Launch of THE SECRET AMBITION by Valerio Magrelli at David Krut Projects Cape Town




To be a pencil is the secret ambition.

To slowly burn up on the paper

and in the paper remain,

stirred into a brand new shape


© Douglas Reid Skinner and Marco Fazzini


PLEASE JOIN US for the launch of Valerio Magrelli’s The Secret Ambition, a book of poems by the renowned Italian poet, selected and translated into English by Douglas Reid Skinner and Marco Fazzini.

WHEN: Tuesday 1 September 2015 at 6pm

WHERE: David Krut Projects Montebello Gallery, Montebello Design Centre, 31 Newlands Avenue, Newlands, Cape Town


A writer of restless enquiry and breadth of learning, Valerio Magrelli bids fair to be the most important poet of his generation in Italy, as witnessed by the critical attention that his work has received and the major prizes it has garnered.

The Secret Ambition presents a singular mind exploring the predicaments of being alive in a world mediated by language—by turns inquisitive, contemplative, philosophical, vexed, melancholic and witty. For him, all writing is a kind of translating, and playing with language is a serious occupation, a painstaking process of coming to understand writing through writing itself. The poems of The Secret Ambition echo in the reader long after the reading.




Valerio Magrelli

Valerio Magrelli was born in 1957 in Rome, where he lives today. He is Professor of French Literature at the University of Cassino and a regular commentator in a number of journals and Italian daily newspapers. He studied philosophy, music and German literature at the University of Rome, graduating with a degree in Letters & Philosophy. Awarded a grant by the Bibliothèque Nationale, he studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and was awarded a Ph.D. in French Studies. Amongst others, he has translated the work of Valéry, Verlaine, Mallarmé and Debussy into Italian, and has published critical works on Dadaism. He has published six collections of poems and a number of prose works. His poems have been translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Croatian and English. He has been awarded the Mondello, Viareggio and Montale prizes.


Douglas Reid Skinner was born in South Africa in 1949. In the early 1970s, he moved to London, then to New York and San Francisco, all the while working as a computer consultant. He returned to Cape Town in the mid-1980s, there founding The Carrefour Press, which specialised in publishing the English poetry of the region. He edited the literary journals Upstream and New Contrast, as well as starting and editing the South African Literary Review. He returned to the United Kingdom in the early 1990s, is married with a son and lives on the edge of London. He is co-editor of the poetry journal Stanzas. He has published six collections, most recently Heaven: New & Selected Poems (Left Field, 2014). He has published three collections of translation, a selection of Hebrew poets, a selection of poems by Marco Fazzini and The Secret Ambition: selected poems by Valerio Magrelli (African Sun Press, 2015).


Marco Fazzini was born in Ascoli Piceno, Italy in 1962. He lives in Vicenza and is a lecturer at the University of Ca’ Foscari, Venice, as well as a freelance critic and translator, foreign contributions editor for the literary journals Ali and Il Tolomeo, and a series editor for the publishing house Edizioni del Bradipo. He has published four collections of poetry—most recently 24 Poems (‘Hct! Press, San Francisco, 2014, a selected poems translated by Douglas Reid Skinner)—and many books of translation into Italian, including the poetry of Douglas Livingstone, Norman McCaig and Geoffrey Hill.

Douglas Reid Skinner & Marco Fazzini
Douglas Reid Skinner & Marco Fazzini

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