23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait Elisa Biagini
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Elisa Biagini

The poet Elisa Biagini was born in Florence in 1970. After graduating from university she obtained her doctorate at the American Rutgers University, and subsequently taught Italian at different universities (including Columbia University, Gettysburg College and Barnard College).

Her first anthology of poems »Questi Nodi« (tr: These Knots) was published in 2003, followed by five more collections, including the bilingual volumes with poems in Italian and English »L’ospite« (tr: The Guest) and »Fiato. Parole per Musica« (tr: Breath. Words for Music). Her poems have been translated into 13 languages. Biagini’s poetry is full of metaphors. It depicts everyday life within the clear spatial limits of a house or a room. Yet, while she delves into the observation of ordinary things or activities, she senses the hidden secrets of her very existence. Mercilessly she analyses the human being, and, thus, considers her poems political works: »I have often asked myself, why I write poetry. My poems must discover reality, and see it through different eyes. By writing about seemingly private details, I want to capture an experience we share, a pain in life we all suffer. Therefore I consider my poetry political, because it analyses the experiences of life and its contradictions. I want to incite the reader to reflect on life. I do not intend to offer consolation«. In the poems of her recent anthology »Nel bosco« (2007; tr: In the Forest) she uses the metaphor of the forest as the site of archetypical fairly tales, innocent primordial fears, as the venue of loneliness, of spirits and sexuality. This way, the forest becomes the point of departure for a journey into the inner being of man.

Elisa Biagini is also a translator. In 2001 she published her translations of Alicia Ostriker’s poems and prose. She has also translated Sylvia Plath, Mark Haddon, Sharon Olds and Lucille Clifton, and published an anthology of contemporary American poetry »Nuovi Poeti Americani« in 2006. Biagini cooperates with visual artists in an interdisciplinary context. She wrote songs for a CD with the composer Filippo Gatti and created several performances with the choreographer Virgilio Sieni.

Elisa Biagini teaches art history, literature and creative writing. The freelance writer and artist lives in Florence.

© internationales literaturfestival berlin


Questi Nodi

Turin, 2004

Fiato. Parole per musica
Edizioni d’If
Neapel, 2006

Nel bosco
Turin, 2007