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Almost sixty years after its publication, what many consider Bartolo Cattafi’s most important book and an indispensable classic of contemporary Italian poetry is back. As Giovanni Raboni wrote in the cover of the first edition, Cattafi now ventures into an indeterminate space, touching, ‘in continuous tension with the unknowable and ineffable, the very limits of communication’. Always on the alert in the face of doubt and the unexpected, Cattafi’s poetry reaches its most original stylistic-expressive results, mixing the cognitive charge that belongs to the aphoristic and epigrammatic genres with the nostalgic opening of a memorial vein. The autobiographical element, so intimately inherent to Cattafi’s lyricism, is reworked until it becomes the highest expression of a tragic but necessary destiny. Contrary to what he himself defines as ‘the cold determinations of intelligence, the exercises (albeit very civilised), the experiments that cunningly or naively attempt the impossible roll of the dice’, Cattafi returns us to his first and never abandoned intuition: that poetry, in its essence, is ‘a way like any other of being human’. This edition, celebrating the centenary of the poet’s birth, is enriched by an extensive introductory essay, an updated bibliography and an excursus that analyses the reception and interpretation of the work, examines its linguistic aspects and reveals its intricate thematic paths.

Edited by Diego Bertelli.

Series “novecento/duemila” directed by Diego Bertelli and Raoul Bruni

Bartolo Cattafi (Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto, 1922 – Milan, 1979) made his debut with Nel centro della mano (1951), which was followed by Partenza da Greenwich (1955) and Le mosche del meriggio (1958). L’osso, l’anima (1964) marks the apex of his first creative phase. After a long silence, he published six more poetry collections: L’aria secca del fuoco (1972), La discesa al trono (1975), Marzo e le sue idi (1977), L’allodola ottobrina (1979), Chiromanzia d’inverno (1983) e Segni (1986).