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Portraits of Absence

Portraits of Absence

By Fabiano Alborghetti Marco Sonzogni

Portraits of Absence is poetry of witness, of unflinching eyewitness accounts of atrocities--the devil's definition of humanity. Fabiano Alborghetti's words, unfolding with machine-gun hiccoughs and staccato rhythms, spaces where the dead drop and the living fall, weeping, are tactile, palpable, sonnets of wreckage and ruin. Consider him a 21st-century Wilfred Owen or Siegfried Sassoon, with even less reticence before Horror than either of those Great War Poets. Alborghetti is an essential voice, a cry out-of-the-wilderness of our own bad, mad, sad hearts. We are lucky to have such a courageous Cassandra; we are damned that he has so much Terror to report to us. These are magnificent, impressive lyrics, unforgettable in their heart-tearing, barbed-wire-laced, gung-ho Sorrow.--George Elliott Clarke, Parliamentary/Canadian Poet Laureate (2016-17)


Guernica Editions (Essential Translations Series)


144 pages |

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‘Illegals’. Their condition, their recurring hell has led Alborghetti to consider his regular meetings with the damned in flashes that (it is not hyperbolic to say so) make one think of such an exalted model of our poetry as the Inferno of Dante.

Giovanni Orelli, Azione

An epic diary, in which individual voices are legitimized and expanded by the multilingual chorus surrounding the issue of migration, and personal geographies escape their own boundaries to form a single common map, that of humanity in movement.

Mia Lecomte, Le Monde Diplomatique

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Swiss Literature Prize (Winner)

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About the author

Fabiano Alborghetti (1970) is the author of Verso Buda (2004), L’opposta riva (2006; 2013), Registro dei fragili, 43 Canti (2009) as well as numerous limited editions and plaquettes. His poems have been translated into over a dozen languages. He has represented Canton Ticino, the Italian speaking region of Switzerland where he lives, at literary festivals and cultural events worldwide.

Marco Sonzogni is Senior Lecturer in Italian at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He has been the recipient of several translation awards, including the Looren Translation Grant and the Pro Helvetia Translation Grant, in recognition of published translations as well as on the merits of an ongoing translation projects (Oliver Scharpf, Alberto Nessi, Pietro de Marchi).