The Italian American Writers Association (IAWA) celebrates its 20th Anniversary with a special bilingual reading of Giacomo Leopardi's Canti as translated by Jonathan Galassi, president and publisher of Farrar, St
raus and Giroux. The event takes place Thursday, Sept. 15, 6 pm at NYU’s Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò, 24, West 12th St.
Representatives of IAWA have declared what an honor it is for them to feature Jonathan Galassi who has also translated the poetry and prose of Eugenio Montale and is the author of two volumes of poems, Morning Run and North Street to read from his critically-acclaimed translation of Giacomo Leopardi's Canti.
In his 2010 New York Times article, Peter Campion wrote: “The 41 poems in Leopardi’s collected “Canti” are distinct, and beautiful, for dwelling on a threshold between feeling and thought, between the sensuous world and the mind, between presence and absence. Like no other poet, Leopardi captures the subtlest sensations, just before they vanish. His language itself works as a vanishing act: it serves up all the richness of antiquity — gained from years spent steeping in Horace and Virgil — even as tones of skepticism and bitterness begin to eat away at that richness.”
Campion also had something specific to say about Galassi's work: "What makes Jonathan Galassi’s translation of Leopardi’s poetry so superb is that he understands, and renders, that delicate movement of thought and feeling. Galassi, the author of a magnificent translation of Eugenio Montale’s poetry as well as two collections of his own poems, brings Leopardi’s Canti alive by virtue of a flexible and unpretentious English idiom."
Joining him at the presentation are award-winning translators: Luigi Bonaffini, of Brooklyn College and editor of Journal of Italian Translation who was awarded the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs Translation Prize, for the translation of Phrases and Passages of a Salutary Song, by Mario Luzi; Jane Tylus of NYU who won the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women's translation award for her translation of The Sacred Narratives of Lucrezia Tornabuoni and Michael Palma whose fully rhymed translation of Dante's Inferno was published by Norton in 2002 and reprinted as a Norton Critical Edition in 2007.
Luigi Bonaffini, who will be reading the Canti in the Italian version, has recently co-edited the soon-to-be-released major work, Poets of the Italian Diaspora: from Latin America to Australia, forthcoming from Fordham University Press [www.fordhampress.com]. Poets of the Italian Diaspora is part of a long-range project, by the editors and contributors, to expand the boundaries of the Italian literary canon. Bonaffini is Chairman of the Dept. of Modern Languages and Literatures at Brooklyn College .
Jane Tylus who teaches early modern translation history, theory, and practice at New York University has written numerous articles for Romanic Review and is awaiting the publication of the forthcoming English translation of Untranslatables, ed. by Barbara Cassin. She is currently writing a book on pilgrimage and Siena, Italy.
Michael Palma counts twelve translations of modern Italian poets include prize-winning volumes of Guido Gozzano and Diego Valeri with Princeton University Press among his achievements. Palma has also published two poetry chapbooks, The Egg Shape and Antibodies; two full-length collections, A Fortune in Gold and Begin in Gladness; and an online chapbook, The Ghost of Congress Street.
IAWA's mission is to promote Italian American literature by encouraging the writing, reading, publication, distribution, translation, and study of Italian American writing. For the past 20 years, IAWA has given voice to both emerging and famous authors through its Open Reading series at Cornelia St. Café [www.corneliastcafe.com]; notably, it is he longest running literary series at Cornelia St. Cafe, and takes place on the second Saturday of every month from 5:45 to 7:45 pm.