Young Writers in Ferrara

Written by  Roberto Pazzi
Not just sounds and images, words too.
Ferrara, the city of art; Ferrara, the city of concerts, of music, of exhibitions that attract "intelligent" tourism; Ferrara, the city of culture. Of course, we are the first to be glad about this, but a spontaneous objection arises. And the written word? Can it be that Ferrara's cultural programme has room only for the sign and the image, sound and music?

From this reflection springs the need to raise public awareness of the ongoing ferment in the city's literary world, to the young people who dream of writing and hope to pour the best of their creative intelligence into books. On the 6th of last February, at the "Al brindisi" vintage wine cellars, dozens and dozens of young people assembled to read and listen to a selection of published and unpublished poetry and narrative. I went along to listen to them with enormous interest, happy to see the fertility of this literary humus here in Ferrara.

I should like to mention readings by Carlo Maiotti, Bruno Bruglia, Gabriella Pranzo, Tony Aiello, Guido Marchigiani, Monica Pavani, Sergio Fortini, and Luca Bolognini, just a few of the names that struck me for the originality and necessity of their literary creations. Thanks to Monica Pavani we have a splendid translation of a poetess who is little known in Italy: Catherine Pozzi, Paul Valéry's lover. It was a rare emotion to hear the voice of our young translator declaiming a song so noble and so little known in Italy.
Ivan Zucconelli is a twenty-three year old student from Mezzogoro in his final year in biology; I have already spoken of him and his fine short story Ritorno a Ginevra in various national newspapers. Zucconelli's story - told in a series of flashbacks - deals with the life of a great teacher, Professor De Kooning, who has taught the principles of scientific research to generations of students.

Another kind of work altogether, but one that still gives us pleasure and a certain confidence in the cultural climate of the city, is the intelligent, open-minded and artfully provocative book Le muse impudenti (published by Delta) by Riccardo Roversi, Roberto Guerra and Louis Olivencia. The two young poets from Ferrara, along with their painter friend Olivencia - a New Yorker by birth but Ferrarese by adoption - have reviewed a thousand years of Ferrara's existence as if they wished to indicate what should be preserved and what thrown away before making the leap into the new millennium.

I should also like to say a few words about a young poet, Sergio Fortini, whose book Ferite da piccolo taglio seems heavily influenced by the fashion for pulp. On that evening of 6 February, I heard him read poems imbued with a remarkable metaphorical strength and linguistic richness, poems that he read with skill and passion. Fortini promises much for the future and allows us to think that far more young Ferraresi than we could have imagined are standing ready to assume the inheritance handed down by Corrado Govoni, Lanfranco Caretti, and Giorgio Bassani.