POEMS by Pier Paolo Pasolini


Email this review


Pasolini is the great Italian confessional poet of the century--but, unlike American confessional poetry (which is always lyric), Pasolini's is a compound of the public (politics) and the personal (sexuality), an ""infinite capacity to obey/ and an infinite capacity to rebel."" The earliest poem in this selection is the remarkable ""Le Ceneri Di Gramsci"" (The Ashes of Gramsci), in which controlled expansiveness sets forth a post-Hermetic yet unhysterical admission of spiritual confusion: ""The scandal of contradicting myself, and being/ with you and against you."" Pasolini's proletarianism, then, coexists uneasily with his passion--a passion for young boys that is a constant rib to most of these poems. Yet the homoeroticism here is never leering or even ironic; for Pasolini, his attraction to slum children was seamless with his involvement in dialect and the demotic. And in his later poems, the early and fine Dantesque terza rima (not even attempted in the English translation) gives way to a freer, more cinematic jumpiness of form that is also fascinating for the sinuousness and gravity of its honesty. A satisfying bilingual introduction, then, for readers unfamiliar with filmmaker Pasolini's poetry; solidly prefaced by biographer Enzo Siciliano (see Pasolini, p. 264).

Pub Date: April 30th, 1982
Publisher: Random House