WPM Genova Report

Anna Lombardo

Genova, March 17th, 2023

Coordinator in Italy: Anna Lombardo.

Most of my poetic activity revolves around raising consciousness around the power of the poetic word. Therefore, I organise readings that have social issues (wars, violence against women, immigration, school etc.) whenever it is possible and creative sections in which I try to involve musicians and painters. At the same time, I keep on organising the International Poetry Festival ‘Palabra en el Mundo’, following the appeal launched from Avana’s Festival every year against the ‘bloquero’ and for Peace.

During the pandemic, most of these activities had to stop all over. However, I continued to meet (via zoom) with other poets and organised the two contracultural conferences wanted by the American poet Jack Hirshman before he died. The first conference, “Revolutionary vision: Toward the cultural offensive”, was held in October 2021 via zoom

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpCRF67H2Ac&t=158s) while the second one, “Towards a chorus of People”, was in November 2022 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHiu5Ld1NVE&list=PLt2Ym6El1OyrrRTEw-RsNFcOnCwFqT_WP&index=4) . At the moment, we are working on the third one.

I also dedicate my efforts to translating other poets into Italian, trying to make them more visible to Italian readers because I believe that, as poets who know other languages, we must support our fellows. During these past two months, I translated the poems of a mighty voice of a Chicano-American poet, Matt Sedillo, and I am happy that his book will see its Italian version late in April of this year. Another poet I am working on at the moment is the Iranian poet Maryam Ala Amjadi. I believe poetry, despite being an individual act, is a markedly collective act still capable of producing knowledge, aggregation, of making people discuss the ties and roles that limit us and chain us to positions that no one has chosen for themselves and which, on closer inspection, they penalize everyone. Functions that do not serve most of the world’s population; they serve a few who are consciously or unconsciously destroying our humanity. That’s why my activity also includes working with translations.Since January, I have been engaged in the organisation of the XVII edition of the International Poetry Festival ‘Palabra en el Mundo’, which is at the end of May. Its principal issue (also this year) is again Peace, so all the poets and musicians involved are artists against the war, the injustices, inequalities etc. It also takes a lot of work because Venice is not a very easy terrain: the city is full of international events that consider only a profitable aspect, which is not our principal goal. And that’s why the local institution doesn’t provide any help for the festival but, besides these difficulties, with some friends, I kept going and we will do it this year too. Another event I am organising is a reading on the first of May in Milan, in favour of those workers who lost and are losing their jobs.For me, poetic writing is an active journey of listening and reading of oneself and the world, which puts us back into the game, pushes us to seek our voice, and questions us about our positions and our limits. And in this, I see its revolutionary strength. I strongly believe in the responsibility of writing: I can’t write and stand by the window and watch. I’m not interested in that kind of poetry and poets. Some say, and there are still many, that poetry and poets must not take sides and that poetry is above everything. But above what?Like all artistic expression that defines itself as such, poetry has a pact of commitment and responsibility towards itself and the world, a pact that cannot be betrayed.Poetry is necessary, and everyone’s rights, like bread and water which are increasingly taken away from us. It offers us a terrain of common resonances even if crossed by differences, and perhaps this is also its richness. Poetry knows how to weave threads and networks and opens more and more to understanding, tolerance, civil coexistence, and respect for one’s differences. Poetry has and can recover a space for active participation in this society aimed mainly at collecting what is immediately usable. Brief Bio: 

Publication. Bilingual poetry books: Quel Qualcosa che manca/The something that’s missing, 2009; Nessun Alibi / Ninguna Coartada, 2004; Even the Fish are Drunk / Anche I pesci ubriachi, 2002; Con Candide Mani, 2020. She curated the following anthologies: “C’è chi crede nei sogni, 2014; 15×15 la fotografia incontra la poesia, 2020; Quaderni della Palabra, Venezia, (2020-2021-2022).

Other Critical works and translations, among others, on: Jack Hirschman, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Joyce Lussu, K.J. Knox, Amy Lowell. Her poems are translated in many languages and appears in magazines and various blogs. Guest in many international poetry festivals (San Francisco, Irak, India, Colombia, etc.). Artistic Director of the International Poetry Festival, Palabra en el Mundo since 2011, in Venice.