[But you bring clay.]

Franca Mancinelli
Translated from the Italian by John Taylor

But you bring clay. You add more clay from the beginningof the world. You go to the broken, empty places. You arebeckoned by the warm places, a sweaty manual worker whosmiles when what he has built up collapses.You smile, time begins all over again. A warm towel envelopsyou up to your forehead, brings you back to the kitchen, intothe tub on the table. Your mother’s big hands wash your hair.

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Franca Mancinelli

Franca Mancinelli was born in Fano, Italy, in 1981. Her first two books of poetry, Mala kruna (2007) and Pasta madre (20I3), were awarded several prizes in Italy. In 2018 appeared the original Italian edition of this new collection of prose poems, Libretto di transito. The Little Book of Passage represents the first appearance in English of writing that has made Mancinelli one of the most compelling voices in contemporary Italian literature.

John Taylor is an American writer, critic, and translator who lives in France. Among his translations of French and Italian poetry are books by Philippe Jaccottet, Jacques Dupin, Jose-Flore Tappy, Pierre Voelin, Pierre Chappuis, Pierre-Albert Jourdan, Lorenzo Calogero, and Alfredo de Palchi. He is the author of several volumes of short prose and poetry, including, for the Bitter Oleander Press, If Night is Falling and Remembrance of Water & Twenty-Five Trees.

The Little Book of Passage is the story of the crossing of an inner fault line, a travel diary through the territories of the psyche: presences close to disappearing and dreamlike atmospheres act as a deforming mirror in regard to the gestures and happenstances of everyday life. Allusiveness and precision, density and evanescence, are juxtaposed and integrated in this continuous attempt to focus on and pronounce the world. As in a rite of passage, Franca Mancinelli, who lets herself be visited by shadows, recomposes the fragments of an open identity, which has never abandoned the origin.

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