Locomotrix: selected poetry and prose of Amelia Rosselli (University Chicago Press).
This event attests to the growing interest for Amelia Rosselli (Paris 1930- Rome 1996) in the United States. Her life and work are intimately tied to the recent history of Italian Jewry and antifascism.
Moving back and forth between Europe and the United States, as a young woman Amelia pursued a career in musical composition and ethnomusicology, studying with Name Dallapiccola, luigi Nono, and john Cage. After 1950, the meeting with poet Rocco Scodellaro acting as a catalyst, her interests shifted toward poetry, which she wrote both in Italian and English. Considered for years a “poet’s poet”, Roselli has only recently emerged as one of the major voices of post-war European poetry.
Two figures dominate her poetry: Death and the Maiden (actually, maidens). For Rosselli the purpose of poetry was coming to terms with Death and the dead: “Evoking the dead, before turning into a poetic genre, was an archaic rite, an act of actual communication with the Beyond”, she wrote.
The daughter of Italian intellectuals Carlo Rosselli and Marion Cave, a British antifascist activist, Amelia was born in Paris, where her parents were in exile. Carlo and his brother Nello founded the antifascist group Giustizia e Libertà , and were assassinated by Mussolini’s agents in France, in 1937.
Amelia returned to Italy in 1946 and settled in Rome, where she became close with Pier Paolo Pasolini, Alberto Moravia (her first cousin), as well as artists Renato Guttuso and Carlo Carrà.
Loss, exile and an unending desire to understand the world around her are some of the central themes of her literary work. “Writing is asking yourself how the world works; if you get to know that, perhaps you no-longer need to write”.