Poetry by Giovanna Cristina Vivinetto
Translated by Gabriella Fee and Dora Malech
Saturnalia Books, October 2022
In Dolore Minimo, Giovanna Cristina Vivinetto attends to her own becoming in language both tender and fierce, painful and luminous. This collection, Vivinetto’s first, charts the course of her gender transition in poems that enact a mutually constitutive relationship between self and place, interrogating the foundations of physical, cultural, and emotional landscapes assumed or averred immutable. Her imagination is rooted in the Sicilian landscape of her native Siracusa, even as that ground shifts under foot in response to the poet’s own emotional and physical transformations. Vivinetto engages with classical mythology, Italian feminist theory, and received constructs of family, religion, and gender to explore the terrors and pleasures of a childhood that culminates in a second birth, in which she must be both mother and child. Fee and Malech’s collaborative translations reflect the polyvocal and processual qualities of Vivinetto’s poetry, using language that foregrounds an active liminality and expresses the multiplicities of the self in dynamic conversation over the course of the collection. In Dolore Minimo, the lyric “I” is a chorus, but an intimate one.