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Today's poem is "Two Poems for T."
from Disaffections

Copper Canyon Press

Cesare Pavese — poet, novelist, diarist — was among the essential Italian writers of the twentieth century. Born in 1908 near Turin, he first rose to prominence as a translator and critic of American literature. In 1936, he published the first of two editions of Work's Tiring (Lavorare stanca), an extraordinary collection of narrative poems, or "poem-stories" as he called them, and then turned most of his energy toward fiction. By 1950 he had published nine short novels that Italo Calvino called "the most dense, dramatic, and homogeneous narrative cycle of modern Italy." Pavese returned to poetry near the end of his life, and his late lyrics provide a haunting coda to his career. He killed himself in August of 1950, a few weeks after receiving the Premio Strega, Italy's most prestigious literary prize.

Geoffrey Brock received the Academy of American Poets' Raiziss / de Palchi Translation Fellowship for his work on Pavese's poetry. His own poems have appeared widely in journals including The Hudson Review, New England Review, The Paris Review, and Poetry. Currently a Stegner Fellow at Standford University, he lives in San Francisco.

About Disaffections:

"Geoffrey Brock's 'hard labor' in translating Pavese's poetry has paid off in true poems in English: poems that have the density, the grit, the obdurate presentness hewn from silence for which Pavese fought so hard in Italian. Pavese's poems remain vitally original in Italian a half a century after their first appearance; in Brock's English, they have the startling power of poems that will always be new."
—Rosanna Warren

"Pavese's appeal has an immediate and emotional hold on the reader. To return to these texts today is to confirm the power of an utterance that sends us back to something beyond poetry, but without which poetry could not exist."
—Valerio Magrelli

"This translation by Geoffrey Brock is a rare convergence of ambition and skill. Pavese's weird, hard grace suffuses these impressive renderings."
—Henry Taylor



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