POETS @ STANZA 2020: A SELECTION OF REVIEWS BY DURA - Christine De Luca and Carlo Pirozzi eds, Paolozzi at Large in Edinburgh: Artworks and Creative Respones

Monday 17 February 2020

For 2020, the StAnza Blog is hosting DURA – the Dundee University Review of the Arts – who as reviewers in virtual residence on the StAnza Blog will post excerpts from their selection of reviews of titles by poets on the StAnza 2020 programme, including this one in today’s blog. The full review can be read on their website at  https://dura-dundee.org.uk/category/poets-stanza-2019-reviews/. Written by staff and students, DURA is keen to promote the diversity of artists and art forms in the UK context, supporting especially (albeit non-exclusively) independent cinema outlets, exhibitions, theatre, film and publishing. 

Christine De Luca and Carlo Pirozzi eds, Paolozzi at Large in Edinburgh: Artworks and Creative Respones, reviewed by Beth McDonough

‘It is monumental, more than the sum of its parts.’
(Christine De Luca)

We are faced less with ‘how do you solve a problem like Maria?’, more how do you define a Titan like Paolozzi? If you can, how then do you celebrate his extraordinary legacy? . . . In this this book, focusing on twelve of Eduardo Paolozzi's major artworks in Edinburgh, that thistle has been grasped. An accompanying exhibition was held at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh. The book's genesis in the ‘EP Project’ is outlined in Carlo's Pirozzi's opening notes. Pirozzi's intention was to commission Shetlander Christine De Luca to write poems responding to these dozen artworks, in tandem with Art historian Robert Spencer's commentary . . .

De Luca's twelve poems sometimes spin directly from the artworks, and sometimes from knowledge of the artist's workings, but importantly too, her responses sometimes ask questions of contemporary issues, such as the Brexit Referendum that reach far beyond the artist's mortal time frame. That seems true to the drive and impetus of Paolozzi's work. Interestingly, the artist himself termed his work the ‘translation of experience’,

with extra thorns
(De Luca)

con spine supplementari
(trans. Paci)

In turn de Luca's lines were translated by Francesca Romana Paci, and her sensitive interpretations of the poet's word-play, musicality, versification and devices are beautiful indeed. As I read more of the book, I found myself reading the Italian aloud first, challenging my own responses differently. Those interested in the vexed matter of poetry translation will find great integrity here, and unquestionably the presentation of these poems allows an interesting interaction, which must stimulate a deeper ongoing engagement.