“This is my understanding of writing: to write in order to disappear, so that life is revealed to me, without me, my face at last more blurred than the whiteness of the paper, bereft of reflection. A world where one can forget oneself. Not a mirror, but a stone.”
Antonella Anedda was born in Rome in 1955. She studied in Rome and Venice and received her university degree in the history of modern art. Anedda has published poetry, essays and translations, primarily of poetry (including authors such as Ovid, St. John Perse, Philippe Jaccottet, and Jamie McKendrick). Her writings have been published in several Italian and foreign anthologies. In 2000, she was awarded the Eugenio Montale Prize for her poetry collection Notti di pace occidentale.
The poetry of Antonella Anedda, one of the most authoritative and significant voices in contemporary Italian poetry, is marked by a return to the strong and essential themes of contemporary man: human suffering, the sense of the tragic, war, the meditation on time, the destiny of our world. The intensity of her poetry stems from these themes and is profoundly tied to the ethical tension of her writing, where poetic spirit and philosophical questioning are intertwined. But this depth is reconciled with lightness as well, in a poetry that unites the tragic with the joyful, attention to detail with the most acute introspection, pain with the miraculous suspension of all suffering. And beauty is more intense and radiant the closer it is to the dark root of life. As Anedda herself explains in a note to Il catalogo della gioia, “To those who asked him the difference between being sad and having heart-broken, Nachman answered that being heart-broken was not an obstacle to joy.”
Far the self-celebrating narcissism of the ego, Antonella Anedda’s poetry seems to spring from an act of removal, almost of sacrifice. “When I write, I withdraw,” writes Anedda, and adds, “I dream of a language that is capable of expressing the self without the intrusiveness of the self (…) A self capable of a glance, capable of listening but with its own glance and ear and its own imperious voice set aside, abandoned.” This exclusion is already evident in a style that is absolutely and extraordinarily free of rhetorical gratification. It is evident as well in the quest for a language that is “anonymous, exact,” with a rigor that is intimate, like that of a spiritual exercise. It is writing that is essential, yet gentle and impassioned as well. As Franco Loi writes, “it is vigorous and kind, while at the same time as penetrating and persuasive as a voice.”
The expressive precision of her unadorned word complies with and corresponds to the object. Its constant point of reference is a bare reality, the landscapes and objects of daily life. This is because the everyday is the only dimension one can feel part of, in which one can search for a vestige of meaning: “Reality is not an enduring thing, it needs our protection. Buildings collapse, entire worlds disappear. Language can from time to time dig a hospitable hole, in which nothing is superfluous, it can put up a perimeter fenced within which things and people can breathe side by side, enjoy the light, and survive.” Poetry as protection from pain, from the violence in the world, from abandonment, and from the insidious danger of silence that constantly threatens to dissolve our precarious reality and the word.
Residenze invernali (Crocetti, Milan 1992), winner of the Sinisgalli Prize, the Diego Valeri Prize, and the Tratti Poetry Prize.
Notti di pace occidentale (Donzelli, Rome, 1999), Montale Prize 2000.
Il catalogo della gioia (Donzelli, Rome 2003).
Essays and Short Stories
Cosa sono gli anni (Fazi, Rome, 1997).
La luce delle cose (Feltrinelli, Milan, 2000).
Appunti per una semina (an Anthology of Texts by Philippe Jaccottet), (Fondazione Piazzola, Rome, 1994).
Nomi distanti (Empiria, Rome, 1998).
Antonella Anedda on Lyrikline