Lorenzo Calogero’s poetry in “The Bitter Oleander” and “La Soeur de l’Ange”

Two important international magazines investigated this Calabrian poet’s works


It has rarely happened that a Calabrian poet should be read and studied and that his works should be translated abroad. The attention Lorenzo Calogero is now postumously getting is therefore unprecedented in the landscape of Calabrian literature.

During the past two months, two lengthy and detailed reports were published in the New York magazine of contemporary poetry “The Bitter Oleander” and in the French literary magazine “La Soeur de l’Ange”. It is an important recognition from international critics, the rightful conclusion of the in-depth research on this poet from Melicuccà carried out by the writer, translator and critic John Taylor.

The Spring 2015 edition of the prestigious New York magazine even dedicated its cover to Calogero. Inside it,  there also were a detailed report, a series of rare pictures, a wide selection of poems and an interview to John Taylor.

In the interview, Taylor talks about the human and artistic journey made by the greatest Calabrian poet, one of the most original and important figures on the European scene. His journey and poetry  were quite unique and characterized by intense and complex lyricism, inventive visions and continuous dialogue with his readers; his poems were marked by unshakable faith in the power of words.

The translation of Calogero’s poems has earned Taylor the Raiziss/de Palchi Translation Award assigned by the Academy of American Poets. The prize consist in $ 25,000 and a period of residence at the American Academy in Rome, aimed at sustaining him through his upcoming translation of Calogero’s modern poems into English. Taylor, who was already well known for his translations of works by French poets such as Philippe Jaccottet, Jacques Dupin and Louis Calaferte, was directed to Calogero’s poetry by a group of Italian friends. The information and wide range of reading materials found at www.lorenzocalogero.it , a web-site dedicated to the Calabrian poet, enabled him to conduct his research. As soon as he had read the poems, he decided that Calogero deserved an American readership.

In his interview, Taylor also mentions the priceless heritage this poet from Melicuccà has left us, his poetic testament, as well as the projects launched by the Nino Cannatà, the artistic director of the “Calogero Project” initiative, and by the association “Villanuccia”, the promoter of events such as “Fantastic City”, a multi-media artistic operation inspired by Calogero’s poetry.

The French magazine “La Soeur de l’Ange” also published a presentation of the poet alongside five of his poems in Valérie Brantôme’s translation.

To sum it up, there seems to be renewed interest in this great Calabrian poet, this authentic 20th-century voice that is still so vivid and sensitive in the present age.