The Girl Carla and Other Poems
Elio Pagliarani
Edited, Translated, and Introduced by Patrick Rumble

Pub date 11/1/2009
Paperback 213 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-981-6330-2-2
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Bilingual Edition. Among the poems that result from Pagliarani’s “words of iron” is The Girl Carla, a narrative poem whose protagonist is a seventeen-year-old aspiring secretary who comes of age against the “sheet metal” landscape of a Milan emerging from the catastrophe of fascism and war, a city whose “steel sky feigns no Eden and concedes no bewilderment.” In telling her story, the poem documents the social and ideological forces required to make “mammiferous larvae” into girls and boys.

Elio Pagliarani is one of Italy’s most important poets since World War II, known best, perhaps, as a member of the neo-avant-garde Gruppo 63. Born in 1927 in Viserba, along the northeast Adriatic coastline of Italy, at the age of eighteen Pagliarani moved to Milan, one of the main theaters of Italy’s postwar economic boom, whose rapid industrialization was fueled by the energies of imported Italian laborers torn from now obsolete routines and lifestyles organically linked to toiling the earth of the sea. He went to Milan, he has said, with the Rilkean ambition of finding “words of gold,” but he found, instead, “words of iron,” and then he realized that these were precisely the words, made of iron and steal, that he was after. Evolving against the shifting backdrop of various literary movements–from neorealism to neo-avant-garde experimentalism and, most recently, postmodernism–Pagliarani’s oeuvre offers a striking example of artistic investigation and commitment, one that continues to inspire new generations of poets in Italy.