With this publication, Melinda Camber Porter In Conversation With Eugenio Montale (ISBN: 978-1-942231-02-8), we have an opportunity to listen to the strong voice of Eugenio Montale discussing literature and its role in society.
Eugenio Montale describes his observations of the driving forces of human nature that he explored through his journalism, painting and poetry. During the prime of his life, he watched the rise and fall of Fascism in Italy, and his experiences remain relevant today as he discusses the importance of the individual’s conscience, the poet’s role in society, and the dangers of ideologies, the mass media, and consumerism.
“Nowadays, it is becoming harder to distinguish between artistic and commercial life. The role of the artist has been reduced to his success or failure in commercial terms… these mass-produced voices are not those which will tell us whether we are heading for disaster and, if so, how to prevent it.” This statement expressed by Eugenio Montale, when speaking to Melinda Camber Porter at his home in Milan, Italy in 1976, after receiving the 1975 Nobel Prize in Literature.
The Foreward by Canio Pavone, Professor of Italian Studies, who knew Melinda Camber Porter, introduces us to Eugenio Montale and their conversation. In addition, the book includes both the English and Italian Nobel Prize Lecture by Eugenio Montale.
Melinda Camber Porter passed away of ovarian cancer in 2008 and left a significant body of work in art, journalism, and literature. With her background as a journalist for the Times of London, her questions explored the creative process used by many widely acclaimed cultural figures, filmmakers, and writers. The Melinda Camber Porter Archive wishes to share these conversations with the public to ensure the continuation and expansion of the ideas expressed in her creative works.
The Melinda Camber Porter Archive of Creative Works comprises two series of books. Volume 1 are books of journalism. Volume 2 are books of art and literature. [ISSN: 2379-2450 (Print); 2379-3198 (E-book); 2379-321X (Audiobook).]
About the Author
Eugenio Montale 1896-1981 Despite the fact that Eugenio Montale produced only five volumes of poetry in his first fifty years as a writer, when the Swedish Academy awarded the Italian poet and critic the 1975 Nobel Prize for Literature they called him "one of the most important poets of the contemporary West," according to a Publishers Weekly report. One of Montale's translators, Jonathan Galassi, echoed the enthusiastic terms of the Academy in his introduction to The Second Life of Art: Selected Essays of Eugenio Montale in which he referred to Montale as "one of the great artistic sensibilities of our time." In a short summary of critical opinion on Montale's work, Galassi continued: "Eugenio Montale has been widely acknowledged as the greatest Italian poet since [Giacomo] Leopardi and his work has won an admiring readership throughout the world. His ... books of poems have, for thousands of readers, expressed something essential about our age." Montale began writing poetry while a teenager, at the beginning of what was to be an upheaval in Italian lyric tradition. Describing the artistic milieu in which Montale began his life's work, D. S. Carne-Ross noted in the New York Review of Books: "The Italian who set out to write poetry in the second decade of the century had perhaps no harder task than his colleagues in France or America, but it was a different task. The problem was how to lower one's voice without being trivial or shapeless, how to raise it without repeating the gestures of an incommodious rhetoric. Italian was an intractable medium. Inveterately mandarin, weighed down by the almost Chinese burden of a six-hundred-year-old literary tradition, it was not a modern language." Not only did Italian writers of the period have to contend with the legacy of their rich cultural heritage, but they also had to deal with a more recent phenomenon in their literature: the influence of the prolific Italian poet, novelist, and dramatist, Gabriele D'Annunzio, whose highly embellished style seemed to have become the only legitimate mode of writing available to them. "Montale's radical renovation of Italian poetry," according to Galassi, "was motivated by a desire to 'come closer' to his own experience than the prevailing poetic language allowed him." Poetry Foundation
Foreward by Canio Pavone Canio Pavone, who founded Canio's Books in 1981, remains a literary elder in Sag Harbor, NY, since founding Canio's Books. Mr. Pavone now near eight years old is semi-retired but still keeps a busy schedule; as part time teacher of Italian studies, publisher of Canio Editions dedicated to Long Island poets and writers, and part-time bookstore informed-sales-clerk at Canio's Books. Over the years Mr. Pavone held weekly readings at Canio's Books of both famous writers from New York City and beyond to local poets and writers from Long Island. This is where Melinda Camber Porter met Mr. Pavone and where they were able to share brief periods of literary joy discussing European and American writers and those beyond. Melinda Camber Porter read from her books of poetry, journalism and novels on a few occasions. After these events Mr. Pavone and Melinda Camber Porter had a chance to relax quietly and discuss world literature. A few years ago Mr. Pavone sold Canio's Books to Mary Ann and Kathyrn Suka, who kept the name and it remains the independent bookstore at the quiet end of Main Street in Sag Harbor. The new owners have kept Canio's Books weekly talks by artists and writers both famous and local. Mr. Pavone can still be found at Canio's Books one day a week or so, in and around all those books, and helping customers and maybe teaching some Italian. One might say that Canio's Books remains the little independent bookstore that Mr. Pavone said could.