Inky Interview Special: Italian Poet Gabriella Garofalo

Tell us about your journey towards becoming a poet.

It is a journey born under the powerful signs of loss and sorrow. I, a child who had to face the death of her brother, and who grasped for the only help she felt was being close to her, grasped for words and poetry, because words can heal and hide, and poetry is a meaningful hiding place. Decades elapsed. Yesterday’s child still here, still busy with sails and rigging, her mind rife with images from all the harbours she’s docked at, the only change being the language, after writing in Italian for many years she switched to English.

What is it you love about poetry? Have you considered writing a novel or a play?

The endless, boundless freedom poetry allows me whenever I write. I’ve never considered writing a novel, funnily enough, though, every now and then I wonder what it’s like to write a play.

What do you care about? What themes keep cropping up in your writing?

What themes? Loss, I think, pain, the sorrow my soul is plagued by whenever facing the relentless, intractable inconsistency of life. To be more specific, I might argue that my poetry is a cartography of my soul.

How do you think technology is affecting humans in today’s society?

I’m so glad we have technology, it’s made our lives better, and I mean it; just think of our health: nowadays so many diseases that killed so many people until a few decades ago are treatable; besides, we can communicate much better and much faster, communication being, I believe, an important thread in that tapestry we call life.

Describe a typical day in your life.

Nothing to write home about, I’m afraid. After handling my daily errands and my daily chores, I sit at the PC, read, write, words and books being the main staple of my diet, of every day in my life.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

Only one? 🙂 If I could, I’d eradicate the tree of selfishness, the root of so many evils.

Who inspires you and why?

Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath. They were so powerful when handling those high-charged wires that are words, and when shaping for the readers those unforgettable scenarios that have both haunted my mind ever since I read their words, and fed my phantoms, my obsessions.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Yes, well, what advice, with the proviso, of course, she takes careful note: Never stop believing in words: they do deserve your trust.

Have you been on a literary pilgrimage?

I have indeed, and twice! I’ve been to Amherst and to Chawton.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Never stop befriending words, never stop trusting them, never stop loving them.

What are you reading at the moment?

Karl Barth’s The Humanity of God and Matsuo Basho’s poems.

What is next for you? What plans have you got?

I’d like to keep on writing, reading, living the way I’ve always done- what else?

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