Two Poems by Ardengo Soffici, Translated by Olivia E. Sears

Zarina, “Folding House” (2013), detail from a set of 50 collages on Indian handmade paper with Sumi ink, 22-karat gold leaf, wax, mylar, pewter leaf and obsidian mounted on Arches Cover Buff paper, each: 8 3/4 x 8 3/4 inches (© Zarina, courtesy the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York)

Translator’s note: Ardengo Soffici began his career as a painter living between Florence and Paris, where he developed lasting friendships with Picasso and Apollinaire. Early 20th-century Paris was home to a thriving avant-garde, while Florence saw an explosion of cultural magazines; Soffici managed to situate himself in the midst of both movements. While he continued to exhibit his paintings alongside Braque and others in Paris, he wrote for influential Italian publications as an art critic, introducing French Cubist and Impressionist artists to the Italian cultural scene. Back in Italy, Soffici became a central cultural figure, and in this fertile milieu he began writing poetry in a radically original fashion, building on his love of Rimbaud and applying new concepts borrowed from French avant-garde painting.

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