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Cover art by Marco Vacchetti

The 77 individuals whose voices are channeled here are, or rather were, real people. Like my grandfather, they were all victims of an idea of “normality” that did not include them and, therefore, secluded them, confining their bodies to a cruel and repressive institution. Surviving the “insane asylums” until 1978, when the Basaglia Law finally closed them, was almost always at the expense of one’s sanity.

About the Author

Antonello Borra lives in Burlington and teaches Italian at the University of Vermont. His other volumes of poetry are Frammenti di tormenti (prima parte) (Longo: 2000), Frammenti di tormenti (seconda parte) (Lietocolle: 2006), Alfabestiario (Lietocolle: 2009), and the two illustrated, bilingual Italian-English Alphabetabestiario (Fomite: 2011) and Alfabestiario (Fomite: 2013), both translated by Blossom S. Kirschenbaum and illustrated by Delia Robinson. 

His animal poems also appeared as AlphabeTiere/Alfabestiario (Kern: 2015), a bilingual German-Italian selection translated by Adriana Hoesle Borra and Barbara Krohn. His poetry appeared in many journals and magazines including Ecozon@, Gradiva, In forma di parole, Italian Poetry Review, L’immaginazione, Literary Matters, Nuovi argomenti, Poesia, and Steve.

He also translated into English a choice of Guittone’s works Guittone d’Arezzo Selected Poems and Prose (University of Toronto Press, 2017).


About the Translator:

Anis Memon currently lives and works in Vermont. He translates from Italian and French.