The Italian Riveter: TWO POEMS by Luigi Di Ruscio, translated by Cristina Viti

Fifty square yards of floor & we danced
to bass drum & trumpet rhythms & the women were unstoppable
we were rough & ready with all the latest hits
speaking words full of love to one another
with each dance the women would line up together on the sides
& wait for us no man felt shy
no woman was left without a man
the women were hard some others light & easily led
some others had firm thighs some soft as those who have known love
the men were in good spirits the women beatific taking their fun
some had fallen into a man’s arms for the first time
some had held a woman for the first time.

Lay all of your rage into the rhythm
to speak with ferocious calm
each verse I’ve been able to write
to put a chasm between me & them
or to read as if utopia
had remained only in my verses
to act obscene in front of the whole audience
have a good time anyway
poetry is like universal blood
we can give it to anyone
but any other blood
places us in mortal danger

By Luigi Di Ruscio

Translated by Cristina Viti

From Selected Poems
Forthcoming from Seagull Books


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.


Luigi Di Ruscio (1930-2011). Born in the Marche region, he emigrated to Norway in 1957. He published several poetry collections – noted for their uncompromising politics and fiery energy – while supporting a large family by working daily shifts in a factory. His commitment to culture and language won him great respect then, as it does now.


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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