5 poems by Miss Poetrix, translated from the Italian by Alessandra Bava

plumearth #3 / credit: deplumearth #3 / credit: em

Translator’s note: Miss Poetrix (pen name for Gaia Casanova) is a poet and performer from Rome, Italy. Her work is reminiscent of Italian poets such as Patrizia Valduga and American poets such as Anne Sexton. Love and loss are two of the major themes in her recently published collection Transfert (Edizioni Ensemble, 2018). Her poems strike the reader with their musicality. The oral quality is particularly important for her and it is a key element of her live performances.

Touch my mouth it is flesh, celestial
star, cavity hiding
domes, gorses. Those unpicked
wildflowers, open your mouth now.
And then little by little
the first kiss is prodigy.


Tocca la mia bocca è carne, astro
celeste, cavità che nasconde
cupole, ginestre. Di campo quei fiori
mai colti, ora schiudi con la bocca.
E poi adagio, adagio
è un prodigio il primo bacio.

Look at me as you look at a woman
walk past the sketched-out outlines of my
silhouette, fill in
the spaces not only those between the eyes.
I’m also skirt, elbows, heels
Look closely, I’m not just head
I’m belly, veins, ankles in a festive mood.

Look at me as you look at a woman
one that’s neither pure soul,
nor pure mind, one that’s
pure body, one that you touch.
You won’t lose your soul if you shy away from the eyes.

Look at me as you look at a woman
the way you’d look at me if I weren’t
inside you. If I, dressed in laurel,
weren’t just toil for you.

But, if in this room, light is uncertain and quivers
figure draw me again and then look at me
like you look at a find.

Female nude en plein air.


Guardami come si guarda una donna
oltrepassa i contorni di questa mia
sagoma appena abbozzata, riempimi
gli spazi non soltanto tra gli occhi.
io sono anche gonna, gomiti, tacchi
guarda bene, non sono solo testa
sono ventre, vene, caviglie in festa.

Guardami come si guarda una donna
una di quelle non solo anima
non solo spirito, una di quelle
dal corpo nitido, una che tu tocchi.
L’anima non la perdi se ti sposti dagli occhi.

Guardami come si guarda una donna
come guarderesti me se non fossi
in te. Se io, vestita solo d’alloro,
non fossi più solo un lavoro per te.

Ma se in questa stanza, la luce è incerta e trema
ridisegnami dal vero e poi guardami
come si guarda una scoperta.

Nudo di donna all’aria aperta.

I remain open
while everything mutates
while even my blood rivers.
Your words
that don’t hold.


Resto aperta
mentre tutto si trasforma
mentre mi fiuma anche il sangue.
Le tue parole
punti di sutura
che non reggono.

My mind padded with sounds
I’m the whirling dervish
mescal in my glass
but nothing, nothing dulls me
like your absence


La mente imbottita di suoni
sono il derviscio che gira
nel mio bicchiere di mescal
ma niente, niente mi stordisce
quanto la tua assenza.

To the newly-found girl

It’s night. It’s no more than a scratch.
From the window the willow challenges me
as I recline on the writing desk
I’m looking for a happy end to my story.
Children believe in fairy tales
you told me as you heard me shiver.
You piled up crumbs on the side of the
table with your fingers, sentries
to my nocturnal ink.

The lit garden, the steps of who comes back,
the celebrating land.
I migrate to your silvery temples
manifestoes of the time that’s left.

We’ll age but like fairies.

Alla bambina ritrovata

È notte. Non è che un graffio.
Dalla finestra il salice mi sfida
mentre china sullo scrittoio
cerco un lieto fine al mio racconto.
I bambini si fidano delle favole
hai detto ascoltandomi tremare.
Con le dita ammucchiavi briciole
ai lati del tavolo, sentinelle
del mio inchiostro notturno.

Il giardino illuminato, i passi di chi torna,
la terra in festa.
Migro sulle tue tempie d’argento
manifesti del tempo che resta.

Invecchieremo ma come fate.

About Alessandra Bava

When she is not translating, Alessandra Bava is writing the biography of a contemporary American poet. Her poems and translations have appeared in journals, such as Gargoyle, Plath Profiles, THRUSH Poetry Journal, Tinderbox, and Waxwing. Three of her chapbooks have been published in the States: They Talk About Death, Diagnosis, and Love & Other Demons. She has recently translated into Italian an Anthology of Contemporary American Women Poets, which includes work by Nikky Finney, Joy Harjo, Patricia Smith, Natalie Diaz, Diane Seuss, and many others. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.

About Miss Poetrix

Miss Poetrix (pen name for Gaia Casanova) is a poet and performer from Rome, Italy. Her website is misspoetrix.com.

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