You were born on January fifth

by Sonia Secchi

You were born on January fifth
in the cold I could never embrace -
you embraced me
violet fish of my mysterious waters
deep waters
of flesh
of talc.


I don’t remember your screams
I was swooping down from a cloudless sky
like a deserted white

I don’t remember your tears
but I do remember  
your eyes
they already belong to you and don’t tell about themselves in any way.

A red drop on the lip

Sonia Secchi


by Francesca Del Moro

Bookowski is an independent bookstore, a gathering place and a collection point for used books, small publishing, vinyls and self-productions. It hosts readings, intimate concerts, debates on current issues, workshops and courses. This 50 sqm micro/macro reality overlooks Piazza Valoria, in the historic centre of Genoa, a few steps from the cathedral. Here you can find poetry books published by small and big publishers, rare editions and second-hand books, often enhanced by a fragment of the story of some previous owner who has forgotten or deliberately left a letter, a photo or some other memory to mark their passage between the pages. Bookowski’s activity is made possible by a local network that has developed over time: thanks mainly to word-of-mouth, donations and sales periodically refill the shelves of the bookshop, which are continuously renewed thanks to the contribution of those who still want to make books circulate, giving them a second, third or umpteenth life. For this issue of ILLUSTRATI Bookowski suggests and comments Contrabbando di upupe by Ewa Chrusciel (Contraband of hoopoe, original English version with Italian translation by Anna Aresi) and Come farfalla (Like a Butterfly) by Simone Savogin.

Libreria Bookowski, Vico Valoria 40 R - Genova - Tel 010 4550673 - -

Contrabbando di upupe

by Ewa Chrusciel

My valley of depravation, my cloude of unknowyng,
pray for me Upupa epops.
Convert me back to wonder.
Cure my heart of such morbid desires to come home.

Ewa Chrusciel, a Polish poet and translator who currently lives and works in New Hampshire, explores the subject of smuggling and migration with clever irony; the book is a poetic composition in ‘pieces’ but maintains the entirety and linearity of a narrative text. Her intent is perhaps to evoke the journey of life and she does so by telling noteworthy anecdotes from the memories of smugglers. The puns resulting from the translation from Polish – Ewa’s mother tongue – into English and Italian result in an original and very personal writing. This helps bring the reader closer to the theme of the border and linguistic and cultural hybridisation, to its legitimacy and to the experience of its crossing as an enrichment or threat to its identity. The hoopoe is a symbolic animal that brings both peace and disarray and helps us reflect on changes and question certainties, opening ourselves to what is new and Other than ourselves.

Contrabbando di upupe, Ewa Chrusciel, Ensemble edizioni 2014

Come farfalla

by Simone Savogin

You just have to live soulbeats
outside the established frame of minds
and try to always learn
better ways to say
thank you.

“A butterfly flapping its wings may cause a hurricane halfway around the world.” If it is true that the smallest actions can help bring about great changes, human life winds between two specular poles like the wings of a butterfly, where giving and receiving are interrelated and symbiotic. This seems to be precisely the aim of Savogin’s poetry as a whole: to advise us to interrupt action and research, because “we are waves that form in resonance with what moves us from silence and allows us to vibrate”. Like butterflies, our lives are a twirl in the air, where a flapping of wings is capable of triggering an endless series of vibrations, of generating a beauty that is always tangible and attainable, provided we never forget “to welcome, accept, learn, rather than close, define and boast”. The great little life advice of this collection is to let yourself flow “like a butterfly”: in these poems, words echo each other by means of assonances and alliterations, in a language that spreads from one page to another as well.

Come farfalla, Simone Savogin, Edizioni Mille Gru 2018