Italian poet, Edda Tassi: From Nuns School to the principality of Italian poetry!

juin 30th, 2012

The original interview was in French, Italian, and translated from Arabic into English by Chaouki M’kaddem

Rachid Filali / Algeria Interviewed Edda Tassi. The interview was characterized by an exceptional importance as the poetess was known by her teachers as an unusual lady since she possesses an extraordinary creativity in many levels. She is the only daughter of a famous farming family spread into many European cities such as France, Switzerland, and Belgium and of course Italy. She was able to draw the attention of many since an early age as she wrote texts that show an awareness, smoothness and intelligence that were beyond her natural age.
The poetess received her primary education in the Italian Salesianes Nuns School till she graduated. She did her university studies at the University of Roma where she studied clinical psychology, history of art, literature and philosophy as well as her existential avocation which was writing especially poetry which enabled her to ably enter the principality of Italian poetry. So far, she has issued eleven poetry collections and two novels. Now her fine and humanely rich poetry is the subject matter of critiques in the most accredited American universities. Here’s the interview:

- Italian is one of the most beautiful languages in the world, and it is the poetic language par excellence. Is this the reason why you chose poetry in lieu of prose?
-I think that the Italian language has its own charm both in poetry and prose as we all know an as many keep on saying so. I was so close to writings in French or German, as we were always on the move during my early childhood. But this didn’t happen. I was born so and first of all a poetess. I don’t know why and I am still looking for the real reason.
I was eight years old. It was dark and I was in my house garden. Everybody was sleeping while I started writing my first poem without being aware of what I was doing. I loved what I did so much. I remember the scent of what surrounded me. At an early hour in the morning I was back to reflect on my poetry and prose that I wrote during the night. Later at school, my teachers saw what I wrote and were so enthralled that they asked my parents if I had copied them from other sources. The content of my texts was so exceptional. I felt the musicality of Carlo Lorenzini in my writings. I remember that I wanted to be like Lorenzini but it seemed that I was closer to other writers. I also remember that the first book I read at my first stages was Pinocchio which I found hard but amazing.

- Has the field of psychoanalysis with its complex concepts helped you understand your wounded ego?

- I passed the baccalaureate exam and got high scores. I got 10 out of 10 in Art History. However; I got bad grades in some subjects as a punishment because I chose to write more about Sigmund Freud than about the famous Italian author, Italo Svevo. What to do with my passion for the great Freud within the text of the ‘Confessions of Zeno’ (Byzantine Emperor)? It seemed to me a mediocre text compared to all the ‘answers’ that could be provided by psychoanalysis… The latter gave me more than the secondary school evaluation.
My curiosity about human nature was adequately fed through psychoanalysis and particularly allowed me to know about ‘pathology’ which unveiled its ambiguous and mysterious side and took the imposed and boring repetition off as well. The ‘doctor’ is an important part side of Ida the artist. I am also interested in criminology and its surrounding secrets.
I was so attached to the philosopher, Michel Foucault, that I gave up my Ph. D. thesis after passing all the exams with distinction because the professors asked me to choose to write about the ‘Lord’ instead of this philosopher. I was able to complain to the police since the law was on my side but I refrained from that because I was convinced that Michel Foucault, who died at that time because of the AIDS, would appreciate my position if he was alive.

Well, in your poems, there is nostalgia for childhood as well as a painful search for the ego which is liable to be lost in this mysterious world. Do you think that poetry is able to save us from the evil that surrounds us?

-Certainly! In my poetry I display my childhood celebrations and the ambiance when playing with my peers. Some of the characters stand for real people and others are fictitious. Lutin is one of them and is the most popular play character. I also recall my doll which I had when I was in Nice, a city in France. My doll was made of colored straw and its long legs were its distinctive feature. It was almost taller than me. Maybe there are still some more intimate things in our house’s store in Umbria. I also remember my French childhood friend with whom I used to have fun together when our parents went to the meadows to pick cloves. Though this poor kid used to weep a lot, we laughed a lot together.
I love reflecting on animals and plants, and the charming landscape as well… Man usually loses the grace of life and his tyrannical powers on the road but nature remains there and arts surround us from all sides… Yes, poetry is stronger than evil that threatens humankind.

-Poetess Edda, Does the subject matter determine the form of writing?

- What matters is that it is always me who sings either in poetry or in prose. For me, topics represent a scheme to adjust the rhythm which is similar to a piece of music suitable for a film that I like. It is the music that captures me the first and then words flow. When I content myself, I leave. I write poetry and prose, but when I start writing a novel (I have two unpublished novels) poetry comes to my mind saying: ‘What about me?’ In this case, I feel compelled to write a poem. I have to accept that poetry by nature always imposes itself with persistence and determination.

- Art is the essence of beauty… Is it true that the artist is able to turn ugliness into beauty?

-Art is the only one that is able to do that. It secretly keeps this power which is similar to a gemstone. I think this is the quality of great writers and poets. Besides, great painters are nothing but great musicians. I draw your attention here that I am talking about great people; when the body is idol, it is wrong to do experimentation with ugliness! Yes, art can do that after nature of course and in this context, I think of some animals.

-According to you, what is the secret behind the development and greatness of art in Italy in particular?

How many artists are there in here? We miss them a lot as they are scattered all over the world. It is a big secret in the human race and so it has to remain.
Imagine you were born in the country of magic tales of Dante and Virgil. You should not worry much about this issue. At first, the artist poorness is a heavy and terrible existential condition and then becomes lighter as days pass. And the artist begins to think about nothing but his/her work. Fortunately, it is a gift that you cannot grant or refuse. I know many who tried that. It is the only way to protect art from its enemies in the whole Europe and here in Italy (our sweet home) as well. Other forces do not like the terrible powers of art, luckily, some do. And some others studied all styles in order to have control over art but in vain. This remains and will remain impossible.


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