Amelia Rosselli: the life of the poet returns to a memoir

For those who only know her through her poems, Amelia Rosselli is unreachable. His poetic voice, so unique, earthly and carnal but at the same time sidereal and rarefied, came to us together with the often idealized story of an extravagant and tormented character.

For those who have had the good fortune to meet her in person, to attend her for a few decades, such as Renzo Paris, author of the recent biography / autobiography “Miss Rosselli” (Neri Pozza, also available in ebook), the poet is a friend of whom to preserve and restore, almost 25 years after her death, the very human uniqueness, the irreducible difference.

For Paris, who met her in the 60s, in Rome, Amelia Rosselli, born March 28, 1930, daughter of the anti-fascist intellectual Carlo and nephew of the writer Amelia Pincherle, is a shadow, sometimes uncatchable, which contains a submerged world. He carries within himself the story of his family, of his father and his uncle murdered, and the personal story of a girl, and then of a woman, persecuted by the ghosts of mental illness, by the obsession with being spied on. An evil that does not prevent her from writing, composing music, attending the Italian literary society from the 50s to the 90s, falling in love, almost always unhappily, participating in the political debate, making close friendships with writers, editors, critics and poets. Among them, in fact, Renzo Paris and Dario Bellezza. If, with Bellezza, the partnership breaks irreparably, with Paris it will continue, steadily, tenaciously, until Amelia’s suicide on 11 February 1996.

Paris chases the shadow of Miss Rosselli to tell us what it was like, beyond the literary myth. It does not hide the constant search for an impossible balance, the torments, the maddening hypersensitivity and eccentricities, but manages to bring the reader back to the poet’s human fabric, to his genius. He always manages to lead us back to his immense suffering. To that mixture of pain, disease, sensitivity and intelligence, to that irreducible soul from which his poems sprang.

Amelia is alive, she is in front of us: we seem to see her when she orders tea and the waiter stares at her worried knowing that she will drop the cup, or when she improvises a New Year’s party, or when she still follows the student marches aboard her Ciao, with a red knotted scarf around the neck. Amelia is beautiful, in her excruciating thinness, with her big blue eyes, astonished expression and short hair. She has a girl’s body even when she dies, throwing herself through her attic window.

As we proceed with the reading and Paris recomposes the network of memories, the memory of the person Amelia returns – a human being and a poet – blessed by the gift of a unique and very powerful voice, cursed by a nefarious family destiny and threatened today by forgetfulness, by collective forgetfulness.

Fortunately for us, there are those who took pains to bring it back among us, to give that shadow of the less nuanced contours. “Once we disappeared, the people we loved left us something, a way of walking, a way of speaking, a habit, a look. Amelia has left me the glare of when she was lurking on the corner of a street to meet herself, fearing to be an empty vase … I want to be the custodian of a vanished world for the last time, evoking a shadow, wondering, perplexed, who will ever be the keeper’s witness “.

Miss Rosselli by Renzo Paris, 240 pages, 18 euros, ebook 9.99 euros, Neri Pozza

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