Sensual and glimmering, Lorenzo Chiera’s elliptical fragments evoke nights of bawdy excess in Trastevere (“City made of Roman ruins … / what a whorehouse!”), translated here by one of the most renowned poets of our time.
In his preface, Lawrence Ferlinghetti describes the experience of reading Chiera for the first time: “We soon realize we are in the presence of a savage erotic consciousness, as if the lust-driven senses were suddenly awakened out of a hoary sleep of a thousand years, a youth shaken awake by a rude medieval hand, senses still reeling, drunk in the hold of some slave ship, not knowing night from day nor sight from sound, the eye and the ear and the nose confounding each other, not yet knowing which function each was to take up in the quivering dawn.”
Lawrence gets you laughing then hits you with the truth.
—Francis Ford Coppola
Lawrence Ferlinghetti was the herald of a new age in poetry. He’d learned to write poems in ways that those who see poetry as the province of the few and educated had never imagined. That strength has turned out to be lasting.