Salvatore Quasimodo


Italian Author, Poet, Translator,Critic, Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature

Author Quotes

The dead mature; my heart with them. Mercy on the self is earth?s final humor. A light of lacustrine trees stirs in the glass of the urn. a dark mutation ravages me, unknown saint; in the scattered seed green maggots moan: my visage forms their springtime. A memory of darkness is born in the depths of walled wells, an echo in buried eardrums: I am your pale relic.

Arise: re-emergent light: bright burning leaves. I lie down in brimming rivers where there are islands mirrors of shadows and stars. And your celestial heights overwhelm me, that always nurture my other life with joy. I long to reclaim you, though disillusioned, adolescence with infirm limbs.

The Sea Still Sounds - Even more so at night the sea still sounds, lightly, up and down, along the smooth sands. Echo of an enclosed voice in the mind, that returns in time; and also that assiduous lament of the gulls; birds perhaps of the summits that April drives towards the plain; already you are near to me in that voice; and I wish there might yet come to you from me, an echo of memory, like this dark murmur of the sea.

A Burial Sings in Me - I exile myself; so shadow fills with myrtle, and subdued space lays me down lightly. Nor does love achieve happy sylvan harmonies with me in a lonely hour: paradise and marshland sleep in the hearts of the dead. And a burial sings in me, that forces into the stony ground like a root, and attempts to mark the opposing path.

Already the rain is with us, shaking the silent air. Swallows skim the dull waters, by the lakes of Lombardy, swoop like seagulls after tiny fish; there?s a scent of hay beyond the garden fences.

And see, buds break out of the tree: a newer green in the grass eases the heart: the tree seemed already dead, bowed on the slope and all I know of miracle; and I am this watery cloud that reflected today in the ditches, the more blue, its fragment of heaven, this green that splits the bark that only last night was not there.

Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own.

Religious poetry, civic poetry, lyric or dramatic poetry are all categories of man's expression which are valid only if the endorsement of formal content is valid.

Religious power, which, as I have already said, frequently identifies itself with political power, has always been a protagonist of this bitter struggle, even when it seemingly was neutral.

A poet clings to his own tradition and avoids internationalism.

The antagonism between the poet and the politician has generally been evident in all cultures.

According to them, the poet is confined to the provinces with his mouth broken on his own syllabic trapeze.

The poet does not fear death, not because he believes in the fantasy of heroes, but because death constantly visits his thoughts and is thus an image of a serene dialogue.

After the turbulence of death, moral principles and even religious proofs are called into question.

The poet's other readers are the ancient poets, who look upon the freshly written pages from an incorruptible distance. Their poetic forms are permanent, and it is difficult to create new forms which can approach them.

An exact poetic duplication of a man is for the poet a negation of the earth, an impossibility of being, even though his greatest desire is to speak to many men, to unite with them by means of harmonious verses about the truths of the mind or of things.

The poet's spoken discourse often depends on a mystique, on the spiritual freedom that finds itself enslaved on earth.

As the poet has expected, the alarms now are sounded, for - and it must be said again - the birth of a poet is always a threat to the existing cultural order, because he attempts to break through the circle of literary castes to reach the center.

The Resistance is a moral certainty, not a poetic one. The true poet never uses words in order to punish someone. His judgment belongs to a creative order; it is not formulated as a prophetic scripture.

At the point when continuity was interrupted by the first nuclear explosion, it would have been too easy to recover the formal sediment which linked us with an age of poetic decorum, of a preoccupation with poetic sounds.

The writer of stories or of novels settles on men and imitates them; he exhausts the possibilities of his characters.

Europeans know the importance of the Resistance; it has been the shining example of the modern conscience.

Thus, the poet's word is beginning to strike forcefully upon the hearts of all men, while absolute men of letters think that they alone live in the real world.

Even a polemic has some justification if one considers that my own first poetic experiments began during a dictatorship and mark the origin of the Hermetic movement.

War, I have always said, forces men to change their standards, regardless of whether their country has won or lost.

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Italian Author, Poet, Translator,Critic, Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature