Szymaszek, Stacy: The Pasolini Book
(Golias Books, 2022)
THE PASOLINI BOOK documents the poet Stacy Szymaszek’s engagement with the work of the Italian film director, poet, and political figure Pier Paolo Pasolini alongside her own evolving vocation as civic poet and dissenting subject within an American polis by turns hostile and hospitable. Extending the exploration of the temporally unbound, genderqueer, and disaster-prone persona of her earlier works, this volume collects two successive iterations of “felt translations,” poem-for-poem rewritings, channelings, and d´tournements, of Pasolini’s Roman Poems, undertaken over a decade apart. Separating the two suites of poems are three iterations of autofiction titled “A Sentimental Education,” in which Szymaszek’s Midwestern upbringing is recentered and transformed through speculative identification with Pasolini. The Pasolini Book evidences a search for a civic poetry in which the poet does not contain multitudes so much as she exudes an abundant and experimental identity emerging from long experience seeking political and artistic solidarities on the margins of institutional life. “We are all in danger,” Pasolini said in an interview only hours before he was murdered; today, in the midst of capitalist ruin, Szymaszek’s poetry maps the particular pains of embattled artistic autonomy and the turbulent state of social and political community.