Italian Poetry in translation

In Four

by Gianfranco Palmery


In English:


Barbara Carle

Barbara Carle reads In Four

by Gianfranco Palmery

Poetry by the same author

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About the author

Gianfranco Palmery



In Italian

Books by the same author


Sonetti domiciliari

Gatti e prodigi

Giardino di delizie e altre vanità


L’io non esiste

Il poeta in 100 pezzi

Divagazioni sulla diversità

Italia, Italia

Profilo di gatta

Morsi di morte





In Four

Four is symbol of division and closure, number of attentuation and emphasis, a number which, in its duplicity substantiates and informs the single poems as it does the entire book. It is the solid seal for an experience of loss and anxious searching.

Gianfranco Palmery In quattro


Poems from the book In quattro by Gianfranco Palmery

Translation by Barbara Carle



The year, the hour, the cross, the hinges
of the world, everything is divided in four
parts—in space and time
we thus measure sacrifice and loss.



I'm upon myself like a falcon
or a brooding buzzard on a trestle
laughable bird of prey resigned to mortification
in the gloomy ruffled plumage where he nestles.



—Why an eternal mask, what hides
behind the need to hide oneself
behind a mask (the metal studded
style, the unravelled mythologies…)?

Look: behind the mask there is the back
of the mask, the hollow surface
of the cast, its intimate face
without face, a vacuous lack.



Luminous and nocturnal, emulous moons
or stars that rise in pallor, run
resplendently through the arch
of their obedience and docilely extinguish

themselves once they reach the other hemisphere—
far away from we who remain and grow weary in the flesh:
poems are like this but their mystery is here
and it runs from the mind to the hand.



As though between four walls or four boards—
in a room or a coffin: the quatrain
is the cell, the sepulcher, the lock up
—it is the measure of closure.



Syllabize be alive: shudder of vertebrae—
paradigmatical voice of to verberate
make a din, suffer loss; dactylic feverling
which discharges to darkness perishing.


... In fact, even with every quatrain emitting a suffering need of the absolute, Palmery is animated and animates us, not with that need, but instead with his way of putting it. The form he chooses is a composed, complex language, with internal, external rhyme, only optical at times, bizarre, but apt, metaphors. His images are those of a baroque poet who wants to touch both mind and senses, without ever crossing over into rococo effects, but also without any illusion of piercing with words the essence of life, or even less, the divine ear...

Stefania Portaccio “Galleria” on the book In quattro (In Four) *


..In the book In quattro (In Four) Palmery pushes into the most impervious borderland between abstraction and the sayable. The succession of quatrains finds in the signals of the recluse, as in Wallace Stevens’ poetry, “universal loss and grace”.

Marco Caporali “L’Unità” *


Full reviews of In Four (in Italian language)

Original book:

Gianfranco Palmery
In quattro
With four etchings by Edo Janich
2006 Pages 80 Euro 10,00

ISBN 978-88-89299-34-0

Gianfranco Palmery In quattro

* Translation from Italian by Victoria Shore

Edizioni Il Labirinto