The green light of the river, the pink of the mountainscrosses the apartment south to north—a soft stripof chalk that opens, contains. You try to distinguishthe rising voices from the scales of iridescent water.How sincere these languages: fragments with fewconsonants, closed vowels, black, equatorial, rhythmicdrums through sycamore branches. For each languagea scale of water, thrust from window to mountainin disarming union. The rock circle amplifies,the city is a stadium, this house its eardrum, we inside itpulling out the roots of words like hooked fish.What haven't we learned, what that's stronger, unwritten,a sudden burst in the river, the radium that makes the riverbedshimmer. Open vowels muddle in the grass, closedvowels rouse dust and motors. We close our eyes:here are all the scales, broken sounds, drawn in.The river returns to its place, the mountain to its place.If we remain silent we conduct:tongues, knotted rings, electricity, peoplenow on a riverbed strangely illuminated. FondaleLa luce verde del fiume, quella rosa delle montagneda sud a nord attraverso l' appartamento. È un lembosottile di calce, si apre, contiene. Provi a separarele voci che salgono, le scaglie d' acqua iridescente.Come queste lingue sono sincere: le frazioni con pocheconsonanti e le vocali chiuse, nere, equatoriali, ritmichetamburi tra i rami dei platani. Per ogni linguauna scaglia d'acqua, spinta dalle finestre alle montagein un'unione disarmante. 11 cerchio della roccia amplifica,la città è uno stadio, questa casa il suo timpano, noi dentrotiriamo fuori come aghi da pesca le radici delle parole.Cosa non abbiamo imparato, cosa non scritto e più forte,una scarica improvvisa nel fiume, il radio che fa splendereil fondale. Vocali aperte vanno confuse nell'erba, vocalichiuse spingono polvere e motori. Chiudiamo gli occhi:ecco tutte le scaglie, suoni rotti, aspirati.II fiume torna al suo posto, la montagna al suo posto.Se restiamo in silenzio siamo conduzione:parole, anelli allacciati, elettricità, personeadesso su un fondale stranamente illuminato.
“Riverbed” from TRANSPARENCIES: by Maria Borio.
Published by World Poetry Books on May 10, 2022.
English Copyright © 2022 by Danielle Pieratti.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Maria Borio has published three books of poetry: Dal deserto rosso (Stampa 2009, 2021),Trasparenza (Interlinea, 2019), and L’altro limite (LietoColle, 2017). A selection of her works entitled “Vite unite” was included in XII Quaderno italiano di poesia contemporanea (Marcos y Marcos, 2015). She holds a Ph.D. in contemporary Italian literature and is the poetry editor of the journal Nuovi Argomenti, previously directed by Alberto Moravia and Pier Paolo Pasolini.
Danielle Pieratti is the author of Fugitives (Lost Horse Press 2016), winner of the 2017 Connecticut Book Award for poetry, and Approximate Body, forthcoming from Carnegie Mellon Press in 2023. Transparencies, her collected translations from Maria Borio’s Trasparenza (Interlinea 2019), was released by World Poetry Books in 2022.
"In Maria Borio’s Transparencies, the language is anything but. These poems shimmer along the line between abstraction and flesh where our relationships—both intimate and public—are imagined and lived. At once surreal (bees emerging from mouths) and concrete (hair and fingernails in a drawer among neatly folded shirts), cosmic (in 'the sharp, lunar wind') and terrestrial ('in limestone' in 'high-rise glass'), Borio’s words make realms collide. 'Can the city’s vein have rhythm / beneath the feet of those who walk, / their obscene, transparent bodies?' she asks. Bodied forth into a supple English by Danielle Pieratti, whose renderings are as beautifully attuned to the shifts and multiplicities of Borio’s original as they are to the possibilities of sound and line in translation, this is an exciting book."
— Stefania Heim
"Can poetry be 'a vein where everyone’s feelings seep in'? Can poetry be what survives translation? This book proves it can. Maria Borio’s refined verse shines forth in Danielle Pieratti’s crystalline translation, which is 'inscaped' and 'co-extensive with it'—borrowing Dante’s image with Heaney’s words. So let Danielle’s translation be our 'secret entrance' to where 'the transparent marvel' at the heart of Maria’s poetics is revealed as unmissable and uncorrupted news—a different mind map, a deeper eye empathy."
— Marco Sonzogni
"Maria Borio’s poems hunt the pervious instants when one fragile human gaze—across horizon lines, pixelated by screens, radiated into fluorescent isotopes—touches another. Danielle Pieratti lofts over into English what’s diaphanous in Borio’s Italian, those shifting transparencies that, like expressionist painting, care less for showing what things look like than in evoking atmosphere and mood. Solitude fills these poems. Humans 'lean heads against windows, lose intimacy. / Only fluorescent slivers between horizon and brain.' Yet Pieratti is equally responsive to Borio’s urban images, those marvelous flashes when '[t]he sky presses down [and] our solitudes explode.'"
— Penelope Pelizzon