This anthology, “curated” by Fabrizio Caramagna and translated by Marco Morello and John Taylor, contains a selection of aphorisms by some of the most outstanding writers who took part in the three Aphorism International Prize “Torino in Sintesi” Festivals, as prize-winning competitors, jury members, sponsors, or honorary members. The biennial Aphorism International Prize “Torino in Sintesi” (2008, 2010, 2012) is considered the most important aphoristic prize in Italy and one of the most important in Europe. It is promoted by the Italian Aphoristic Association and the “Il mondo delle Idee” Cultural Association.I happen to love aphorisms but seem incapable of writing them. Hence my experience reading this wonderful collection: a mixture of delight and mild despair.
Poetry Month 2015: Italian Aphorists
Aphorisms often turn up embedded in poems—”Old men ought to be explorers“; “If there is a trail, you have taken a wrong turn“; “Age is the bilge / we cannot shake from the mop“; “I will try / to fasten into order enlarging grasps of disorder, widening / scope, but enjoying the freedom that / Scope eludes my grasp, that there is no finality of vision, / that I have perceived nothing completely, / that tomorrow a new walk is a new walk“; etc.—but the art of writing pure aphorisms is a special skill. It is, perhaps, a skill whose complete absence in postmodern writing most obviously marks that writing as a minor achievement. For anyone with postmodern tendencies, then, consider this the beginning of a worthy course of study. To continue the journey, pick up a copy of the book these are drawn from: The New Italian Aphorists. * * * There is a common feature among all gods, all divinities, all idols, and all prophets from every country and period of history: an overwhelming passion for word puzzles. —Paolo Bianchi *** Today, men don’t form their opinions anymore; opinions form men. * Our society pursues democracy even in thought: to understand less so that everyone understands. —Piero Buscioni *** Around me computers have more and more memory, me less and less. —Rinaldo Caddeo *** The success of a trip depends on the good or terrible choice of the book to read. The day before leaving: a day of suffering. * The body adapts itself to illness, old age, amputation, poverty, prison. The spirit also adapts itself, to bad poetry, bad music, bad painting. Even to bad religion. —Antonio Castronuovo *** I have no certainties And I’m not quite sure of this either. —Donato Di Poce *** All of us have got a double life: the one we had wished to have and the one we actually have…. Maybe we’ve got another one (the one we invent) and even a fourth one (the one we are credited with)…. —Carlo Ferrario *** An Armenian saying runs: “Give a horse to one who tells the truth: he’ll need it to flee.” But give one to a liar too: he’ll need it for his parades. —Sandro Montalto *** I’ve got more room inside than outside. Yet I can’t get in. * Take yourself seriously, just for fun. * Good intentions are bad habits. —Arturo Montieri *** Only mediocre teachers teach what they know, because the good ones also teach what they don’t know. And the best ones? They teach what nobody will ever know. * The noblest ideals? Those ideas we want to impose on others. —Mauro Parrini *** I would praise him if I could give his eulogy. * He blasted me in five columns. What a joy to imagine the torment I inflicted on him by compelling him to read all my books. * When I read his critical articles I think that he learned to swim in a bathtub. * Perhaps I’ve read too many classical tragedies, and now my enemies’ pettiness depresses me a little. —Maria Luisa Spaziani [from The New Italian Aphorists] * * * From the description on Amazon.com (slightly expanded by yours truly):
Filed under: and Tagged: A. R. Ammons, Antonio Castronuovo, Arturo Montieri, Carlo Ferrario, Donato Di Poce, Fabrizio Caramagna, Italian Poetry, John Taylor, Marco Morello, Maria Luisa Spaziani, Mauro Parrini, Paolo Bianchi, Piero Buscioni, Poetry Month, Rinaldo Caddeo, Sandro Montalto, T. S. Eliot, William Stafford