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Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli (1791–1863) was a poet from Rome, famous for writing over 2000 sonnets in the romanesco dialect. I first came across Belli’s work at university, through the brilliant Scots translations of Robert Garioch (1909–1981), but I was disappointed by existing English translations. Years later I started to write my own as a labour of love, and this book, out in May 2007 with Oneworld Classics, collects the best of them.

Set against the chequered background of the city of the six Ps – popes, priests, princes, prostitutes, parasites and the poor – Belli’s sometimes scandalous sonnets delve into life’s elementals: love, death, sex, food, money, family, religion and politics. His immense œuvre lets people from every walk of life have their say – housewives, mothers, beggars, lovers, businessmen, popes, whores, doctors, thieves, lawyers, priests, pen-pushers, actresses, gossips and hundreds more.

Writing his clandestine sonnets for over fifteen years whilst leading an outwardly conformist life of letters and bureaucracy, Belli erected a lasting poetical monument to the people of nineteenth-century Rome.

“Translator Mike Stocks brings Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli's snappy, satirical sonnets into the 21st century.“
The American

 

 




Sonnets – Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli
Oneworld Classics
Published June 2007

Paperback
RRP £8.99                                           Word Power Books

Online review at Textualities.net

   



 
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