How I write: poet and translator Marco Sonzogni explains how language makes history

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Marco Sonzogni is a poet and scholar, and one of the two editors, along with Timothy Smith, of a new anthology More Favorable Waters: Aotearoa Poets Respond to Dante's Purgatory (The Cuba Press)

provided / Robert Cross

Marco Sonzogni is a poet and scholar, and one of the two editors, along with Timothy Smith, of a new anthology More Favorable Waters: Aotearoa Poets Respond to Dante’s Purgatory (The Cuba Press)

Marco Sonzogni is a French poet and scholar, and one of the two editors, along with Timothy Smith, of a new anthology More favorable waters: the poets of Aotearoa respond to Dante Purgatory (The Cuban press). Italo-New Zealand, he teaches at the School of Languages ​​and Cultures, Victoria University of Wellington – Te Herenga Waka, and is the director of the New Zealand Center for Literary Translation.

Which book would you have liked to write and why?

Seamus Heaney Death of a naturalist (1966). Everything is close to the physical and emotional environment with which I grew up. When I translated the book into Italian, I became fully aware of the perfect consonance I felt with this book, which made this question the easiest to answer.

Which writer do you turn to when you have writer’s block?

Eugenio Montale for Italian and Seamus Heaney for English. Again and again – in fact, every day. Does this mean I have Writer’s Block every day? I’m not sure, but I certainly feel inadequate as a writer every day, without a doubt.

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What book stood out on you so much that you bought it for your friends?

I continue to donate one of Heaney’s 12 collections of poems. Recently Aeneid Book VI (2016), published posthumously, but also Human chain (2010), his latest collection, and Station Island (1984), which I consider to be one of the finest collections of poems ever written.

When it comes to a memorable book, what is more important, a great storyline or great characters?

The most important thing for me, as a poet and poet-translator, is how language makes a story – any story and any character, animate and inanimate – come to life intellectually and emotionally. and so “sing very close to the music of what is happening. “(Seamus Heaney). The craft, or the technique, and the tension, or the emotion, that an author manages to create with the language he uses.

What books made you cry?

My mother’s copy of Cuore (1886), by Edomondo De Amicis: the book itself as an object and its contents make me and still make me cry. The book was slightly damaged when I shipped it with my entire library to New Zealand.

More favorable waters: the poets of Aotearoa respond to Dante's purgatory.

PROVIDED

More favorable waters: the poets of Aotearoa respond to Dante’s purgatory.

What’s your guilty pleasure reading list?

Comics – all, really, but mostly Asterix, which I like to read in all languages ​​that I can understand.

What book do you read over and over again?

Dante’s Divina Commedia, from Petrarch Canzonière, and Boccaccio Decameron . The founding fathers of my mother tongue, spoken and written. They never tire me and they always read news and relevant information.

Which authors would you like in your book club?

Alphabetically, Akhmatova, Joyce, Mansfield and Dostoyevsky.

Where are you happiest with a book in your hand?

Anywhere really but I will say Starbucks with a Venti filter coffee. And it’s Saturday or Sunday and I don’t have to run or do anything.

What book did you read as a child or teenager that made a deep impression on you?

Pinocchio (1883), by Carlo Collodi, and Cuore (1886), by Edmondo de Amicis.

Have you ever finished a book and gone straight to the beginning to read it again?

Yes – Dante’s Hell. Because I had to do it in school and because I want to, ever since.

What’s your writing routine?

First thing in the morning and last thing in the evening – between work and family, I quickly take up most of my time and concentration.

And where do you write?

Anywhere, really but recently I have spoken to friends about my “B&B” regarding the writing spaces: ”, where I email myself what I believe will eventually become a poem.


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