Valentina Colonna

- Italy -

Valentina Colonna is an Italian poet and piano composer, born in Turin in 1990 in a family of musicians. She published three poetry books, Dimenticato suono (Manni, 2010), La cadenza sospesa (Aragno, 2015) and Stanze di città e altri viaggi (Aragno, 2019). Her second book was translated and published in Argentina in 2020 (La cadencia suspendida, translation by Mario Chávez Carmona, Buenos Aires Poetry).

In 2017 her poetry debuted in three foreign countries. She is translated and published in more than ten countries, she has been invited by several international Literature Festival and she has been well reviewed also by RAI International (RadioTelevisione Italiana), Rai Radio Tre, RTVSLO (RadioTelevisione Slovena), Corriere della Sera, Avvenire, L’Osservatore Romano, Radio Vaticana and Radio Classica.

After gaining her Master’s degree in Piano, Valentina focused on the Baroque repertoire, studying harpsichord at the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (ESMUC) of Barcelona (Spain), where she earned a Master’s Degree in interpretation of the ancient music. Now her new concert and CD project PianoPoetry is focused on her piano and poetry composition, debuted in 2018 at the historic Sala Maffeiana of the Verona Philharmonic Theater and abroad (Slovenia, Spain, Austria).

After gaining a master’s degree in Linguistics with honors and recommendation for publication, she is finishing her Ph.D. in Digital Humanities (Linguistics) at the University of Genoa and Turin, focusing on the prosody of Italian poetry and creating the national vocal archive Voices of Italian Poets. She also worked at the musical programs of Vatican Radio.

The poetry of Valentina Colonna is a flower of music and solitude.

The profound nature of her voice rises in two experiences: one is the music of which she is an interpreter and a scholar, the other is radical existential loneliness.

In this experience poetry happens almost like a countermelody, like a complementary sign to the two powers that live in her. In her voice, as a matter of fact, the word is compared to music, but not only because in the pages of her books there is material that derives from that vocabulary and that art, but because she almost challenges it. It is as if the music was to recognize its defect, the absence of the word that the musician-poetess cannot suffer. And which she therefore repairs, in a dream of total art or of life like art, through the poetic exercise. This is not a revolt against music. It is significant though that a poetess developing in a musical culture - drunk with maternal milk and paternal example – does not carry the idea that poetry should be reduced to musicality. No, in her you will find a living lexicon, a careful composition, a substance of words never only musical or rhythmical, rather a certain intellectual tension, a stubborn logic-syntactic texture even in the moments of acute visionary. A poem fed by music but not at all abandoned to the seduction of musicality.

And the existential loneliness - a feature that recurs many times in the book - is at the same time pronounced and opposed to a poetic vivacity, opened to the surprises of the meetings. Encounters with things, with certain appearances seen sideways, with loved figures, returns. Meetings that seduce, injure, awake.

I think Valentina Colonna is a lover of the "possibility". The rest of her beloved Baroque repertoire (she is specialized in that music for harpsichord and piano) is a proof between yearning and virtuosity of "chance" as a fundamental category of existence. The creation of another time in time, the continuous opening of dizzy rhythmical gaps in the normal warp, in the time required, are key features of these poems. And they should be read as a deep diary, inhabited by these continuous "movements", rather than by a desire for expression of intimate experiences. It is far from the grey tones of much of the so-called young Italian poetry. Her looks may appear at times almost childish, happy, but it is a strange happiness, an oblique childhood.

With a verse that seems swinging between inflections of Rebora and amusements of Palazzeschi, the poetess fixes impalpable moments, diverts the look from usual moments and situations, attracted by the signs of a rhetoric “other” compared to that of the probable. It is, as said, the grammar of the possible that pricks her eyes and heart. And even if this look never finds passages that cross the hic et nunc of a vision in which the transcendence does not exist - and it rather is at the most an amazement - it is not missing the spice of a gratuitousness enjoyed like an intense cheerfulness, and little miracles happen, as also the skeptical Montale called them. In a book in which clouds and steps often recur, always moving backgrounds in a journey in which the pursuit of joy is fixed, there are presences, views of cities or hills or far seas, in which the poetess perceives something that ceaselessly calls her.

Davide Rondoni (trad. di Giulia Sorrenti)