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Theme of Farewell and After-Poems

A Bilingual Edition

Edited and Translated by Susan Stewart and Patrizio Ceccagnoli
Milo De Angelis, born in 1951, is one of the most important living Italian poets. With this volume, Susan Stewart and Patrizio Ceccagnoli bring to English readers for the first time a facing-page edition of his most recent work: his book-length elegy, Theme of Farewell, and the subsequent poems of That Wandering in the Darkness of Courtyards. These two books form a sequence narrating the illness and premature death, in 2003, of the poet’s wife, the writer Giovanna Sicari, a celebrated poet in her own right; they also trace De Angelis’s turn from grief, through time, back to the world. Immediate, perceptive, and woven from the fabric of everyday life in contemporary Milan, the poems never depart from universal human emotions of despair and awakening. Throughout his long career, De Angelis has renewed lyric poetry with the sheer intensity of his forms and insights, and the volumes offered here have won some of the most important Italian literary awards, including the coveted Premio Viareggio.
These inexorable and beautifully crafted translations will be of interest to scholars of contemporary Italian literature, students of contemporary poetry and literary translation, and those who work in comparative literature. Above all, they are bound to speak to any reader in search of a poet writing at the height of his powers of expression.

168 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2013

Literature and Literary Criticism: Romance Languages



“Milo De Angelis is surely among the most important Italian poets of our day, and this supple and subtle translation of his two most recent books is a gratifying event. These are poems of dense abstraction and rugged lyricism, and they come to life in grief, amid the asphalt of the poet’s native city, Milan. Susan Stewart and Patrizio Ceccagnoli have done a terrific job of bringing them to America.”

Geoffrey Brock, editor of The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Italian Poetry: An Anthology

“This careful work by Susan Stewart and Patrizio Ceccagnoli is the most capacious English rendering so far of this major contemporary Italian poet. One is able to follow the poetic and spiritual journey of Milo De Angelis as revealed in his passage from a gently eloquent tone to a more urgent language (perhaps precipitated by a lacerating personal loss). To be sure, the poet remains faithful to his distinguished elaboration of the post-symbolist heritage, such as the phrase repetitions with an emotional tinge, certain softly surreal images (“And you will fly across the courtyard / while someone you don’t know leans / from the balcony with asphalt in his hands”), and well-rounded, quotable lines placed at strategic points (“in the secret clamor where they return”). But in the poetic development documented by this important volume, the Milanese poet—exploring his particular city-within-the-city—enters more and more deeply into a courageous exploration of self and past, resulting in a new opening to the world.”

Paolo Valesio, Columbia University

“The translation is remarkable and adroit. . . . De Angelis’s voice is heard in both languages.  There is music, and perhaps more—a distance that allows echoes to linger and resonate.”

Words Without Borders

*Best Books We Read in 2021*
"I received this book as a gift, and it quickly became one of the most important poetry collections in my life. Milo de Angelis chronicles his journey following the death of his wife, poet and writer Giovanna Sicari, in 2003, with quietly reflective lyric verse. This bilingual version from the University of Chicago Press features the original Italian along with a translation by Susan Stewart and Patrizio Ceccagnoli."

Lit Hub


American Literary Translators Association: National Translation Award

Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Translation Prize

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