The New Poetry
Influenced by Frank O'Hara's avant-pop sensibilities, West German Rolf Dieter Brinkmann's most influential book, Westwärts 1 & 2, was published shortly after his death at 35, in 1975. It included this poem, translated into English for the first time by Yale professor John MacKay. The celebratory "O!," one notes, is shaped equally like a piazza, and like a void.
Hymn to an Italian Square
O Piazza Bologna in Rome! Banca Nazionale Del Lavoro and Banco Di Santo Spirito, Pizza Mozzarella Barbiere, Gomma Sport! Gipsi Boutique and Willi, Tavola Calda, Esso Servizio, Fiat, Ginnastica,
Estetica, Yoga, Sauna! O Bar Tabacci und Gelati, wide rear-ends in Levi's Jeans, breasts or tits, everything firm, clamped in, Pasticceria, Marcelleria! O little sidelights, Vini, Oli, Per Via Aerea,
Eldora Steak, Tecnotica Caruso! O Profumeria Estivi, Chiuso Per Ferie Agosto, o Lidia Di Firenze, Lady Wool! Cinestop! Green Bus! O lines 62 and 6, small change! O Avanti green! O where? P.T. and Tee Fredo,
Visita Da Medico Ocultista, Lenti A Contatto! O Auto Famose! Ritz crackers, Nuota Con Noi, o Grace! Tutte Nude! O Domenica, trash, plastic bags, pink! Vacanze Carissime, o Nautica! Skin, back, tanned
thighs, o spot of oil, Ragazzi, Autovox, gravel! And Oxford, Neon, Il Gatto Di Brooklyn Aspirante Detective, melons! Walls! Cunts! Garlic! Grated Parmigiano! O dim Minimarket Di Frutta, Istituto Pirandello, Inglese
Shenker, shutters! O yellowbrown dog! Around the corner Banca Commerziale Italia, fleas, air brakes, BP Coupons, Zoom! O Eva Moderna, Medaglioni, Tramezzini, Bollati! Aperto! Locali Provvisori! Balconies, o shadows
with oil, leaves, Trasferita! O Ente Communale Di Consumo, on the wall! O strictly-closed Bar Ferranzi! O quiet on the streets! Guerlain, dogturd, Germain Montail! O Bar Fascista Riservata Permanente, Piano! O soldiers,
Operette, revolvers against the hips! O Super Pensione! O shape of beast! O Farmacia Bologna, wrecked corners of houses, Senso Unico! O Scusi! O Casa Bella! O Ultimo Tango Pomodoro! O Sciopero! O Lire! O shit!
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.