Andrea Zanzotto

Andrea Zanzotto is widely considered one of the most important Italian and European poets of the twentieth century. From the fall of Fascism in the 1940s to the economic boom of the late 1950s, and from the student protests and “hot autumn” of the 1960s to the advent of a mass culture in the 1970s, Zanzotto’s poetry has registered the profound social and cultural changes that have transformed postwar Italy. An articulate witness and engaged interlocutor whose roots are deep within the culture of his native region (the Veneto), Zanzotto examines the events of contemporary history as well as international scientific, philosophical, and artistic developments. In a distinctive poetic style noted for its surprising changes in each new volume, Zanzotto’s work represents the search for a link between tradition and experimentation. In addition to his books of poetry, he is also an accomplished translator and an important literary critic, and he has done some writing for two of Federico Fellini’s films, Casanova (1976) and E la nave va (And the Ship Sails on, 1983).

Andrea Zanzotto was born in 1921 in the small town of Pieve di Soligo in the province of Treviso, a few miles north of Venice, and he has always lived there. During the Second World War he was a messenger for the Resistenza movement. He studied literature at the Università di Padova and became a secondary school teacher. Since Dietro il paesaggio (1951), twelve books of poems have appeared; Zanzotto is also the author of a book of prose, Sull’Altopiano, and of two books of critical writings, Fantasie di avvicinamento (1991) and Aure e Disincanti nel novecento letterario (1994).

– from the introduction by Jo Catling and others in MPT Series 3/7 Love and War