Talking of ‘In Reality, Poetry’
Quite recently, in and out the web a remarkable critical demand is emerging, asking for a tight dialogue between poetry and the so-called ‘reality’, an umbrella-term commonly used for lack of more precise words.
For sure, some high-quality websites are already meeting such and similar demands; however, it is our intention to tackle this issue from a particular viewpoint, that is to say, by really putting in the foreground the ‘poetry and reality’ binomial and exploring it via concrete reference to works and texts of literature, thus promoting and enhancing the half-forgotten practice of close reading and textual analysis.
As a matter of fact, texts – both standalone poems and poetry collections considered as a whole – are paradoxically overlooked in the contemporary debate on poetry, almost exclusively centred on large-scale social context, presses and mundane details all around the literary business. More often than not, all this has led to divert the attention from the writing(s) of the authors to their public image or their ‘idealized sensibility’: two sides of the same coin.
Far from being a step back to formalist paradigms, the approach we would like to suggest aims at considering texts and works both as products – in a more or less direct fashion – of a given historical, social and individual situation, and as tools to interpret or seek to understand the reality in which they are situated and/or which they refer to.
‘In Reality, Poetry’ does not aim at proposing a new contemporary Canon, nor does it purport to endorse certain poetic forms/poetics/interpretations to the detriment of others. We would like to think of this project as of a convergence between different critical attitudes and sensitivities, up to the challenge of treating poetry as an interpretive tool of reality alternatively to the dominant paradigms and discourse practices, crediting it with dignity and trust.
If you feel this project is of interest to you, then we invite you to read the submission guidelines for critical material. As apparent from the guidelines themselves, the format of the website is a monographic magazine, while the procedure is a sort of call for papers without deadlines but with a fixed theme, wide as ‘poetry and reality’ actually is. The only variable elements are then the poems (or poetry collections) analysed, and the specificity of the critic writing on them.
All contributions will be published every two weeks on a regular basis, indexed and archived.
Our final purpose is stimulating a fruitful debate inside and outside the literary realm, while at the same time developing a manifold and collective sensitivity as far as the presence and direction of poetry nowadays is concerned. It is our omen that merging and directing all our efforts towards clear and shared goals is a necessary step to stimulate a true exchange about poetry: for those reading it, for those writing it, and for those writing on it.
Aspiring to be a truly collective project, ‘In Reality, Poetry’ cannot and should not dispense with some guidelines – dictated by commonsense and practical considerations – for the submission of critical material. It is in compliance with these guidelines that we seek to avoid any drawback due to an amateurish approach, any blatant heterogeneity of goals and differences in quality, which unfortunately seems the case with many lit-blog currently in activity.
a) The critical contribution:
- Can be in the form of a textual analysis, an in-depth review, an essay or a comparative study.
- Can either be unpublished – hence written for ‘In Reality, Poetry’– or previously published elsewhere, in which case the editorial staff will peer-review the contribution and evaluate its suitability with reference to the goals of the project. In case of acceptance, it will be published, with the proviso that a revision may be required when it appears beneficial. Obviously, the original source of the contribution will be always reported. It is the author’s responsability to require permission from the publisher to re-print the contribution: such permission (e-mail, scanned letter, or other) must be sent to the editorial staff (email@example.com)
- Its length can vary, but contributions under 5.000 characters (blank spaces included) will not normally be accepted. Exceptionally long contributions (over 40.000 characters) may be published in parts and without being interrupted by other essays, for reasons of reader-friendliness.
- It must be sent in a Microsoft word file, and its title should follow the format: Author’s name + contribution’s title.
- It must feature the lines/passages/poems discussed, so that the critical discourse may be verified by anyone.
- Footnotes are optional.
- It can be written in English, Italian, or Spanish.
- In case the contribution will be rejected, by 60 days its author will receive a short note with the editorial staff’s motivations for refusal.
- Every contribution published on ‘In Reality, Poetry’ will be indexed and archived in a file (PDF, MOBI and EPUB) which can be read and downloaded for free for those who subscribed to the website.
- The original source of a contribution first published on ‘In Reality, Poetry’ must be acknowledged whenever such contribution is published again elsewhere, both on the web and in print (e.g. ‘First appeared in ‘In Reality, Poetry’, 20th February 2013’).
- The same critic can contribute more than once to the project, if s/he wishes so.
b) The poetic material to be discussed/analysed:
- Can either be a single poetic text, a poetry collection, or a selection of texts/passages from different authors grouped together for comparative purposes.
- It is totally up to the critic to choose which poetic work to analyse: from canonical poets from the past to contemporary ones, traditional or experimental in form and poetics, provided that in all cases it can be traced is a link to or seen a relevance with our time or our needs both as individuals and within society. The unique yet substantial restriction to this state-of-affairs is that we will not accept materials written for promotional or marketing purposes. This is made explicit in the hope that the need for a disinterested, in-depth analysis would prevail over more short-term temptations. As a consequence, it is hoped that the critic will choose the work to write on in absolute autonomy, without any pressure from authors willing to be presented.
- Poems and passages which are not in Italian should be accompanied by a translation in Italian (this can be made by the editorial staff in case Italian is not the critic’s mother-tongue)
c) The notion of ‘Reality’:
- It is up to the critic to decide what s/he means by ‘Reality’: it can either be a specific theoretical construct, or a concept framed according to a broader philosophical perspective, according to commonsense and so on (e.g. in the widest of senses: ‘Reality is everything standing outside us and which is of some relevance to us’). Preferentially, ‘In Reality, Poetry’ endorses pluralist, re-constructivist perspectives at odds with radical nihilism or quasi-orphic perspectives. Whatever the sense adopted, it is of paramount importance that the critic makes such sense as explicit as possible in the course of its contribution, so that its position may be easily determined and contextualised.
- It can be intra-textual, extra-textual or both. In other words, it is perfectly fine to write on the reality (or reality) represented by a poem or work (e.g. the London of the 20s in The Waste Land and the spiritual dryness of that time); or on the reality preceding the poem (e.g. the historical, cultural and social context favouring certain poetic forms and poetics over others); or even the target context (e.g. why certain texts are still of vital importance today). All these options may be exclusive (one can focus on one aspect only) or inclusive, in the attempt to connect them (e.g. to link the context of production, context of reception and the ‘text-world’ created by the poem/collection). Again, the final choice it is up to the critic.
NB: in order to avoid specious and amateurish debates, the comment form will be closed at all times, excepting the editorials (which are published every five contributions). In case anyone would like to endorse, criticize or reject a contribution published on ‘In Reality, Poetry’ can do so only by writing and proposing a second contribution which complies with the above guidelines. We will not accept any request of books, manuscripts or attachments to be reviewed. For any further information, please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Luigi Bosco (Puglia, Italy, 1982). After graduating in Psychology at the University of Bologna, he lived in New York, Boston and London. He currently lives and works in Madrid, in the meanwhile working towards a PhD in Psychoanalysis and Philosophy of Culture. In 2010 he founded the poetry portal Poesia 2.0. He likes writing and reading, without pretensions.
Davide Castiglione (Alessandria, Italy, 1985). He graduated at the University of Pavia in 2010 on the Italian translation of Williams Carlos Williams made by the Italian poet Vittorio Sereni. He currently lives in Nottingham (UK) where he is working towards a PhD in contemporary poetry and linguistics. In 2008 he won some local literary prizes (‘Subway’, ‘I Poeti Laureandi’). He also published a poetry collection, Per ogni frazione (‘Across the fractions’, Campanotto press, 2010). He writes reviews for the web and is personal blog iswww.castiglionedav.altervista.org.
Lorenzo Mari (Mantova, Italy, 1984). He lives and works in Bologna. He published the poetry collections libere sequele (‘Free series’, Gazebo 2004), Pellegrinaggio senza Endimione (‘Pilgrimage without Endymion’, Inventario Senese press, 2007, winner of the Alessandro Tanzi prize) and Minuta di silenzio (‘Draft of silence’, L’Arcolaio press, 2009). His poems are hosted in the anthologies Nella borsa del viandante (‘In the wanderer’s bag’), edited by Chiara De Luca (Fara press 2009) and La generazione entrante. Poeti nati negli anni Ottanta(‘The coming generation. Poets born in the Eighties’) edited by Matteo Fantuzzi (Ladolfi press, 2011). He also translates fiction and poetry from the English and the Spanish: the most recent translation is Il desiderio è un ospite (‘Desire is a guest’), a poetry collection by David Eloy Rodríguez (L’Arca Felice press, 2012).
Michele Ortore (San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy, 1987). He graduated at the La Sapienza University in Rome with a thesis on the language of astronomy in non-specialized settings. His poems appeared on anthologies of national prizes, among which Poesia di strada 2010 and Il lago verde 2011, as well as on various magazines and lit-blogs (Argo, La poesia e lo spirito, Poetarum Silva, Neobar, the newspaper La Stampa, by poet and critic Maurizio Cucchi). He has been among the finalists at the Opera Prima Prize (by Poesia 2.0), with the poetic sequence Corde nel vuoto (‘Chords in the vacuum’). In the duo Eccessivamente lirici (‘exceedingly lyrical’) he reads his poems in Rome and in the Marche region, together with the pianist Gianluca Angelici. He is a freelance journalist and has written on theatre and poetry for the magazines Atelier, KLPteatro, PAC, UT and theQuaderni del Teatro di Roma.