Letter to a Poet


Dear Chi Trung, dear Poet, dear Friend,

I’m reading the poem you wrote for Zingonia and I like it very much. I like when you warn her Beauty against the century of arrogance, the rich world has managed to forget the poor earth, the chaotic century. Then saying Don’t be moved, have no doubts about thanks / even though old voices keep resonating / it has happened, there’s nothing to hope for anymore. Or Please stay in a coma like all of us / this sadness. Because for you Life is a temporary thing, I know my friend, for you there’s nothing to hope for. But there’s still the Word that is the essential question you wrote in your poem: are you willing to come? As possible choice. Essential words will rise from muddy things. Because in the end the choice is there.

I’m working very hard on the translation of your Winds with my staff and it’s not easy. It’s not easy to understand the grief of a man which has so much experience. And calm. A slight grief, but intense. Sometimes it seems that you write about winds and then you become the wind that travelled over the former virgin forests. It makes me think Dante when looks at the earth from a distance.

Reading your poems, my friend, I understand something important. I can’t understand everything, I only scrape the surface of this understanding. I think you’d say I’m only scraping dust or mold. But even dust and mold are a starting point. Reading your poems I understand that we have forgotten the value of a Literary Work. I understand what it means to walk among the people and see them slide away as if they were another reality, not yours, looking at the houses and see those people as different universes, other planes of reality in which you can’t enter. Because you’re like an alien. I understand this distance, this refusal, this loneliness. And I understand that this distance is Poetry. Maybe there are your winds in this distance, in this refusal. In this loneliness in which you realize you have no choice, you have to write your Poem because this is the only thing that truly belongs to you, that gives you a sense.

That moment of seclusion in a World you love while World doesn’t love you, as when you need Life but Life doesn’t need you, and you feel the enormity of that millennial refusal. But you have no choice. Or you create a enormous work or nihil wins (that nihil you have written in Winds). Or you fill the void, or you allow the void to fill you. And this is the power of Word that gives a sense to you, giving sense to everything.

It’s very difficult to write in this way, my friend, because you don’t write to a paper, to a person, to a year. You write to a millennium as you wrote to Zingonia don’t writing to her, but to her Youth, that become the Youth of everyone. Reading your poems I also understand that we have forgotten the value of the Literary Work. We are writing and writing but not for practice, only to feel the frustration because this poetry is never enough, we are continually searching for new confirmations and approvals through the word that is not Word. This is insecurity, and there’s nothing big into insecurity. The Literary Work is however a meaning, a fixed point in time, a certainty, you know.

Reading your poems I understand also something else, my friend. Writing really means to study very well past and present poetry, but particularly today it means that we have to have the courage to break the models, asking to ourselves are we saying something true or we just talking? I really believe the poet should have the enormous courage of loneliness, to do something that he realizes to be important for the world, breaking contemporary models, creating something different with a sense not only different, but real, also necessary.

I’m writing this letter to you, my friend, as you know in a very bad English. I’m very ignorant you know. But I will not ask to correct this letter because also mistakes, as dust and mold, are important, necessary. Because Poetry is the mistake of Word, of language, I think. And this mistake that we name Poetry can become something greater than ourselves.

And now I embrace you, my dear Friend


(il disegno di copertina è tratto da un disegno dello stesso Chi Trung)


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