Patrizia Cavalli

My Poems Won't Change the World

My Poems Won't Change the World


Two hours ago I fell in love
and trembled, and tremble still,
and haven't a clue whom I should tell.

Any hall she reads her poetry in is invariably filled to the gills. In Italy, Patrizia Cavalli is as beloved as Wislawa Szymborska is in Poland, and if Italy were Japan she'd be designated a national treasure. The Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben said of Cavalli that she has written 'the most intensely ethical poetry in Italian literature of the 20th century'. One could add that it is, easily, also the most sensual and comical. Though Cavalli has been widely translated into German, French, and Spanish, she remains little known in Britain; My Poems Won't Change the World is the first substantial gathering of translations of her work into the English language.

The book is made up of poems from Cavalli's collections published by Einaudi from 1974 to 2006, here translated by an illustrious group of poets including Mark Strand, Jorie Graham, Jonathan Galassi and Gini Alhadeff. Thoughtful, sly and full of life, these are poems of the self, the body, pasta, cats, the city traversed on foot or by car, and - always, and above all - love.