From Document


Provenance of caoutchouc
I see a portrait
that was mine on the paneled wall, the
small roses (masturbated drawings)
the wall appearing to whiten my body
in the yellowish evening light.

Sense organs transmuting in the mind
entangling memory of sentences
these hormones swarming, this
face of bruises.

Petty void, swallowing that pill
convincing spacing
of toothpaste, cold lancing shoulder
case, arrow or waterfront
I can’t see being seated.

Crazed staring eyes reserved for
your wax joints
given that
wax dolls have no eyes.

Sleepless Christ spread habits …
oh breathless heart
with your broad brown flaps oh poor
dutiful heart.

Oh poor dusty heart!












Provenienza di caotchuc
scorgo un ritratto
che era il mio sul muro pannellato, le
piccole rose (masturbati disegni)
la parete che nella giallastra luce serale
pareva sbiadire il mio corpo.

Organi dei sensi che nella mente tramutano
impigliano la memoria di frasi
pullulendo questi ormoni, questa
faccia di lividi.

Vuoto meschino, ingoiare quel rospo
spaziature convincenti
dei dentifrici, spalla fredda lancinata
caso, freccia o lungomare
ch’io non vedo essendo seduta.

Puntando folli occhi riserbati alle
vostre giunture di cera
che essendo
bambole di cera non hanno occhi.

Cristo insonne stendesse abitudini…
oh cuore trafelato
dalle larghe falde tue castane oh povero
cuore doveroso.

Oh povero cuore polveroso!











Robust animal dung has
seduced my soul robust yet veined
with strong or fallacious melancholy.

Attentive lights attract dreams
then drive them away distractedly
robust too
like a feigned, fertile but abstract

Plastic was robust
artificial, impossible
and your kiss almost









Sterco di animale robusto ha
sedotto la mia anima robusta ma venata
di fallace o forte malinconia.

Luci attente attirano a sé i sogni per
poi scacciarli distrattamente
robuste anch’esse
come un finto, fertile ma astratto

La plastica era robusta
artificiosa, impossibile e il tuo bacio











Pointing fingers at the soil
every day staring fixedly
the flower’s death in the expectant garden
impossible or possible simplicity
like any rare beast
every day of my life writing to you
you weren’t pensive
poor beastly letter
all verifiable frivolities
in my turbulent setting aside of sorrows
you canonized by now.

She lives, kills herself every day
until her thought turns misanthropic
then she shoots herself in the shadow
sentient of being exempt
with her special brown eyeglasses.

Then dedicated to an irritating nothing
and there I found only wastepaper:
you disobey me slowly
illustrating each page
it was my absent -minded suicide
in your anthropomorphic silence
your swollen open pocket.

You were in that pine forest
and the others pallid quick
and unverifiable in the profit
of a pensive underworld garden.

The male dressed in black or in mourning
hanged himself on the fixed nail
he’ll be of help to the vacant generations
found lying down
in the cut of a wall or a picture
male enough.










Puntando le dita sul terriccio
ogni giorno fissamente guardando
morte del fiore nel giardino trepidante
impossibile o possibile semplicità
come una qualsiasi rara bestia
ogni giorno nella mia esistenza scrivendoti
tu non eri pensieroso
povera bestia di una lettera
tutte le frivolezze riscontrabili
nel mio turbolento deporre le tristezze
tu canonizzato oramai.

Vive, s’ammazza ogni giorno
finché il suo pensiero si fa misantropico
poi si spara nell’ombra
sapendo d’essere esente
coi suoi speciali occhiali color castano.

Poi dedicata ad un nulla fastidioso
e vi trovai soltanto carta straccia:
tu mi disubbidisci lentamente
illustrando ogni pagina
fu quel mio suicidarmi distrattamente
nel tuo silenzio antropomorfo
una tua tasca aperta gonfia.

In quella pineta c’eri
e gli altri pallidi veloci
e non riscontrabili nel tornaconto
del giardino di una malavita pensierosa.

Il maschio vestito di nero o era lutto
s’impiccò al chiodo infisso
sarà d’aiuto alle vacanti generazioni
ritrovato adagiato
nel taglio d’un muro o di un quadro
maschio bastante.







Document is Amelia Rosselli’s longest collection and addresses the unanswerable, and perhaps ironically intended, question of how to document a life. Always a poet of exploration, in Document, Rosselli creates a constantly evolving realm of highs and lows, spires and labyrinths—all in the service of what can’t ultimately be pinned down.


Amelia Rosselli was born in Paris on March 28, 1930, and died in Rome, taking her own life, on February 11, 1996. She was the daughter of the antifascist Italian political leader and philosopher of Jewish descent Carlo Rosselli and the British political activist Marion Cave. After her father assassination in Paris at the hands of the fascists, the family moved to England and then to the United States. At the end of the war, in 1946, she relocated to Europe, first briefly to Florence and then to London to complete her studies. In 1948, Rosselli was back in Florence prior to moving permanently to Rome, where she would remain until her death. Rosselli was the author of eight collections of poetry: War Variations (1964), Hospital Series (1969), Document (1966-1973) (1976), Impromptu (1981), First Writings (1952-1963) (1980), Notes Scattered and Lost 1966-1977 (1983), Obtuse Diary 1954-1968 (1990), SleepPoems in English (1992). She was a translator of Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath, among others, and an accomplished musicologist and musician who played the violin, the piano and the organ. Document was first published in 1976 in Milano by Garzanti.

Roberta Antognini is Associate Professor Emerita at Vassar College, where she taught for over twenty years. She is co-editor of the collection of essays Poscritto a Giorgio Bassani (LED, 2012) and co-translator, with Peter Robinson, of Giorgio Bassani’s poetry, In Rhyme and Without (Agincourt Press, 2023).

Deborah Woodard’s books include Plato’s Bad Horse (Bear Star Press, 2006), Borrowed Tales (Stockport Flats, 2012) and No Finis: Triangle Testimonies, 1911 (Ravenna Press, 2018). Antognini and Woodard have co-translated Amelia Rosselli in Hospital Series (New Directions, 2015), Obtuse Diary (Entre Rios Books, 2018) and The Dragonfly (Entre Rios Books, 2023.) Their translation of Rosselli’s Notes Scattered and Lost is forthcoming in the fall of 2024, also from Entre Rios Books. And World Poetry Books will bring out their translation of Rosselli’s Document in the winter of 2025.