Italian-English bilingual edition
John Florio Translation Prize 2016
Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation
Archipelago is a bilingual selection of poems by the leading Italian poet Antonella Anedda drawn from five collections she has published in Italy. Her poetry has a searing, disruptive quality, an honesty that is hard won. Her words have the air of breaking the silence reluctantly, and they keep the silence with them. This stringent, ferrous element sets her at odds with the eloquence and lyricism characteristic of the Italian poetic tradition, and may owe something to an alternative nationality, a different landscape. Though born in Rome, she comes from a Sardinian family and has passed a great deal of her life between the capital and a small island, La Maddalena, off the coast of Sardinia. The languages she was brought up hearing were Logudorese, Catalan from Alghero, and Corsican French mixed with the dialect of La Maddalena – and of late she has found herself also writing a number of poems in Logudorese.
While her poems have a geographical sweep, there is also an insistence on domestic detail – balconies, crockery, sewing, cooking: elements often considered too humble to warrant poetic attention. But even here they are often set against a backdrop of war and insecurity, and a poem in these surroundings, such as her ‘Kitchen’, is as likely to be the site of a haunting.
Her first book, Winter Residences, already posited an elsewhere, that of St Petersburg, and an elective affinity with another culture. With time, and with the emergence of her next four books of poetry, this sense of apartness has increased, as has the force and particularity of her language – and has made her, along with Valerio Magrelli, one of the most valued and original poets of her generation.
Translator Jamie McKendrick won the John Florio Prize 2016 for his translation from the Italian for Archipelago.
'Where Anedda crisscrosses the usual navigational lines between poetry and prose, McKendrick expertly follows, occaisionally shifting course himself to good effect.' - Paul Howard and Cristina Viti, Judges, John Florio Prize
‘…Jamie McKendrick’s detailed… attention to line, sound and pattern pay off in a salutary introduction to this Italian poet. Born in Rome in 1958, but with a Sardinian background which features in her recent work, Anedda combines vivid precision, a striking ability to conjure atmospheres and a mortal thinginess.’ – John McAuliffe, The Irish Times
‘Antonella Anedda has had a working relationship with Jamie McKendrick over many years. These authoritative and stylish translations have much to commend them. Self-effacing and true to the originals, they offer those with no Italian English versions that are beautifully cadenced and stand up as poems in their own rights; while for those with some grasp of the language, but who would struggle to read the Italian text unaided, they will open up a clear pathway through it.’ – David Cooke, London Magazine
‘…there is a remarkable chiming between Antonella Anedda’s poetic voice and Jamie McKendrick’s own… he constantly finds the surprisingly right word and repeatedly offers something close to the experience of reading Anedda in Italian.’ – Peter Hainsworth, Times Literary Supplement
‘…Jamie McKendrick has tuned himself perfectly to the transfigured anguish of Antonella Anedda’s Archipelago (Bloodaxe).’ – Marina Warner, Times Literary Supplement, Books of the Year
Antonella Anedda and Jamie McKendrick read from Archipelago
Neil Astley filmed Antonella Anedda and Jamie McKendrick reading and talking about poems from Archipelago before their Ledbury Poetry Festival event on 6 July 2013. The poems included here (in Italian, Logudorese and English) are: ‘Settembre 2001. Arcipelago della Maddalena, isola di S. Stefano’ (‘September 2001, Maddalena Archipelago, Island of S. Stefano’); ‘Contro Scaurum’ (‘Against Scaurus’), a poem in Logudorese originally titled ‘Name’; ‘f’ (‘f’); and ‘Non riesco a sentirti, sta passando un camion…’ (‘I can’t hear you – a lorry laden with iron…’), which is prefaced with an epigraph from Thomas Hardy.