Cesare Pavese (9 September 1908 – 27 August 1950) was an Italian poet, novelist, literary critic and translator. In his diary (the Business of Living) Pavese tells us just how much work, over a period of two years, went into creating Lavorare Stanca ( Hard Wark ). Exiled to the village of Brancaleone – ‘ between the paws of the lion‘ – following a period in prison for anti-facist activities, Pavese observed and recreated in these ‘short stories’ the rhythms and landscapes of a peasant life that was in rapid transition; the younger folk swapping the harsh life of the countryside for the hard labour of the northern industrial cities and beyond.
Pavese’s technique is formidable yet unobtrusive. He allows each poem to run down in just the right succession of images to a natural full stop. There is very little use of Italian’s natural propensity to rhyme and, while conversational and intensely personal, very little in any of the poems that is direct dialogue
– from the introduction by David Douglas in MPT 3/10 The Big Green Issue