Fabio Pusterla could perhaps be described as an 'Alpine', rather than as a Swiss, poet; much of his work is about the natural world of the High Alps — unforgiving landscapes, birds and animals struggling to survive in a harsh environment — and he writes with a spareness of style and a restraint that reflects his subject matter. How humankind relates to and interacts with the natural world is also of great concern to Pusterla: here are poems describing a planet under threat from man's ignorance, neglect and disrespect, poems about human profligacy. The poet is not entirely despairing however. Weaving through the collection are poems of great tenderness about the poet's family, or about unanticipated "moments of grace" in nature.
Pusterla's is a world of contrasts, of forces in conflict. In this selection from six collections published between 1986 and 2011, there is continual tension between darkness and light, isolation and human contact, survival against the odds and uncertainty about what the future holds. But the final poem brings hope. 'Stories of the Armadillo', an extended satire ranging over most of Pusterla's themes, is a story of resistance and persistence — a delightful conclusion to a volume which makes the work of this outstanding poet available for the first time to English-speaking readers in an impeccable translation from the Italian by Simon Knight.
Published June 2012