Translated by Roberta Antognini and Deborah Woodard
Afterward by Roberta Antognini
“I rhyme classically with a modernity I didn’t suspect in my imbroglios.” — Amelia Rosselli
La Libellula (The Dragonfly) is Amelia Rosselli’s acknowledged first major work and contains all the elements of her mature vision: trilingual wordplay, musicality, and political engagement.
With its vertiginous propulsion and rotational structure, this single-long poem, a canto, hovers on the edge of the surreal, where meaning continually multiplies and then negates. The reader must engage her work as she instructs — intuitively.
Her inventive refraction of Italian literary tradition sought a more authentic liberation, “in all the nation’s life, in all the dismal / boroughs, in all the putridous world, exists / just one me, exists just one you, — exists charity.”
Now recognized as one of the most significant voices of post-war Europe, her visceral writing challenges the constriction of language as not only a fascist legacy but also as a critique of the banality and materialism of reconstruction.
Our bilingual edition includes an audio download of selections read in Italian and English by translator Deborah Woodard and actor Riccardo Pieri.