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Poems by Franca Mancinelli in the January Review

The poetic sequence « Postcards for a Landscape » has been published in the third issue of the January Review.

Postcards for a Landscape

earth, an obscure page:

what happens is written

shatters and crumbles

in the darkness reaches

meaning, is lost.


 the sea changes the earth

moves through furrows,

rows of sowing, roads

that sink. Small lights

faraway the houses turn into candles:

so the night can pronounce

the day’s every deed.


 every city is a clearing

—beaten earth for sleeping,

dust and burnt-out embers.

Original Italian poems:

la terra, una pagina scura:

ciò che cade si scrive

frantuma e sgrana

nel buio raggiunge

il senso, si perde.


il mare cambia la terra

si muove per scie di arature

correnti di semine, strade

che affondano. Piccole luci

lontano le case si fanno candele:

ché la notte pronunci

ogni gesto del giorno.


ogni città è una radura

–terra battuta per dormire,

polvere e braci spente.

— ©Franca Mancinelli

—© translation by John Taylor

Franca Mancinelli was born in Fano, Italy, in 1981. Her first three collections of poems and prose poems, Mala kruna (2007), Pasta madre (2013), and Libretto di transito (2018), received several prizes and much critical acclaim in Italy. These volumes are available in John Taylor’s translations at the Bitter Oleander Press as At an Hour’s Sleep from Here and The Little Book of Passage. Her writings about the refugee routes in Croatia have been published in the volume Come tradurre la neve (Anima Mundi, 2019). She has just published a new collection of poetry and poetic prose, Tutti gli occhi che ho aperto (Marcos y Marcos, 2020), from which these three poems are drawn. Franca Mancinelli’s blog-website:

John Taylor was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1952. He has long lived in France. He has translated many French and Italian poets and written extensively on contemporary European poetry. His own poetry collections include The Dark Brightness (Xenos Books), Grassy Stairways (The MadHat Press), Remembrance of Water & Twenty-Five Trees (The Bitter Oleander Press) and a “double book” co-authored with the Swiss poet Pierre Chappuis, A Notebook of Clouds & A Notebook of Ridges (The Fortnightly Review). John Taylor’s website:

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