Italian Poetry in translation

Sonnets Under Arrest

by Gianfranco Palmery


In English:


Garden of Delights videoclip reading

I Does Not Exist videoclip reading

In Four videoclip reading

Medusa videoclip reading

Poetry by the same author

Garden of Delights

I Does Not Exist

In Four


Sonnets Under Arrest

About the author

Gianfranco Palmery


In Italian



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





Sonnets Under Arrest

Poems from the book Sonetti domiciliari by Gianfranco Palmery

Translations by Fannie Peczenik



Between one poem and the next stretches
the day's prose—the prisoner’s
pacing from room to room, spent
in sleepy ceremonies, in empty
everyday cares: whatever lies
outside poetry, secret, like
putting milk on the stove and setting
the table for breakfast with slices of
bread on a plate from the cupboard,
a spoon a knife a cup
for the milk, opening a jar
of honey, butter, slowly spreading them
on the bread—and look, the cat's arrived
in your lap, so you begin, crumbling.



Ripeness is all. So let
this cold grow ripe, attain the smooth
softness of maturity,
instead of the tart sting between nose
and throat and the dank
incessant nasal drip: we have the diseases
we deserve and also the remedies: woolens,
blankets, hot water bottles, infusions
of eucalyptus, Vicks, vapors and fumes
from pots of balsam: let it ripen and be done!
Could the wise man, the hero
—Achilles in gleaming armor, with a catarrh,
hard by Ilium, Ulysses enroute to Ithaca—
ever blow his nose without a blush?


These translations appeared in Poesia Italiana / Italian Poetry, November 1996, an internet journal of the University of Rome, with audio readings of the poems done by the author in Italian and by Tess Gallagher in English, and in the Princeton Research Forum, December 1996.

Original Book

Gianfranco Palmery
Sonetti domiciliari
With four drawings by Nancy Watkins
1994 Pages 64 Euro 10,00

First edition of three hundred numbered copies

ISBN 978-88-89299-04-3


Gianfranco Palmery Sonetti domiciliari
Edizioni Il Labirinto