Sandro Penna

“Life… is to remember a sad awakening in a train at dawn.”

The book is a small essay, coming from a degree thesis. The style is therefore that of a scientific work, where the narration is often interspersed with quotations, engraved by other authors and, precisely, accurate reproposition of poetic verses by Sandro Penna.

A literary criticism beyond the usual stakes, in which the author offers us his litmus test to understand Penna as an poet and as man of his time.

Born in the early twentieth century, the life of the poet was intertwined with that of a newborn Italy, a young country with a political and social unity still on paper, and an unrepeatable intellectual flame burning.

In this regard, we greatly appreciated the revival of Penna’s debut in the cultural salons of the time. An entrance on tiptoe, with the pseudonym of Bino Antonione, under the fraternal hug and guide of Umberto Saba. A great talent held back only by excessive modesty, a typical trait of really great artists.

We particularly agreed with the author in finding the attempt to classify Penna as a homosexual poet limiting, and somewhat sterile. The poet’s sexual characterization has very little to do with the depth and beauty of his works. Some sensations collected, elaborated and then made to blossom in verse he felt as a man among men, regardless of his sexual preferences. A stigmatization from which it is always good to escape.

Reading requires a certain degree of concentration, especially when prose leaves room for poetry. The greatest merit of this book, in our opinion, is that of having reawakened the interest in a poet left behind, and the desire to continue investigating his soul by reading other poems.


Carlo Picca, Sandro Penna, il poeta del risveglio, FaLvision, Bari, 2017

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