The Italian Riveter: A POEM by Giovanna Cristina Vivinetto, translated by Cristina Viti

I’ve no visible wounds. My
dilemmas are nestled well beyond the flesh.
Yet those who would define me point their finger at the body as the sole possible dimension.
As if the fault lay entirely
between the legs or in the voice’s timbre,
in a chromosome destined
to remain ever equal to itself.
It proves more difficult to uncover
where the mind’s wanting,
to exactly determine
which ideas govern identity,
mood, the love that keeps us on our feet.
But the body won’t lie, won’t deny
its own earthy concreteness,
won’t allude or misconstrue, it is there
it exposes itself, gives material substance.
The body is alone and therefore exact, circumstantial, hence corruptible.
Therein lies its flaw
and its cortical power.
Besieged, subdued, cast down
is the only whole form I have left.

Giovanna Cristina Vivinetto

Translated by Cristina Viti

From Dolore minimo

Published by Interlinea (2018)


Read The Italian Riveter here or order your paper copy from here.

Buy books from The Italian Riveter through the European Literature Network’s The Italian Riveter.


Giovanna Cristina Vivinetto was born in Syracuse, Sicily, and lives in Rome. Her first poetry collection Dolore minimo was published by Interlinea in 2018. A lyrical description of the experience of gender dysphoria, it was awarded several prizes.


Cristina Viti is a translator and poet working with Italian, English and French. Her most recent publication was a co-translation of poems by Anna Gréki (The Streets of Algiers and Other Poems, Smokestack Books, 2020). Her translation of Elsa Morante’s The World Saved by Kids and Other Epics (Seagull Books, 2016) was shortlisted for the John Florio Prize.

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