) is what the ancient Romans called this part of Italy, rich in mythology and history; it is the "Parthenope" where Virgil, himself, was "nurtured." It is Garzya's native land, and the poems in this volume are exclusively about this area, places such as the islands in the Bay of Naples and the towns along the Sorrentine peninsula and Amalfi Coast. In the sense of the twentieth-century poetic form known as “Imagism,” Garzya favors precision, even isolation, of single images and clear, sharp language. He is almost never didactic or expository, and there is a Haiku-like intimacy in his poems. As with all poets, he has a sense of cadence and euphony, but he is less interested in formal meter and rhyme than he is in the brief flash. It might have been more convenient to present his poems in paragraph form and call it a prose translation. I have chosen instead to present them in the typographic form chosen by the poet, single lines (even of a single word), staccato-like, one above the other, to achieve the effect of a parade of images.
I present this material cautiously. After all, almost everyone has words of warning about translation:
"Translation from one language into another...is like gazing at a Flemish tapestry from the wrong side." (Cervantes)
"Poetry is what gets lost in translation." (Robert Frost)
Yet we all know the difference between a good translation and a bad one. And we all know how indebted we are to the centuries of work done by translators to provide us with the literature of other cultures, ancient and modern. So in that spirit, I have plowed ahead. I have tried not to inject myself into the poet's lines and have provided a few notes for some of his cultural and geographical references that might not be familiar to the non-Italian reader. To the extent that I have succeeded, I am very felix; if I have failed, well, my apologies to Mike and Bob.
(If you read both English and Italian and might have liked to see the originals, I am prevented by copyright law from obliging you. Sorry. You'll have to wait for the book.)
*update: March 2014. Campania Felix has now been published.
to main index to literature portal to other poems by G. Garzya (1) (2) (3)