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This report is taken from PN Review 32, Volume 9 Number 6, July - August 1983.

Vittorio Sereni Peter Robinson
Peter Robinson writes:
In March 1982 a volume arrived in the post from Mondadori's offices outside Milan. It proved to be a copy of Stella variabile, Vittorio Sereni's fourth book of poetry. Inside it was a card on which had been written, 'to Peter Robinson friendly Vittorio Sereni 3/3/82'. The foreign language mistake of the inscription is really no error, for 'friendly' is a fair representation of how he was to Marcus Perryman and me on the two occasions when we met and discussed his poems in the light of our own attempts to translate them. He was patient with my ignorance of Italian, and appreciated the kind of desire which made me want to understand and translate his poems. This is why I had pestered Marcus Perryman into making literal versions and then working on my versed sketches, which he did out of admiration for Sereni.

Friendship is called upon throughout Sereni's poetry as a source of reassurance and help; Gli amici thanks Giuliana and Giancarlo for coming to his rescue when in difficulties swimming. It is a work in which, as Sereni wrote, 'The people mentioned by name in these lines, by their actual names, are alive and real.' Their real existence, and the poet's fear that even as he thanked them he might have reduced them to a literary pretext, point to one of the reasons he is an important poet. His work never withdraws from the difficult ground where each poem must exist as ...


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