Eco-Echo: Bernstein in Italian

Eco / Echo: Poems of Charles Bernstein translated and edited by Carla Buranello, with additional translations by Luigi Ballerini, Marco Giovenale, Gherardo Bortolotti, and Milli Graffi. Published by Il Verri Editions. Available now at bookstores and online. 270 pages.

Eco / Echo collects the poems chosen by the translators starting from Senses of Responsibility in 1979 up to the latest book released in the United States in Topsy-Turvy. But this is not a bilingual facing-pages collection. It is a two-faced book: one way the poems in Italian, flip the book around (topsy-turvy), you get the poems in English. The book also includes an essay by Bernstein on the relationship between contemporary American poetry and Italian poetry and an introduction by the editor. For Bernstein, echopoetics is to think of writing as a form of listening towards a nonlinear resonance of one motif bouncing off another. Even more, it is the feeling of allusion in the absence of allusion. In other words, the echo I’m looking for, Bernstein  tells us, is an empty space: the shadow of an absent source.