Antonella Anedda
Translated from the Italian by Patrizio Ceccagnoli & Susan Stewart

December, not yet Christmas, or Hanukkah.Only a few lights lit in the streets,no sleigh drawn by reindeer in shopwindows.Instead of snow, a dark pouring rainto dodge as passersby reject us.No spruces, but sycamores with their white cankers.It may be surprising not to link all of this to darkness, emptiness, fear. Yet the dark isn't dark,water isn't anxious, and indifference isn't an offense.So long as we are alive, we might know, now and then,an inexplicable peace: it happens. Maybe this is the joysaints mention, the kind that asks for nothing,it's merely careful, pressed to the earth, far from the stars. DicembreDicembre, non ancora Natale, e neppure Hanukkah.Ancora poche luci accese nelle strade,nessuna slitta con renne sui vetri dei negozi.Al posto della neve pioggia nera battente,a cui sfuggire mentre i passanti ci respingono.Niente abeti, ma platani macchiati dal loro cancro bianco.Può stupire non associare tutto questo alle tenebre,al vuoto, alla paura. Eppure il buio non è buio,l'acqua non è disagio, né l'indifferenza un'offesa.Succede a volte fino a che siamo vivi,di provare una pace inspiegabile. Forse la letiziadi cui parlano i santi e che non chiede niente,è solo attenta, premuta sulla terra, distante dalle stelle.

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Headshot of Antonella Anedda

Antonella Anedda was born in 1955 to a Sardinian family in Rome, where she lives today. She is the author of six books of poetry, including Residenze invernali (Winter Residences, 1992), Il catalogo della gioia (Catalog of Joy,  2003), and Salva con nome (Save As, 2012), for which she received the prestigious Viareggio Prize. Among her books of prose are La vita dei dettagli, a study of details in works of art, and Isolatria, a book about La Maddalena, her family’s native region of Sardinia. She is a lecturer in Italian modern literature at the University of Lugano, Switzerland, and is also well-known as a translator of classical and French literature. 

Headshots of Patrizio Ceccagnoli and Susan A. Stewart

Patrizio Ceccagnoli is a literary translator and critic, a managing editor of Italian Poetry Review, and an associate professor of Italian at the University of Kansas.  He was nominated for the American Literary Translator’s Association Annual Award for his work co-translating Milo de Angelis (2014).

Susan Stewart is a poet, critic, and translator. A former MacArthur Fellow and Chancellor of the Academy of American poets, she is the author of six books of poems, including Columbarium, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, and, most recently, Cinder: New and Selected Poems. Her many prose works include On Longing, Poetry and the Fate of the Senses, The Open Studio: Essays in Art and Aesthetics, and The Poet’s Freedom. Her most recent scholarly book is The Ruins Lesson: Meaning and Material in Western Culture (The University of Chicago Press, 2019).

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Ceccagnoli and Stewart have preserved the terseness of her idiom, which aspires, as she says in “Annales,” to the austerity of Latin…Much of the prosodic force of Anedda’s writing comes from the tension that builds between her rhetorical economy and what she calls the “dripping” of modern Italian, a word that, in its benign sense, suggests the viscous, hypersaturated sound of the language and, more darkly, the water and blood that hug its history and coastline.
—Anahid Nersessian, The New York Review

Antonella Anedda challenges us to confront the mystery that lies at the heart of existence.
—David Cooke, The High Window Press

These beautiful poems by Antonella Anedda illuminate the correspondences between the flora, fauna and material substance of our mortal, temporal world—birds, bedsheets, constellations, “moonlight scratches along the wall”—and the psyche’s dreamscapes. Historiae is precise, inquiring, and urgent, a timely introduction to the work of a major poet of our time.
—Cynthia Zarin

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