Mario Luzi (translated by Dana Gioia)

THE LIVING AND THE DEAD

STANDARD EDITION

Aralia Press, 2012

 

Designed and printed by Michael Peich at Aralia Press.

Published in an edition of 240 copies, of which 32 are deluxe copies.

 

Until recently, the only work of Dana Gioia’s that I had read was the exquisite Journeys in Sunlight (featured elsewhere in this Books of the Moment section). I have now become much better acquainted with his work, and it has so far been a case of the poetry being consistently very much to my taste. Although not entirely Gioia’s work, this short collection of his poetic translations of a handful of Mario Luzi’s rich and meditative poetry is exquisite and certainly seems to bear his stamp. It is difficult to know how much of Dana’s presence is in these translations, as I neither know, nor can read, the Italian originals. But, I certainly do feel a strong sense of Gioia’s touch about them. The use of bold, immediate lines woven together with elements as elusive and subtle as distant whispers makes for alluring reading. It certainly grabs a real hold and invites further perusal.

This edition is one from Michael Peich’s Aralia Press in West Chester, Pennsylvania – a press that I’ve only recently come across. The lateness of this discovery is a huge oversight, for the work I’ve seen is first rate. Peich’s typography (and design in general) is typically very clean and restrained (as is the case here), and the materials, presswork, choice of types, and line drawings by Fulvio Testa are all excellent, making the resulting edition an aesthetic joy as well as a literary one.

Unfortunately, such a lovely edition rather highlights how much of a pity it is that Peich has now called time on his publishing, for the fine press world can only benefit from the example his high standard of work sets. I certainly need to get more Aralia Press publications on my shelves.

 

 

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