Five finalists and controversy for the Strega Poesia
The Strega Poesia Prize has announced the finalist books of the first edition and they are: "The bells" (Einaudi) by Silvia Bre, "Auto-portrait" (Garzanti) by Umberto Fiori, "L'amore da vecchia" (Mondadori) by Vivian Lamarque , "Under a false name" (Pequod) by Stefano Simoncelli, "Ballads of Lagosta" (Donzelli) by Christian Sinicco.
The Scientific Committee, made up of Maria Grazia Calandrone, Andrea Cortellessa, Mario Desiati, Elisa Donzelli, Roberto Galaverni, Valerio Magrelli, Melania Mazzucco, Stefano Petrocchi, Laura Pugno, Antonio Riccardi, Enrico Testa and Gian Mario Villalta, chose the finalists among one hundred and thirty-five candidates. A large jury made up of cultural personalities will determine the winning work which will be awarded on October 5th, in Rome, in the Temple of Venus and Rome inside the Colosseum Archaeological Park.
It was the two outsiders, published by independent publishers and not by giants, that caused the most sensation. If the unexpected entrance of Simoncelli has aroused amazement, the presence of Sinicco has fomented perplexities. On social media, the most dramatic have already shouted at a conflict of interest: a few days ago Gianfranco Lauretano publicly aired that Sinicco could have entered the top five head-on, but although Elisa Donzelli is the director of the series in which the volume came out as well as the daughter of he publisher who published it, Carmine Donzelli, it is impossible for a single member of the Scientific Committee to have prevailed over all the others for a single name. It is unlikely that the entire Committee has risked its work in the face of a single preference; just think of the swarm of influences, internal and external, to which the myriad of literary prizes in Italy are subject. Unfortunately, the Marcos y Marcos catalogue, thus “Sempre mondo” by Massimo Gezzi, which deserved a chance, was left out of the calculation. Certainly, the influence exercised by The Ship of Theseus in the narrative has not been worth much here.
Crossing Alice's looking glass to renew the collective gaze on reality, although the Salone urges us to do so, seems to be of no interest to too many intellectuals enraptured by their own reflection. The umpteenth sterile controversy, almost ritual for the Witch, detached from the qualitative judgments of the selected works, underlines the self-referentiality in which certain sectors of today's literary production are allegedly rotting, obscuring those who dedicate themselves daily to the word to bring out that foundational relationship, made up of memories, language and feelings, which unites every individual. And it makes it part of a plurality. The anthology "Parola plurale" (Sossella, 2005) inspired the new anthological story "Poems of contemporary Italy" (Il Saggiatore), edited by Tommaso Di Dio. brought into dialogue the most significant works of over two hundred poets, from 1971 to 2021, without the generational discriminant let alone the centrality of the authorial datum, so that the social atmosphere of each crossed decade stands out. At the end of the Salone, the Sala della Poesia set up by Pordenonelegge hosted continuous debates on the interpretation of current society, relying on the less commercial genre and the less inclusive sphere, precisely to encourage dialogue between poets and readers. And in a diametrically opposite position - not only ideally - to the brilliant but crowded BookTok booth.