• Curated by Allison Grimaldi Donahue



poems are like candy

sweet and sticky

subject to change:

new new york poets in translation.

The third edition of the workshop organised by Fondazione ICA Milano on the occasion of the Books & Others festival, dedicated to artists' books and visual culture, is curated by artist, lecturer and author Allison Grimaldi Donahue. The workshop, which focuses on the translation and realisation of versions based on the work of some contemporary New York poets, addresses a specific editorial field, that of publications dedicated to poetry. Nowadays, poetry is often treated as an academic exercise, an artefact in a glass case; in open contrast to this vision, the workshop aims to give poetry back its rightful position - in our hands, in our lungs, in our mouths - by reassigning it the status of a true artistic operation.

Organised in groups, the participants will analyse and translate from English works that have never before been translated into Italian, tackling multiple translations and experimenting with poems in order to achieve unpredictable and unexpected results in Italian. During the workshop there will be moments of theory, discussion, writing and reading. There will be the opportunity to confront and have a concrete exchange with American poets and poetesses, involved for the occasion, to get to know and discuss their practices together.

The poets and poetesses under consideration are diverse in their styles and themes. Their works, however, have a material aspect and treat poetry as something real and with a specific presence in the world rather than as something descriptive or secondary to it. The workshop will focus on the possibilities of language and its ability to change the perception of reality, pushing experimentation to extremes. The methodology used in the translations incorporates this material ethos and adopts a plastic approach in the poetic transition between languages.

The outcome of the workshop will be formalised through a pocket edition, a logbook that will collect the linguistic and poetic journeys developed during the project by the group of participants. The book will be multilingual and will include, in addition to the texts, content of various kinds including drawings and images. The workshop will be publicly presented during Books & Others, which will also host some readings of the translated poems by the participants.

A good knowledge of Italian and English, written and spoken, is required, as the workshop will take place in both languages. Preference will be given to candidates who have current writing or text practice. Graphic design and bookmaking skills are an advantage. Applicants must be inclined and interested in working collaboratively and experimenting with new aspects of writing.

The workshop will take place at the spaces of Fondazione ICA Milano from 4 to 7 September 2023 from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., while the public presentation will take place in the presence of the participants during the days of the festival, from 29 to 30 September, again at Fondazione ICA Milano on the occasion of the Books & Others Festival (29-30 September, from 12 to 9 p.m.). 

The workshop is limited in number and is designed for a maximum of 15 participants. You can apply by 5 July. The Fondazione ICA Milano team and the workshop curator will evaluate the profiles received and define the list of participants by 10 July. The selected candidates will be notified by 11 July. 
The cost of the workshop is 50 euros per person, to be paid by bank transfer once participation has been confirmed, no later than 18 July.

Please send a short motivation paragraph, a curriculum vitae and a poem or a short prose paragraph already written in English or Italian to office@icamilano.it.

Allison Grimaldi Donahue's practice focuses on the use of text and performance to explore the ways in which language and text move between individual and collective experience. She is the author of Body to Mineral (Publication Studio Vancouver, 2016) and co-author of On Endings (Delere Press, 2019). She is the translator of Carla Lonzi's Self-Portrait (Divided, 2021) and Vito M. Bonito's Blown Away (Fomite, 2021). She has recently realised performances at the Kunsthalle Bern, Cabaret Voltaire, MACRO and Short Theatre in Rome. During the performances, the artist produces prints of his poetic work to distribute to the public, leaving a trace of the spoken poems and songs. These works can take the form of chapbooks, pamphlets, posters, postcards. His writings and translations have appeared in places such as The Brooklyn Rail, Words Without Borders, Prairie Schooner, LA Review of Books, Flash Art, BOMB, NERO and Tripwire. In summer 2023 he will lead a week-long collective translation of the novel Bambine by Ticino writer Alice Ceresa at the Sonnenstube in Lugano, where together with Giada Olivotto he created a residency to celebrate Ceresa's work and experimental queer literature in general. She holds a PhD in Philosophy from the European Graduate School, CH and teaches Italian literature at Middlebury College School in Italy. He lives in Bologna.




OPEN CALL | WORKSHOP | poems are like candy sweet and sticky subject to change: new new york poets in translation