Daily | Pasolini

Selected Poetry of Pier Paolo Pasolini

John Ashbery: ‘Pasolini is known as a filmmaker and political rebel, and for his tragic death, yet he was first and most importantly a poet. Sartarelli’s brilliant translations have at last made his searingly beautiful poetry available to English-language readers.’

“Everything Pasolini did, he did as a poet,” writes Adam Thirlwell for Bookforum. “His restlessness is exemplary—and that restlessness was symbolized by his brilliance in so many media. ( Not only were his poems as good as his movies, or his essays as good as his novels, but they are each independent elements of the giant Pasolini system. You need to examine them all, which is why it’s so useful for the sadly Anglophonic reader to possess this new Selected Poetry, translated by Stephen Sartarelli. True, there’s another selection by Norman MacAfee, from FSG, and one by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, put out by City Lights. But this new translation is, I think, the most comprehensive and the most attentive to Pasolini’s strangely melancholic style.”

“Much has been made of Caravaggio’s influence on the fierce pauperist Catholicism of Pier Paolo Pasolini,” writes Ian Thompson for the New Statesman. “The implied blasphemy of Caravaggio’s lowlife Christs and Virgin Marys thrilled the iconoclast in the Italian filmmaker… San Paolo, published posthumously in 1977 and presented here for the first time in English as St. Paul, is Pasolini’s screenplay for the life of the apostle. Drafted in 1966 and subsequently rewritten, it was intended to be a sequel to The Gospel According to Matthew (1964), shot in the lunar landscape of Italy’s Basilicata region. The screenplay, with its New Testament voice-over, typically mingles an intellectual leftism with a Franciscan Catholicism: blessed are the poor, for they are exempt from the unholy trinity of materialism, money and property. The film was never made, for lack of funds.”

Verso’s edition comes with a preface by Alain Badiou. And on Thursday, July 10, the ICA in London will be hosting a panel discussion, A Visionary Rage: Pasolini’s Saint Paul. Looking way ahead, the exhibition Pasolini Roma comes to Berlin in September.


David Grieco’s La Macchinazione, about the murder of Pasolini, has begun shooting, reports Variety‘s Nick Vivarelli. Abel Ferrara’s Pasolini with Willem Dafoe, which covers much of the same ground, “is now reportedly in post.”

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