Salvatore Quasimodo (August 20, 1901 - June 14, 1968)
Born: 20th August, 1901
Died: 14th June, 1968
Nationality: Italian
Profession/Occupation: Author
Region: Modica, Italy, Naples
Notable works: "Tartuffe", "Giorno dopo giorno"

Salvatore Quasimodo Facts

Biography

Salvatore Quasimodo, (born Aug. 20, 1901, Modica, Italy--died June 14, 1968, Naples), Italian poet, critic, and translator. Originally a leader of the Hermetic poets, he became, after World War II, a powerful poet commenting on modern social issues. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1959.

Quasimodo was born in Sicily and was the son of a railroad employee. He was first educated near Syracuse and at Messina, studied engineering and mathematics at Palermo, and then left for the north, graduating as an engineer in Rome. He had liked to write even as a child, and, though he spent the next 10 years as an engineer for the Italian government, he wrote poetry in his spare time.

Quasimodo's first poems appeared in the Florentine periodical Solaria. Initially he was a disciple of the Hermetic poets Giuseppe Ungaretti and Eugenio Montale. After the publication of his first poetry collection, Acque e terre (1930; "Waters and Land"), Quasimodo gradually became a leader of the Hermetic poets. After 1935 he abandoned engineering to teach Italian literature at a conservatory in Milan. Quasimodo's later poetry collections--Oboe sommerso (1932; "Sunken Oboe"), Odore di eucalyptus (1933; "Scent of Eucalyptus"), and Erato e Apollion (1936)--have the dry, sophisticated style and abstruse symbolism of Hermeticism but include many poems that veer away from personal preoccupations to contemporary issues. With two final collections, Poesie (1938) and Ed e subito sera (1942; "And Suddenly It's Evening"), his Hermetic period came to a close.

After the war Quasimodo's social convictions shaped his work from the publication of Giorno dopo giorno (1947; "Day After Day") until his death. Many of his poems recalled the injustices of the fascist regime, the horrors of the war, and Italian guilt. Later poems in the same vein, simple in language, exhibit a concrete and immediate imagery. Later volumes include La terra impareggiabile (1958; The Incomparable Earth)--with an inscription from Aeschylus, "I say that the dead slay the living"--Tutte le poesie (1960), and Dare e avere (1966; To Give and To Have and Other Poems).

Between the mid-1930s and his death, Quasimodo published an astonishing range of translations, including a group of Lirici greci (1940); plays of the Greek tragic playwrights Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides (collected in Tragici greci, 1963); poems of the Latin poets Catullus, Ovid, and Virgil; six plays of William Shakespeare; Moliere's Tartuffe; and the poetry of the 20th-century poets E.E. Cummings (United States) and Pablo Neruda (Chile). He edited two anthologies of Italian poetry and wrote many significant critical essays, collected in Il poeta e il politico e altri saggi (1960; The Poet and the Politician and Other Essays) and Scritti sul teatro (1961), a collection of drama reviews.

Top 25 Salvatore Quasimodo quotes

Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own.
Believes
Feeling
His
Interior
Own
Personal
Poet
Poetry
Reader
Revelation
Which
An exact poetic duplication of a man is for the poet a negation of the earth, an impossibility of being, even though his greatest desire is to speak to many men, to unite with them by means of harmonious verses about the truths of the mind or of things.
About
Being
Desire
Earth
Even
Exact
Greatest
Harmonious
His
Impossibility
Man
Many
Means
Men
The writer of stories or of novels settles on men and imitates them; he exhausts the possibilities of his characters.
Characters
He
His
Imitates
Men
Novels
Possibilities
Stories
Them
Writer
The poet's other readers are the ancient poets, who look upon the freshly written pages from an incorruptible distance. Their poetic forms are permanent, and it is difficult to create new forms which can approach them.
Ancient
Approach
Create
Difficult
Distance
Forms
Look
New
New forms
Other
Pages
Permanent
Poet
Poetic
As the poet has expected, the alarms now are sounded, for - and it must be said again - the birth of a poet is always a threat to the existing cultural order, because he attempts to break through the circle of literary castes to reach the center.
Again
Alarm
Always
Attempts
Because
Birth
Break
Center
Circle
Cultural
Existing
Expected
He
Literary
Poetry is also the physical self of the poet, and it is impossible to separate the poet from his poetry.
Also
His
Impossible
Physical
Poet
Poetry
Self
Separate
Even a polemic has some justification if one considers that my own first poetic experiments began during a dictatorship and mark the origin of the Hermetic movement.
Began
Considers
Dictatorship
Even
Experiments
First
Justification
Mark
Movement
My own
Origin
Own
Poetic
Polemic
We wrote verses that condemned us, with no hope of pardon, to the most bitter solitude.
Bitter
Condemned
Hope
Most
No hope
Pardon
Solitude
Us
Verses
Wrote
My readers at that time were still men of letters; but there had to be other people waiting to read my poems.
Had
Letters
Men
Other
People
Poems
Read
Readers
Still
Time
Waiting
Were
War, I have always said, forces men to change their standards, regardless of whether their country has won or lost.
Always
Change
Country
Forces
Lost
Men
Regardless
Said
Standards
War
Whether
Won
At the point when continuity was interrupted by the first nuclear explosion, it would have been too easy to recover the formal sediment which linked us with an age of poetic decorum, of a preoccupation with poetic sounds.
Age
Been
Continuity
Decorum
Easy
Explosion
First
Formal
Interrupted
Linked
Nuclear
Poetic
Point
Preoccupation
After the turbulence of death, moral principles and even religious proofs are called into question.
After
Death
Even
Moral
Moral principles
Principles
Question
Religious
Turbulence
From the night, his solitude, the poet finds day and starts a diary that is lethal to the inert. The dark landscape yields a dialogue.
Dark
Day
Dialogue
Diary
Finds
His
Landscape
Lethal
Night
Poet
Solitude
Starts
Yields
He passes from lyric to epic poetry in order to speak about the world and the torment in the world through man, rationally and emotionally. The poet then becomes a danger.
About
Becomes
Danger
Emotionally
Epic
Epic poetry
He
Lyric
Man
Passes
Poet
Poetry
Rationally
Speak
A poet clings to his own tradition and avoids internationalism.
His
Internationalism
Own
Poet
Tradition
Thus, the poet's word is beginning to strike forcefully upon the hearts of all men, while absolute men of letters think that they alone live in the real world.
Absolute
Alone
Beginning
Hearts
Letters
Live
Men
Poet
Real
Real world
Strike
The real world
Think
Thus
According to them, the poet is confined to the provinces with his mouth broken on his own syllabic trapeze.
According
Broken
Confined
His
Mouth
Own
Poet
Provinces
Them
Religious poetry, civic poetry, lyric or dramatic poetry are all categories of man's expression which are valid only if the endorsement of formal content is valid.
Categories
Civic
Content
Dramatic
Endorsement
Expression
Formal
Lyric
Man
Only
Poetry
Religious
Valid
Which
The poet's spoken discourse often depends on a mystique, on the spiritual freedom that finds itself enslaved on earth.
Depends
Discourse
Earth
Enslaved
Finds
Freedom
Itself
Mystique
Often
Poet
Spiritual
Spoken
The poet does not fear death, not because he believes in the fantasy of heroes, but because death constantly visits his thoughts and is thus an image of a serene dialogue.
Because
Believes
Constantly
Death
Dialogue
Does
Fantasy
Fear
He
Heroes
His
Image
Poet
Serene
In opposition to this detachment, he finds an image of man which contains within itself man's dreams, man's illness, man's redemption from the misery of poverty - poverty which can no longer be for him a sign of the acceptance of life.
Acceptance
Contains
Detachment
Dreams
Finds
He
Him
Illness
Image
Itself
Life
Longer
Man
Misery
The antagonism between the poet and the politician has generally been evident in all cultures.
Antagonism
Been
Between
Cultures
Evident
Generally
Poet
Politician
Religious power, which, as I have already said, frequently identifies itself with political power, has always been a protagonist of this bitter struggle, even when it seemingly was neutral.
Always
Been
Bitter
Even
Frequently
Itself
Neutral
Political
Political power
Power
Protagonist
Religious
Said
Seemingly
The Resistance is a moral certainty, not a poetic one. The true poet never uses words in order to punish someone. His judgment belongs to a creative order; it is not formulated as a prophetic scripture.
Belongs
Certainty
Creative
His
Judgment
Moral
Never
Poet
Poetic
Prophetic
Punish
Resistance
Scripture
Someone
Europeans know the importance of the Resistance; it has been the shining example of the modern conscience.
Been
Conscience
Europeans
Example
Has-been
Importance
Know
Modern
Resistance
Shining

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