Cristina Annino

Chronic Hearing
Selected Poems 1977-2012


Translated by Adria Bernardi

Cover Artwork © 2006 by Cristina Annino

"L'udito cronico: l'universo é questa foglia che mi tocca la testa"
(Chronic Hearing: The Universe is This Leaf Touching My Head)

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Chronic Hearing draws from seven of the poet’s collections: Ritratto di un Amico Paziente (Portrait of a Patient Friend); L’udito cronico (Chronic Hearing); Madrid; Gemello Carnivoro (Carnivorous Twin); Casa d’Aquila (House of the Eagle); Magnificat; and Chanson Turca (Turkish Chanson).

 “Unconstrained by the desire to theorize a message, Cristina Annino allows the content of her poems to simply blossom, free. And it is precisely in these moments that an elegiac and philosophic tone emerges, entrusted to key verses that have a sudden, surprise effect, like when one takes a breath after a period of apnea.” —Alessandro Polcri, associate editor of Italian Poetry Review.

Cristina Annino has published twelve volumes of poetry, be­ginning with Non me lo dire, non posso crederci, in 1969. Madrid was awarded the Premio Pozzale Luigi Russo in 1988 and, in 2010, Magnificat: Poesia 1969–2009, was awarded the Premio Lorenzo Montano.  Her most recently published volume of poetry, Chanson Turca, was published in 2012. Cristina Annino’s paintings have been included in private and collective exhibitions.  Born in Arezzo, Annino lived in Rome for many years and currently resides in Milan.

Click each link for an excerpt

From "Ottetto per madre" (Octet for Mother) in Casa d'Aquila (House of the Eagle)

From Magnificat (Magnificat)

From Chanson Turca (Turkish Chanson)

 

 

 

from "Ottetto per madre" (Octet for Mother) in Casa d'Aquila (House of the Eagle)

 
 

 

 


Il Panda

Senza pace, con pena e senza girarmi
mai, pestando
mica pepe o caffè ma gardenie, io amo
la mamma e i topi; li metto insieme chissà
perché. O ancora perché voler bene a quel
modo spezzato così in due, collo in giù,
polvere senza cerniere, bottone, qualcosa.
Sempre
senza girarmi. I Perché chiarendo la vita ai
tramvai, alle piante. Lei, pura,
mi dà
questa riserva di bambù. Nient’altro.
Poi via. Io
su, ché l’ho addosso oramai e non posso
schivarla, pestarla nemmeno, mettendo con
cura ogni piede tra l’erba.

The Panda

Without let up, with pain and without ever turning
around, tromping
no pepper or coffee but gardenias, I love
Mom and mice; who knows why I put them
together. Or again why love breaking into two
that way, neck hanging down,
dust without clasp, button, something.
Always
without turning around. The Whys becoming clear to the
trams, to the plants. She, innocent,
gives me
this sanctuary of bamboo. Nothing else.
Then gone. Here
I go, it’s all on me now and I can’t
escape it, tromp on it either, placing each
foot with great deliberation in the grass.

 


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From Magnificat (Magnificat)

 
 

 

 


Moriranno le passioni nostre

Moriranno le passioni, nostre
criniere, passando
per strada coi colli
pesanti di lana, agili
gambe in avanti, dietro, di
lato. Le
guarderemo stupefacenti — almeno
come la vedo io — in questa
serata che sembra
mammina d’Europa. Tristi
e tonali, accese. Mai
vissuto un
tempo più madre di questo
ricordo di loro, care, nate
eterne, scolo del
mondo magari ma forse
vere, il
meglio di noi chissà, gregarie
comunque nella volata.

Our Passions Are Going to Die

Our passions will die, our
manes, travelling
through the streets, necks
thick with wool, nimble
front ahead, behind,
sideways. We’ll
look at them stupefied—at least
that’s how I see it—on this
evening that feels like
little mamma of Europe. Sad
and tonal. Lit. Never
lived a
time more mother to this
memory of them, so dear, eternally
born, weep hole of the
world but maybe even
real, the
best of us who knows, gregarious
in any event in the flight.

 


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From Chanson Turca (Turkish Chanson)

 
 

 

 


Una gran cosa

Ora dico quella Cosa faceva spettacolo. Era
una mosca bendata piena di
di fuoco elastico. Strizzava eppure lo
stomaco dalla paura che finisse
pestata, tant’era
magra. Con lei beata ho tenuto duro
il pacchetto — vita lavoro età — un gioco
insomma
con le mani per aria al buio, per
quello scopo.
Ripeto, un piccolo pezzo
di Cosa umana. La saluto
d’accapo! Aveva negli occhi
qualcosa fuori
dalla speranza e la lingua un
andare sacro. Mi sarei meritato il
miracolo, penso, d’averla insieme, o
portarmi dietro quel filo d’Arianna.
Lei taceva
per l’ampiezza d’un toro. Era zitta e
respirando nel coro di tutte le voci in
terra. Per questo, avrei
potuto ascoltarla, perché corale, e d’un
tale silenzio fonico che ci vedevo il
nulla decrepito o le amare
piante carnivore. Anche
solo camminare insieme faceva strepito.

A Big Thing

I’m saying now that Thing turned into a spectacle. It was
a blindfolded fly full of
elastic fire. The gut though was spinning
with fear she’d end up
smashed, because she was
skinny. With blessed her I gripped the stack
tight—life work age—a game
in other words
with hands in the air in the dark, for
that objective.
I repeat, a small piece
of human Thing. I greet her
da capo! She had something outside
hope in her eyes
and the tongue a
sacred going. I’d have deserved the
miracle, I think, having it together, or
taking me behind that thread of Ariadne.
Because of the size of a bull
she was silent.
She was quiet and breathing in
the chorus of all the voices on
earth. Because of this, I would have been
able to listen to her, because choral, and of such
a phonic silence that I saw the
decrepit nothing or the bitter
carnivorous plants there. Even just walking
together made a din.

 

 

 

Casa d’Aquila, (Bari: Levante Editori, 2008); Magnificat: Poesia 1969–2009, (Novi Ligure, Alessandria: Puntoacapo Editrice, 2009); Chanson Turca, (Faloppio, Como: LietoColle, 2012).

 


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