Jessica Newport, Lidia Chiarelli, Peter Thabit Jones, Sunset in a Cup, The Seventh Quarry

Jessica Newport’s review of SUNSET IN A CUP by Lidia Chiarelli, The Seventh Quarry 28 – Wales UK

SEVENTH QUARRY 28

A REVIEW BY JESSICA NEWPORT
Tramonto in una tazza Sunset in a cup by Lidia Chiarelli

Lidia Chiarelli is an award-winning poet who hails from Turin in northern Italy. She has a strong link to South Wales through her connection to Aeronwy Thomas being the official Italian translator and biographer for her work and the inspiration she derives from Aeronwy is clear in this collection with a poem dedicated to her. Chiarelli graduated from the University of Turin and began a career in teaching, from here she became one of the Charter Members of Immagine & Poesia, alongside four others including Aeronwy Thomas. This art literary Movement was founded in Torino (Italy) in 2007 and has been a great success. Chiarelli’s work has been translated into many languages worldwide and published in places such as: Great Britain, the U.S.A, France and India to name but a few. She has won numerous awards over many years including a Certificate of Appreciation from The First International Poetry Festival of Swansea (UK) in 2011.

Tramonto in una tazza Sunset in a cup was published in 2017 by Edizioni Esordienti. Chiarelli’s poetry is a beautiful collection broken down into twelve months, with each month dedicated to a different prominent female figure of literature, with names such as: Katherine Mansfield, Charlotte Bronte and Dorothy Parker among others. Chiarelli has taken inspiration from their work created her own tribute from it. Through this she has shown how the marrying of art and literature results in a powerful piece that resonates with the reader. With a quotation from each figure and a digital image of each prefacing her words it is clear to see that Chiarelli has been moved by each individual that she has selected. The subject matter, her soft tone, rhythm and incorporation of words and images alongside one another results in a collection that will leave one in a state of thought and consideration long after completion. Tramonto in una tazza Sunset in a cup is published bilingually in Italian and English which adds to the romanticism of her words. Individually, the poems are short but no less powerful or complex as a
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result. The images and brief information about each female prior to Chiarelli’s words renders one hungry for further information and overall, we are gifted a collection of poems which leaves an effect perhaps as strongly upon us as the original inspirations left upon Chiarelli.

The first poem; The Call, is dedicated to Virginia Woolf and focuses upon her suicide. Chiarelli beautifully presents this event through her metaphorical manipulation of nature, a theme that remains prominent throughout the collection. The poem opens with the words: ‘Black ravens scratched the sky in a frenzy’ which arrests the reader’s attention immediately and yet she ends the first stanza with the words ‘infinitely free’ which is altogether more calming. This represents the battle that Woolf struggled with in regards to her mental illness. She was free, in her mind, when she made the decision to end her life. As the poem progresses, Chiarelli informs us that Woolf is ‘docile’ and ‘surrendering to that irresistible voice’ as she enters the water to drown. The selection of language that Chiarelli has made, coupled with the slow rhythm leaves the reader as submissive as the subject to what is about to take place. There is a calm overriding tone to the piece and the ‘icy embrace’ at the close is as comforting to the reader as it is to Chiarelli and perhaps was to Woolf herself. This is a beautiful tribute, without judgement or opinion but rather a representation of how Chiarelli perceived her subject to be feeling. This is something that is evident throughout the collection, Chiarelli has thought about how the twelve women saw and felt the world and has woven a wonderful web of presentation from this.

As one moves through the collection it becomes clear that each poem is a personal dedication from Chiarelli, for example, in ‘The sacred garden Sissinghurst Castle Garden’ she bestows upon Vita Sackville-West the title of ‘priestess of this sacred garden’ or in ‘Garden in October’ when she takes inspiration from Christina Rossetti’s romantic style by stating ‘Amber brown leaves waltz on the boughs as you, Queen of Pre-Raphaelite beauty discover wonder in Autumn’s languid sun of this ephemeral reign’. It is clear that Chiarelli has gone to great lengths to appreciate each of the women she has selected for her collection. It cannot be denied that the tributes she makes beautifully encompass their passions, interests and approaches within their own literature and these are paired excellently alongside her own.

Art is a heavy influence upon Chiarelli and this is evident throughout. Not only is each poem prefaced by a digital image dedicated to the woman she writes of but her lyricism of words ensures she presents each piece as a perfect meeting of art and poetry. This serves to impress a powerful message upon the reader; how both elements can transform each other. The reader is invited into a world of reflection, made all the more real when the image of each woman is there to be
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absorbed alongside Chiarelli’s words. For example, in ‘Poppy Red’, a tribute to Sylvia Plath we have a delightful marrying of the words ‘a thousand poppies open wounds bleeding inside you’ with the image of poppies shadowed within a female hand. Through this, Chiarelli has paid poignant tribute to Plath whilst sensitively presenting to the reader the act of her suicide; which of course is well documented.

Perhaps the most significant tribute of the collection lies in the center; August, when she writes of Aeronwy Thomas. Aeronwy is extremely significant to Chiarelli, she has worked with and on behalf of Thomas many times and they had a great friendship. Chiarelli’s feelings towards her and the South Wales landscape are evident when she refers to Thomas’ star as ‘bright and pure’. Furthermore, she reminds us how the words of Thomas are ‘still and always here to create images and soft tunes intoned slowly by the breath of the Welsh sea’. One is in no doubt when reading ‘Poem for Aeronwy Thomas’ that Chiarelli has been influenced and touched by her, she takes this with an inspiration from nature to encompass the soft purity that Aeronwy represented for her. The result is a beautiful piece that leaves an imprint on the reader long after the poem has been enjoyed.

In a time where the conversation regarding women and values is prominent we are gifted a collection by a female dedicated to multiple, important women throughout time and thus Tramonto in una tazza Sunset in a cup is significant, well-timed and appropriate. Chiarelli is thoughtful in her words and delivery and thus, we are gifted poetry rich with imagery and themes of nature and art that can be both relished and appreciated in equal measure. Chiarelli herself stated that ‘Tramonto in una tazza Sunset in a cup’ is a tribute to her own inspirations and the result is a plethora of poetry that can provide inspiration to her readers also. It cannot be denied that the poetry within will provide enjoyment and consideration that will move past the page, into the mind and remain there long after the book has been put down.

 

(Published in THE SEVENTH QUARRY – Poetry Magazine – Wales UK – summer 2018)    

 

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Lidia Chiarelli – Tramonto in una tazza – Sunset in a cup

Edizioni Esordienti E book

Moncalieri Torino 2017  ISBN 978-88-6690-382-6

 

Premio Nazionale di Arti Letterarie Metropoli di Torino – XIV edizione

Segnalazione di Merito – Premio Nazionale Il Meleto di Guido Gozzano – VII edizione

Available in these libraries: Main Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County – Ohio, Monroe County Public Library Key West – Florida, Nashville Public Library – Tennessee, Jacksonville Public Library – Illinois

  • in Canada: Middlesex County Library, Ontario CA

Nomination al Pushcart Prize 2018 (USA) per 5 poesie di Tramonto in una tazza-Sunset in a cup

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Cross-Cultural Communications, Immagine & Poesia, Peter Thabit Jones, Stanley H. Barkan, The Seventh Quarry, The Seventh Quarry Press - Wales

“The Colour of Saying – A Creative Writing Competition in Celebration of Dylan Thomas”

Colour of Saying front cover

 

Anthology  edited by Peter Thabit Jones (Wales, UK) and Stanley H. Barkan (NY): A Creative Writing Competition in Celebration of Dylan Thomas

Colour of Saying back cover

 

Immagine & Poesia, Lidia Chiarelli, Peter Thabit Jones, The Seventh Quarry

The Seventh Quarry Issue 20 – Interview (Lidia Chiarelli interviewed by Peter Thabit Jones)

SEVENTH QUARRY COVERS

 

INTERVIEW

 

PTJ:  When did you first start writing poems?

 

LC:  My first encounter with poetry was back in the early ’70s, when I went to London for an English summer course for foreign students. One of the teachers suggested a small poetry competition: we had to extemporize some poetic verses and my poem “Rhythm of Life” was ranked among the best. Later, as a teacher myself, I instructed creative writing courses: in my workshops I led my students to transform their emotions into short poems and – with the help of an art teacher – even into images.

 

 

PTJ:  Who inspired your early work?

 

LC:  My first poems were inspired by nature in all its aspects, wild and beautiful, but also by urban views, the same images, the same perspectives that had attracted the attention of Allen Ginsberg: his poem Supermarket in California has appealed to me since the very first time I read it.

I have always written after experiencing a real emotion, according to William Wordsworth’s definition “Poetry is emotion recollected in tranquility”.

 

 

PTJ:  Also you are an artist. Is there a link between both your poetry and your art?

 

LC:  Poetry and visual art in my case proceed on parallel tracks. Today I mainly try to put into practice the principle enunciated by Aeronwy Thomas: “Artists and poets can experience moments of cross-fertilization” and I often look for my inspiration at images of fine art photos or of paintings created by other artists or vice-versa sometimes the words of the poets lead me to put on canvas the emotions they have called forth in me.

 

 

PTJ:  Can you tell us about the founding of Immagine & Poesia, your wonderful poetry and art organization, and your aims for it ?

 

LC:  Immagine & Poesia is a dream come true. It all started from a meeting with British poet Aeronwy Thomas during her visit to our school in Turin in 2006. She discussed “cross fertilization” between poets and artists and this was the first step to the enthusiastic project of founding an artistic-literary Movement. Within one year we had a Manifesto and the official presentation of Immagine & Poesia at Teatro Alfa of Torino.

Then a substantial encouragement to continue on this path came from the members of what I consider “my American family” the artists of New York: Adel Gorgy and Marsha Solomon, Mary Gorgy, writer and journalist, and my American publisher Stanley H . Barkan. Recently artist and poet Caroline Mary Kleefeld from Big Sur, California, and Johnmichael Simon and Helen Bar-Lev, poets and publishers of Cyclamens and Swords in Israel, have given their valuable support to the Movement.

And here let me thank you, Peter for being the representative and incomparable supporter of Immagine & Poesia in the United Kingdom.

Today, through the web Immagine & Poesia has spread around the world and is known and loved by hundreds of artists and poets.

 

Mary Gorgy, official critic of the movement, has summed up our aims: “This group of poets and artists believe that the power of the written word and the power of visual image, when joined, create a new work which is not only greater than the parts, but altered, enhanced, changed and magnified by the union.”

 

We, the artists and poets of Immagine & Poesia, are convinced that Art and Poetry can bring together people of different cultures nationalities and religions and lead them to cooperate with reciprocal esteem and respect.

And this is what we hope to get in the near future : a movement that more and more leads people to be mutually appreciative and tolerant through the channels of the written words and visual images.

 

 

PTJ:  You collaborated with several artists in your latest book, Immagine & Poesia – The Movement in Progress. Did you enjoy the experience ?

 

LC:  My début book Immagine & Poesia – The Movement in  Progress can be defined as the compendium of what the Movement suggests: poems inspired by the artworks and images of painters or photographers who have drawn their inspiration from my words. It has been a completely satisfying experience that demonstrates how valid and well founded are the principles stated in our Manifesto.

 

 

PTJ:  Your husband is an artist and your son is a photographer . What is it like being longer available to creative family and you comment on each other ‘s work ?

 

LC:  We are a creative family and it is nice to share the love for poetry and art .

For several years the three of us have collaborated with the association The Friends of Guido Gozzano of Agliè (Torino) and each of us has brought a contribution – a painting, a fine art photo and a poem – in occasion of the annual Prize Il Meleto di Guido Gozzano.

We carry out our work independently, but at the end we usually realize that we have worked on the same wavelength…

 

 

PTJ:  What are your future plans for your poetry? Another book?

 

LC:  Immagine & Poesia – The Movement in Progress has received mostly positive feedback and since its release it has sold several copies on Amazon, on the Internet.

I am pleased that it has also been acquired for public libraries in Italy, in the UK (National Library of Wales), and in the USA (New York Public Library; Tompkins County Public Library, Ithaca –NY; Merrill Memorial Library, Yarmouth –Maine; Library of University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign).

American poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, whom I had the honor of meeting in San Francisco last summer, had words of appreciation for my book and for the project we are pursuing.

Many artists and poets have written to me to let me know they are interested in participating with their works in the event of future publications. And in the meantime our activity goes on the web…