Monday, May 28, 2018

Salvatore Quasimodo

Salvatore Quasimodo (1901—1968) is an Italian poet of Sicilian heritage. In the late 1930s he dedicated himself entirely to writing, and although he was opposed to fascism he did not participate in the resistance to the German occupation during WWII. One of his major projects during this time was a translation of the Gospel of John. In 1945 he became a member of the Italian Communist Party.

The range of his translation work is broad, including Greek Tragedies, Shakespearian plays, and the 20th century poetry of E.E. Cummings and Pablo Neruda. His own poetry became increasingly influential. In the 1950s he received many awards, including the 1959 Nobel Prize in Literature. Toward the end of his life he travelled through Europe and to the United States for readings and lectures.

The following poems were translated by Jack Bevan

Day Stoops

You find me forsaken, Lord,
in your day
and have no grace
locked from all light.

Without you I go in dread,
lost road of love,
and have no grace,
fearful even to confess,
so my wishes are barren.

I have loved you, fought you;
day stoops
and I gather shades from the skies;
how sad my heart
of flesh.

For Sunday in Albis

You have not betrayed me, Lord:
I am the first-born
of every grief.

This post was suggested by my friend Burl Horniachek.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection is Ampersand (2018, Cascade). His books are available through Amazon, and Wipf & Stock, including the anthologies The Turning Aside, and Adam, Eve, & the Riders of the Apocalypse.