Italian literature: The poetry of Giuseppe Ungaretti

Italian literature: The poetry of Giuseppe Ungaretti

Born in Alessandria d’Egitto from an italian family, he formed himself in France where he could  get in contact with the french avant-garde literature; he moved to Italy to participate at the first world war, and decided to stay in the beautiful country just until his death. He devoted his life to the art of writing: he was poet, journalist, essayist, critic and academic, known all over the world as the major reprensentant of the experimental poetry current called ermetismo.

Ungaretti, giuseppe ungaretti, italian poets, italian litterature, italian poetry, italian exams

The war, the death of his 9-year old son and many other sad events confirmed his character as a “man of poetry and hurt”, who saw his dreams and his hopes flying away – without stopping to fight for them. The espression of his hurt and pain is one of the main features of his short and deep compositions.

Within his many works, he published various poetry volumes; probably the one called L’Allegria is the most representative one. In his verses, he uses the style of the french poets maudits (he was especially inspired by Apollinaire’s Calligrammes) connecting it with his experience of death and pain as a soldier at war. The hope of brotherhood between all the people is expressed strongly, together with the desire of searching for a renovated “harmony” with the universe, impressive on the famous verses of Mattina:

M’illumino
d’immenso

(I flood myself
with light of the immense)

(Santa Maria La Longa, il 26 gennaio 1917)

In the successive works he studied the importance of the poetic word, as the only way to save the humanity from the universal horror, and was searching for a new way to recuperate the roots of the Italian classical poetry. His last verses are on the poem l’Impietrito e il Velluto, about the memory of the bright universe eyed Dunja, an old woman that was house guest of his mother in the time of his childhood. Here’s the end:

Il velluto dello sguardo di Dunja
Fulmineo torna presente pietà

(The velvet in the bright gaze of Dunja
Rapid returns as present mercy)

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